5 Ways to Stay Healthy for the Holidays

‘Tis the season to beat sickness (not to mention tiredness, stress, or other holiday downers). Fortunately, you can stay well and have a good time even if everyone else is falling apart. Follow these 5 tips to boost your body’s defenses:

♦ Fend off germs. Family gatherings, airports and travel spots, shopping malls, even the library, they’re all places full of germs, so protect yourself: Get a flu vaccine and wash your hands a lot. The holidays are all about sharing, but some things you’ll want to keep to yourself: forks, spoons, and drinking utensils. People can be contagious before they know they’re sick, so even just a sip from someone’s drink puts his or her germs in your body.
♦ Eat healthy and be merry. Holiday foods can be high in calories low on the nutrition you need to battle germs and boost energy. Make it a priority to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day (choose the whole fruit instead of juice so you feel full longer and to avoid added sugar). Carry an apple or a bag of baby carrots so you always have a healthy snack available. And don’t give your exercise routine a holiday. Exercise gives you energy in addition to burning calories.
♦ Chill. “Can I afford it?” “Will it be perfect?” Even things we look forward to, like parties or gifts, can come with worries attached. If you feel stressed out, stop what you are doing for just a moment. Take five deep breaths-all-the-way-down-to-your-belly. Concentrate on each breath as you inhale and exhale. Walk over to a window and look out at the sky. Then go back to what you were doing, realizing that holiday drama will happen. Just hope it leaves you with some great stories to tell.
♦ Beat the blues. Holiday depression doesn’t just happen in songs. For some people, it’s the seasonal, brought on by shorter days, longer nights, and cold weather. Other people are going through difficult life events like a past death or a move. If you feel down, go outside, even if it’s cold where you live. Sunlight and exercise are great mood lifters. Try a seasonal activity to put you in the spirit, like ice skating or neighborhood Christmas caroling. Try taking a ZUMBA class at The Children’s Workshop in Central Falls every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 7:30.
♦ Get some Z’s. Getting 8 ½ to 9 hours of sleep a night during the holidays can strengthen your immune system, give you more energy, and make you less vulnerable to stress.

One of the top things to do for your health is get out and have fun. Forget about the tough stuff for awhile. Laugh and enjoy yourself-the holidays only come once a year!

Mary Cote, Head Nurse at The Children's Workshop, joined the team in March, 2004. She attended CCRI for Practical Nursing, St Joseph Hospital School of Nursing, and Providence College.  Her experience with children includes working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Woman and Infants Hospital, the Pediatric Recovery Room at Fatima Hospital, and the Pediatric Allergy Unit at University Otolaryngology. Mary’s favorite thing about working with children is laughter!