The holiday season can be a wonderful time to gather with family and friends, but it can also be a busy and sometimes stressful time. Here are tips to help you stay healthy so you can enjoy the festive season, while also avoiding potential pitfalls that could affect your physical or emotional health:
1. Enjoy holiday foods, but control portions. You can savour the taste of favourite holiday foods like shortbread cookies, turkey with stuffing, latkes or mashed potatoes, but keep your portions in check by using smaller plates or filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit, suggests Health Canada.
2. Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly to help prevent the spread of germs and illness—especially as flu season kicks off, says Mississauga’s Trillium Health Partners. Also, use your elbow to cough and sneeze instead of your hands.
3. Stay active. Go for walks after meals (perhaps on a treadmill or in a mall if the weather isn’t great) and make time for your regular physical activities. This will give you energy, relieve stress and help burn off extra calories.
4. Prevent falls. As snow creeps into the forecast, wear shoes and boots that provide good traction on the heels and soles. If you’re unsteady on your feet, use handrails on walkways, assistive devices such as a walker or cane, or the support of another person to help keep your balance.
5. Manage stress. Take breaks if you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by too much activity, too many people or travel. Get plenty of sleep, eat right, and spend quiet, quality time with the people you care about most.
6. Beat the holiday blues. It’s not uncommon to feel low in the winter months as the weather turns colder and natural light becomes scarcer. Get outdoors for fresh air and sunlight, and use more indoor lighting to brighten your mood. Connect with family and friends, and get involved in social activities in your community.
7. Stay hydrated. Older adults are more prone to dehydration, and this obvious, yet important tip is prevalent even outside of the summer months. Drink water, juice or milk regularly to keep fully hydrated and help stave off headaches and other illnesses.
8. Volunteer. You may find taking time to help others will boost their spirits and yours, too!