The holidays are here, and with temptations everywhere, it is all too easily slip into unhealthy habits. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to live a healthy lifestyle with these tips:

Manage stress

The holiday stress can take a toll on your overall health. Take a break when things become overwhelming. A 10-minute walk outside can help calm your nerves and also allow you to see things in a better perspective. Remember to do something daily that makes you feel happy and get adequate sleep. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family or friends. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook.

Satisfy your hunger versus your appetite

Eat to satisfy your hunger versus your appetite. Hunger is a biological cue from your body telling you that it needs nourishment. Appetite is a psychological stimulation from your brain that can be a result of boredom, habit, cravings or social and emotional factors, not a need for nutritional nourishment. Be aware of the choices and amounts of food you eat and follow the recommended food portions to help you manage your appetite. Find more information about food portions here.

With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose more vegetables and fruit. Select just one or two of your favorites from all those tempting holiday foods and desserts.

Eat first, then drink

We know, alcohol is overflowing during holiday celebrations. Be smart and have a healthy meal before you drink, and you’ll notice a decline in alcohol cravings. The food already in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. Alcohol you consume stays in your stomach for a longer period of time when you eat first.

If you are attending a party and driving home afterward, we suggest that you limit your alcohol intake. Also, make sure that someone who is not alcohol-impaired can drive you home safely to prevent any road accidents.

Recruit your friends and family

Are you spending the holidays with your family? This might be a time to encourage your parents and siblings to join the health bandwagon and explore ways to serve healthy and nutritious meals without compromising taste. Healthy doesn’t mean bland and tasteless. There are many ways to indulge in good food. Try using herbs and spices instead of salt, oils and fats. Here’s a handy pdf with herbs and spices and suggested uses.

Get a flu shot

As we move into the coldest, darkest days of winter, our immune system can be suppressed and susceptible to various viral and bacterial infections. Be one step ahead of your game by getting a flu shot. Being vaccinated for the flu doesn’t mean you will never get it; but, it does lower your risk of getting the full-blown flu reducing your time to recuperate. Don’t forget to include your family when getting the flu shot to make sure family gatherings aren’t be spent in bed.

Do something active

Cold winter months can make us want to stay in bed longer and hunker down indoors. However, experts say that during these cold dark days, we should exercise more. Exercise provides a lot of benefits during the winter months including the release of feel-good hormones to fight off the blues and seasonal affective disorder.

Find fun ways to stay active. Dance to your favorite holiday music or bundle up and take a walk. Be active for at least 2 hours a week. Encourage kids and teens to be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Don’t wait for the New Year

Instead of waiting until the New Year to adopt healthy habits. Get a head start now. Don’t worry if you can’t make all these ideas work for you right away. Just pick one or two that feel doable and start there. Give yourself a few easy wins before the New Year starts and rather than digging yourself out of a hole in a few weeks, you’ll be on a roll.  Adding more healthy habits will be even easier with less temptations luring you off track. Here’s to your best year in 2020!


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