There’s a lot to love about the holiday season. Decorating, spending time with family and friends, mingling at holiday parties, and preparing (and eating) large, indulgent meals and desserts are just a few of the festivities that make the holidays “the most wonderful time of the year!”
Of course, the things that make the holidays magical can also affect your health. So, how do you stay healthy and safe during the holiday season?
With a little planning and effort, you can enjoy the holidays without making it a vacation from good health.
Here are 10 tips to stay healthy and safe during this holiday season.
1. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
Washing your hands can help prevent infections and illnesses. Germs can spread from person to person or surfaces to people when you touch your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key times to wash your hands include:
- Before, during, and after preparing and eating food.
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
- After using the restroom.
- After blowing your nose or coughing into your hand. (The best place to cough and sneeze is into your upper arm.)
- After touching garbage.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
2. Don’t drink and drive.
While the holiday season is a time to be merry, it’s also the deadliest season for drunk driving. Drinking and driving endangers you, your family and friends, and innocent drivers on the road. Decide not to drink and drive – and encourage others to do the same. Or have a designated driver, call a friend, or hire a car service to drive you home if necessary.
3. Practice food safety.
According to the CDC, 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness every year. To avoid cross-contamination, follow these food safety tips from the USDA:
- Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Thoroughly clean utensils.
- Cook foods to their recommended temperatures.
- Refrigerate perishable foods promptly.
4. Make healthy food choices.
How do you stick to healthy eating when food temptations are everywhere – for weeks? The key is moderation! Have a healthy snack at home before going to a holiday party. Or fill your plate with healthier options like fruits and vegetables. Then savor a small serving of the foods you love and can’t get any other time of the year.
5. Stay active.
You have a lot on your plate during the holidays, and physical activity can often get crowded out. But being active is your secret weapon – it can help reduce stress during this busy season and make up for eating more than usual.
Start fun and healthy holiday traditions with your family and friends that prioritize physical activity. Go for a walk after a holiday meal. Plan an annual Black Friday hike or bike ride in a local park. Throw a football in the backyard.
6. Manage stress.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and out of control during the holidays. Whether it’s hearing the same holiday song over and over, arguing with family members, or burning the cookies, stress can take a toll on your health. To help manage stress during the holiday season, get plenty of sleep and practice self-care – set aside time each day to enjoy a hobby or do something that makes you happy.
7. Prioritize safety.
Most residential fires occur during the chilly winter months. Ensure stoves, candles, fireplaces, and space heaters aren’t left on.
Decorating for the holidays can also lead to accidents and injuries. Be extra careful when climbing ladders to hang lights or decorate the Christmas tree – ask a family member or friend to spot you!
Car accidents are more common during the holidays since more people are on the road, so take extra precautions when driving. Also, be aware of road conditions and watch for icy spots in parking lots and roads.
8. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is always essential. Dehydration can affect your heart and brain – and cause dizziness, headaches, and lack of energy. Try drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages and indulgent foods to flush out the extra sugar and salt.
9. Stay dry and warm.
Wear appropriate outdoor clothing to stay dry and warm. Depending on where you live, dress in light, warm layers, waterproof boots, hats, scarves, and gloves.
10. Practice gratitude.
The holiday season comes with high expectations for a festive, cozy, and joyful time of year. But what if you feel overwhelmed or sad? Research suggests that being grateful can lift your spirits. Gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people improve their health, feel more positive emotions, and build strong relationships. Spending five minutes each morning to think about the goodness in your life will help set a positive mood for the day.
Integrity Urgent Care Wishes You a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!
Follow these health and safety holiday tips to ensure you and your family have a happy holiday season.
Integrity Urgent Care, part of the Xpress Wellness family, is a Texas-based healthcare provider that treats non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses for patients of all ages. We also have an x-ray on site, offer a worker’s compensation injury evaluation and treatment, employee health services including drug testing and DOT physicals, and can test for COVID-19, Strep, RSV, pregnancy, and STDs. Find a location near you and walk in or check-in online.