How to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, and to ensure your cheer stays fully festive and doesn’t die down, it’s important to focus on staying healthy during the holiday season. From exercising to eating well, washing your hands to staying hydrated, we’ve got all sorts of tips on how you can stay healthy this year. Because no one wants to spend the holiday season sick or feeling bad about themselves.


So, read on to see how you can keep your holidays happy and healthy this year.


1. Keep your portions small.

Let’s be honest — there is no way you’re going to be able to pass up the holiday meals coming your way, and we certainly can’t expect anyone to say no to every cookie and holiday treat that crosses their path.


Thus, knowing that we are all going to be doing a bit of indulging, it’s important to keep your portions small and avoid from overeating. The amount of food that seems to be everywhere this time of year is hard to avoid, so you’ll just need to be smart about it.


First of all, eat slowly. That way your body has more time to process the food and recognize when it’s full, rather than you continuing to shove food in your mouth only to, 20 minutes later, feel overstuffed.


Steer clear of going too crazy on the appetizer options — they tend to be unhealthy and void of nutrition. Allow yourself a bit, but save it for dinner where you’re likely to get more nutrients. Speaking of nutrients, fill your plate primarily with veggies and protein. That’s what will keep you feeling full and content, and keep your further away from craving those desserts.


Also, stop when you’re full. You have no obligation to eat everything that is on your plate.


2. Eat before the party.

If you’re going to a party that you know will be full of tempting treats, eat something before you go. You don’t need to have a full meal, but eat something substantial that is well-balanced and nutrient-rich so you’ll feel satisfied, and less likely to reach for unhealthy options that are guaranteed to be at the party.


3. Pick your poison.

Indulging in both a lot of alcohol and sweet treats over the holidays is asking for trouble. It’s best, (since we are being realistic and know that everyone is going to indulge a bit), choose to either go with some dessert or drinks — not both.


And, if you are going to be having multiple drinks, it’s a good idea to opt for ones that are not packed with sugar. Not only will you be saving yourself the calories, you’ll also be saving yourself from a brutal hangover the next day.


4. Stay hydrated.

When the weather cools down, and you’re eating and drinking differently than you’re used to (in other words, more), you’re going to want to up your water intake.


This is especially true if you are traveling during the holidays. Airplanes tend to be very dry, and your body will suffer. Not only will it zap your body of water, the dry air in planes makes our bodies more susceptible to bacteria.


To avoid the negative effects of dehydration, aim to drink a full 8 ounces of water for every one hour you’re on the plane.


Staying hydrated will also ensure that you’re not thinking you’re hungry when you’re actually just thirsty.


5. Stay active.

Don’t let your exercise routine go to the wayside. In fact, you’ll want to amp up your workouts around this time of the year, knowing that we are all human and are going to be indulging more than usual.


Engaging in physical activities is not only important for your body, but also for your mind. The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time of year and in order to keep that stress from building up, you’ll want to find time to exercise and burn off any stress that you’re keeping in.


If you keep up your workout routine, chances are good you’ll feel less tempted to overindulge, as you know how much work it will take to burn all those treats off. Sign up for an extra Pilates class a week, and you’ll feel much better.


6. Get plenty of sleep.

With all the parties going on, the holiday shopping to be done, and still trying to make it to work, it seems hard to find enough time to sleep during this time of year.


However, it is crucial that you don’t let your sleep schedule get off-whack this holiday season. You are putting yourself at high risk of getting sick if you’re running on minimal sleep, and you’re also putting yourself at risk of turning into a Grinch — your lack of sleep will make you grumpy.

So if you need to, skip out on a party or two and don’t feel guilty about it — self-care is vital during the holidays.


7. Moderation is key.

Have you had those days where you eat one unhealthy thing, and then think “why not keep going? I’ve already eaten poorly to start, so I might as well get it out of my system.” We’ve likely all been there, and here’s a newsflash for you: you won’t get it out of your system.


Instead, don’t lose hope after you make one bad decision. Turn it around and eat healthy for the rest of the day, and don’t overthink it. You don’t want to feel like you are missing out on anything, but also don’t want to live with the guilt of indulging too much. Hence, eat and indulge in moderation.


Staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, can’t drink, and can’t enjoy your favorite holiday treats. It just means being smart about how you live your life during this hectic time, and working to keep your health at the forefront of your mind.


So, enjoy your holiday season with the awareness of your limitations and how you can keep your body and mind happy to have your best holiday yet!