Wednesday, December 11, 2019

7 Ways to Stay Healthy Right Now

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I love being a lazy loaf in the cold weather as much as anyone, but I hate being sick.  I'm actually rarely sick, in terms of getting a cold or the flu, because I'm hyper-aware of germs and health this time of year.  (John is always sick!)  For the 7th day of my 12 days of Christmas, here are 7 tips to help you stay healthy this winter and holiday season:

1. Pick lower calorie drinks and drink tons of water in between.  This is just a general life tip for all the Christmas events you have to go to.  If you don't want to have to spend tons of time exercising off all the bad stuff you drink, try to limit your intake and watch what time of drinks you're having.  Eggnog, no, wine spritzers, yes.  Between each drink, make sure you have plenty of water.  It helps cut down on the calories yes, but it also prevents hangovers.  Your immune system is compromised when you're hungover, so germs are more likely to affect you if you spend every Sunday hungover.

2. Wash your hands often.  Don't touch stuff, in general, especially other people's hands.  My dad likes the fist bump method of greeting to avoid this germ trap.  But if you do have to touch things, make sure you wash your hands constantly in the winter.

3. Lighten up traditional foods, and always bring a dish.  There are many ways to lighten up traditional holiday foods so that you aren't stuffing yourself and gaining 10 pounds every December, but also don't feel deprived.  Search pinterest for a lighter calorie version of any favorites, which will usually involve replacing ingredients like sugar and butter.  The dishes will often taste just the same!  And don't forget to always bring a lighter calorie dish to any events, so you know there's at least one thing that you can feel good about eating.

4. Get enough sleep.  There are tons of parties to go to and holiday related things to get done, but you have to get sleep.  Like being hungover, not getting adequate sleep also compromises your immune system and you're more likely to catch a cold if you've been running yourself ragged.  Self-care is just as important in December.  Maybe more so.

5. Workout at home.  If you've been working out outside, it can be really easy to quit right now.  And I don't blame you, you can get sick easily if you're out too long in the cold and not wearing the proper attire.  It can be easy to skip the gym too, since you don't want to bundle up just to get there and waste time driving back and forth when you have a long list of holiday related things to do.  Instead of giving up your workout routine altogether, find ways to workout at home.  There are many videos available for free online to help you workout using what you already have in your house, like a chair and some free weights.  Following a Jillian Michaels routine always kicks my butt, and all I need is some hand weights!  (Use canned goods if you don't have any weights.  No excuses!)

6. Wear layers and get outside.  You can still get a workout in outside if you wanted, just bundle up and try ice skating!  But even if you don't want to do that, at least spend a little time each day outdoors.  Especially in the northern hemisphere, we lack vitamin D year round, which is what you get from the sun.  It's essential to health though in many ways, and particularly in strengthening your immune system, and supplements aren't always fully absorbed - we still need the sun.  Which you can still get in the winter by walking outside!  Wearing the proper layers is important though - you're more likely to get sick if you don't have anything covering your neck and ears.  You also lose heat through your head and hands, so just wear your layers and take a stroll around the neighborhood each morning or afternoon.

7. Remove stress.  Stress in general is bad for your body, and it's particularly bad if it's causing you to lose sleep or drink too much.  A lot of the stress of this season though is self-inflicted.  You do not have to do everything, and you certainly don't have to do it all by yourself.  Take whatever is overwhelming you and remove it from your to do list.  Either skip it altogether or delegate it to someone else.  The world will keep turning.  And you won't get sick.

How do you stay healthy during the colder holiday season?

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