Tips to Live By

4 Ways to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Nov. 5, 2019 - Katie McCallum

Staying healthy during the holiday season is tough. Really tough.

A lot of us travel more than usual, making it easier to get sick and harder to keep up with our exercise routines.

And then there’s all that delicious food. Holiday meals that span hours, leftover sweets in the break room, holiday party after holiday party — the holiday season gives us plenty of chances to cheat on our diet.

Before you shove your health to the back burner, consider these easy tips to stay healthy during the holidays without missing out on the festive fun.

1. Get your flu shot

Unfortunately, the holiday season overlaps with flu season. This means that it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from the flu. While healthy behaviors (like washing your hands) can help stave off the flu, the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot. You can get your flu shot at your primary care doctor’s office.

Flu Shot Pro Tip: Get your flu shot sooner rather than later, since it takes about two weeks to be fully protected from the flu.

2. Find creative ways to work in your workout

Sticking to a workout routine throughout the year is hard enough, but the holidays make it even harder.

If the holiday season is throwing off your exercise routine, here are three ways to adjust your workouts:

1. On the go? Choose workouts that don’t require gym equipment. One of the hardest times to make a workout work is when you’re traveling — but it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your routine altogether. If you have access to a hotel gym, try workouts that use pieces of simple gym equipment. If you don’t have access to any equipment, there are plenty of equipment-free workout routines you can try, too.

2. No time? Opt for high intensity workouts. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are one of the best ways to burn serious calories and boost your metabolism in just a few minutes (sometimes as little as 10). These workouts can be as simple as interval sprinting on a treadmill or stationary bike, or as versatile as toning movement routines that you can do pretty much anywhere.

3. Still struggling? Build in ways to get more steps. If you know you’re not going to be able to fit in a workout, stay active by parking at the back of the parking lot at your work, shopping malls and grocery stores. If you don’t drive, choose the long way home or the stairs over the elevator as often as possible.

3. Indulge, but don’t overindulge

The hardest thing about the holidays is probably controlling the urge to splurge on what you eat.

Dropping your diet completely during the holidays can have consequences, but forgoing delicious holiday food altogether isn’t the only alternative.

Instead, make your goal an overall balanced diet. Here are ways to maintain a healthy diet without spoiling the fun:

  • Eat a light lunch before a big dinner (and a light dinner after a big lunch)
  • Focus on portion control, even during big holiday meals
  • Double down on healthier choices, like green veggies
  • Bake your food instead of frying it
  • Use healthy substitutes, like apple sauce in place of butter and ground turkey instead of ground beef
  • Choose meal prepping over fast food when you know you’ll be busy

4. Know where to find care if you need it

Even if you do everything right, you still might get sick over the holidays. If it happens to you, know how to get care fast so it doesn’t keep you from enjoying the holidays.

An emergency is an emergency, and you should always seek immediate medical attention if you need it. But for everyday health issues, you don’t necessarily need to schedule a doctor's appointment or sit in an urgent care waiting room.

Many common health issues can be addressed via on-demand video visits with health care providers. Even if you’re traveling and it’s the middle of the night, virtual health care providers can help address common medical issues such as:

  • Allergies
  • Colds and flu
  • Coughs
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pink eye
  • Sinus infections

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