How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and invitations are flooding in left and right. Clearly, the holiday season is in full swing! With the rise in cheer and celebration also comes the rise in aches, pains and overall weariness – cold season is also here.

Oh, the dreaded cold! The saboteur of festive fun for generations, he’s a sneaky one that isn’t picky about his victims. Young, old, merry or naughty, staying safe from a winter cold requires some effort and planning, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Read on for our top tips for how to keep your immune system strong and your mood lifted during the holidays.


Mind the Mouthful

It’s baking season and everyone loves a good cookie, (or doughnut, cake, pie…you get the picture), but the abundance of home baked treats and sweets isn’t an excuse to indulge until you bulge. Not only will you feel worse physically if you overdo it, you’ll also be more susceptible to catching the flu. Nobody wants that.

Along with limiting the holiday foods you eat, make sure you load up on immunity-boosting foods – foods high in vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, protein and probiotics. These foods include kefir, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Make sure you include them with every meal.

Commit to Fit

Between work, school, holiday parties and the occasional blizzard, it can be difficult to squeeze in a sweat session at the gym. Countless studies however, show that exercise strengthens your immune system, enhances your mood and increases energy – all good things you could use a little more of during the holidays, right?

Admittedly, between in-laws, school/work functions and the (what feel like) sub-zero temperatures, carving out an hour or two from your day is a daunting task. If you’re struggling to find time to get you heart rate up, pen it into your calendar and treat it like a commitment (don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to an after work invite if it interferes with your “you” time). If you’re tight for time, try squeezing in a quick workout during your lunch break, or get up earlier in the morning and start your day off with a run or walk. You’ll enjoy the extra burst of energy all day and no longer need to worry about it!

Calm Your Mind

The holidays are arguable the LEAST relaxing time of the year for many people. Between shopping, traveling, school, work, family and the ever-growing list of commitments, suggesting “doing nothing” for mental and physical health seems sort of silly, but it’s true! The more you demand of your body, the more time you need to spend repairing your body.

Set aside some time for yourself every day to relax – it doesn’t matter if it’s the morning or the evening. Find a calming activity, such as reading, meditating, stretching, or even taking a hot bath – whatever works for you! If nothing else, be sure you’re getting adequate sleep. You’ll definitely notice if you’re not (and so will everyone around you).

Sleep Like You Mean It

Adequate sleep might be hard to come by during the busy holiday season, but getting a good night’s rest is crucial for a strong immune system, a healthy metabolism and a positive mind. While you’re sleeping, your body goes to work repairing muscle and tissue on a cellular level and it also releases hormones, including cortisol and human growth hormone. Lots of things affect the amount and quality of sleep you get, from food to TV to where you’re sleeping, but you should aim to get at least seven to ten hours of sleep every night. Bonus: the more well rested you are, the more beneficial your workouts will be, and the better your mood will be.

The Take Away

Staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does take some planning. Our advice? Keep it simple and keep it routine. For the Lifeway team, our healthy holiday season routine comes down to three steps: we drink kefir, we move our bodies, and we take naps. Easy peasey!

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