The holidays can present unique challenges when it comes to staying healthy but enjoying this time of year certainly doesn’t mean you have to compromise your health. Here are a few ways to navigate the season with wellness in mind.

Getting Through Flu Season

Reports indicate that this year’s flu season has arrived early and is already on track to be the worst in years. To lower the risk of contracting the flu, the CDC continues to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated. A flu vaccine can reduce the severity of symptoms, even if you do contract the virus. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to schedule your flu shot as soon as possible.

In addition to getting vaccinated, here are other ways to stay healthy through flu season:

Get enough rest. Inadequate sleep can decrease your resistance to viruses, so be sure to make time for sufficient sleep even when parties and holiday gatherings fill your schedule.

Limit alcohol. Alcohol can impair your body’s ability to defend itself against infection. Consider swapping out your go-to alcoholic drink for a festive mocktail or rotate one alcoholic drink with several glasses of water around the holidays.

Practice hygiene basics. It’s easy to overlook flu prevention when you have a growing to-do list, but as a reminder, always wash your hands before eating, preparing food, or touching your face. Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner for sanitizing on the go.

Lifestyle Tips & Healthy Habits

The flu isn’t the only health challenge to consider throughout the holidays. There are often indulgences that come with the season, and while enjoying them in moderation is fine, too much holiday cheer could backfire. Keep in mind that the days are also colder and shorter, which means we’re more likely to stay indoors — and possibly be less active.

Here are some general tips for closing out the year in a healthy way.

  • Eat nutrient-rich meals. There are many special holiday treats that bring us joy, but make room on your plate for nutrient-dense options, too. Prioritize vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy. Be mindful of your intake of heavily processed foods, which often have a lot of added sugar or sodium. These additives can spike blood pressure and lead to weight gain over time, while nutrient-rich options will give you the energy you need to get through the busiest time of year.
  • Stay active. Many people set their sights on New Year’s as the time to begin an exercise routine. But it’s just as important to continue to be active throughout the holiday season. Exercise has countless mental and physical benefits, including helping you maintain a healthy weight, sleep better, and improve your mood. Aim to move for 30 minutes a day, five days a week in a way that makes you feel good.
  • Manage stress. Although there’s certainly fun to be had, the holidays can also bring tremendous stress. From budgeting for gifts to hosting family gatherings, the season can create stressful situations that may cause difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, and headaches, among other frustrating symptoms. To manage your stress, try to plan as early in advance to avoid last-minute panic. This may also free up time for you to find healthy stress outlets as the holidays approach, such as taking a walk, journaling, or meditating.

If you’re seeking a wellness team who will put your health first year-round, choose Morgan Medical Center. Our general practitioners and specialists provide top-notch care for the whole family. Call (706) 438-1275 for a consultation with Morgan Physician Services, Family Medicine.