5 Ways to Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays
By: Morgan Karasek
Let’s be real, holiday season is germ season. Whether it is being cramped in the same stores with a bunch of other people all shopping for that perfect Christmas gift, or all the hugs and kisses you get from family members you barely know. Becoming sick during the Holidays is easy, but here are some tips and tricks for fighting away those relentless germs and enjoying the holidays!
1) Wash Your Hands!
– Now I know this is quite obvious, but many people underestimate the power of handwashing. You are in contact with more people than normal during the holidays and with the increase in people comes with the increase in germs. The recommended time for an effective hand wash is 20 seconds with warm water and soap. SCRUB AWAY!
2) Manage Your Stress
– It’s the Holidays! Take time for yourself and your family to relax and unwind from school or work because stress can have some serious effects on your body. Stress impacts your heart causing increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels and arrhythmias. In fact, stress is now considered a major risk factor in heart disease right under smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. Stress posing a threat to your immune system has become such a problem that researchers have made a new field called psychoneuroimmunology to study the relationship between moods, emotional states, hormonal levels, and changes in the nervous and immune system. When you are drowning in stress, it can compromise the effectiveness of your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick. So, take the time to relax with your friends and family to fight away those germs!
3) Do Not Indulge
– I know it is easier said than done when your mom makes the best turkey in the world, or your aunt makes those cookies from when you were a kid and it brings you back to the simpler times of childhood. It can be hard to not overeat during the Holidays. As hard as it may be, keeping those temping food out of hands reach is an easy way to prevent over eating. If you cannot reach it, you are less likely to eat it. Another way to prevent over eating is to eat at a slower pace. When you eat slower you give your stomach time to trigger its receptors and tell your body you’re full. By doing this you feel more satisfied by eating less. So, take your time and remember there is no prize for finishing first.
4) Beware of the Empty Calorie Drinks
– Yes, I am talking about alcohol, not only do you not feel full drinking alcohol, but alcohol is an appetite stimulant causing you to want to eat more. If you are going to drink, eat something healthy to act like a buffer, and space your drinks out with water.
5) Stay Active
– I know it can be hard to stay active during the holidays but in order to prevent unnecessary weight gain you need to get moving. Now you don’t need to go hardcore and lift weights for hours, if that’s not your thing, but there are plenty of ways to fit in exercises throughout your day. Walk your dog, play a game of football or Frisbee, play the Wii, and even dancing counts as ways to stay active. Every little bit counts!
6) Get Vaccinated
– During the germ season, it is recommended that everyone gets a flu shot. When you are given a flu shot, your body comes in contact with a weak or dead strain of the virus that cannot make you sick. This causes your body’s white blood cells to make antibodies so when your body comes in contact with the normal virus your body has the ability to fight it off and protect you. Think of them as a training course for your immune system! If you would like to know more about how vaccines work, click on the link below!