A Healthy Holiday

From excessive celebration to sleep deprivation, the holidays can take their toll on your body. But you don’t have to be resigned to starting the New Year with a winter cold and five extra pounds. Follow these tips and you’ll have the happiest, healthiest holiday season ever.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it seems that unhealthy snacks and meals are lurking behind every corner. The key to enjoying them — and staying healthy during the holidays — is moderation.

There’s really only one rule for holiday eating: never go to a party hungry. While it’s hard to squeeze three square meals in between holiday errands, if you know you’re going to be partying at dinner time, make sure to eat before the party. With a full stomach, you can go to the party and enjoy a sampling of holiday treats without being tempted to binge all night.

In the season of eggnog and champagne, it’s easy to neglect nature’s perfect beverage: water. But between salty seasonal snacks and alcohol, you’ll need to make an extra effort to stay hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you to work and while running holiday errands. Not only will water do your body good, its cleansing properties will make you feel and look better, too.

With so much to do to prepare for Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), it’s natural to push yourself to stay up late. Between wrapping presents, baking cookies and attending parties, the holidays can leave a real dent in your sleep.

But for a truly healthy holiday, you have to pledge to keep sleep time sacred. Sleeping is the body’s way of healing injury and preventing disease, including those pesky winter coughs and colds. And “beauty sleep” is no joke — lack of z’s can result in puffy eyes, dark circles and adult acne. To look and feel your best this Christmas, be sure to get plenty of good old-fashioned rest.

It’s hard enough to drag yourself to the gym without the busyness of the holidays as another distraction. But rather than using the season as an excuse to skip the workout, use it as a motivation.

If you want to stay in shape despite the Christmas calories, you’ll definitely need to stick to your workout program. But even more, you can use exercise as a way to stay healthy during the holidays. Working out helps your immune system fight the germs that cause winter colds. Even better, it releases chemicals that reduce stress and help prevent depression, including the holiday blues. It will also give you the extra boost of energy you’ll need to make it to the New Year.

Be Merry
Of course the biggest gift you can give your health this season is happiness. Make an effort to enjoy every moment of the season, even the chores that seem stressful and tedious. Spend time with friends and family, help strangers in need and devote a bit of time to yourself every single day. By approaching each moment of the holidays with a positive attitude, you’ll make this the happiest, healthiest Christmas ever.

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