December is our kick-off month to our new Be Well + Chamber of Commerce monthly health tips! Take a look at this months focus-Holiday Health.

Tips on Holiday Health

The holiday season is notorious for indulgences, holiday gatherings and a lack of routine. For many of us, it tends to derail much of the progress we have made over the course of the year. This holiday season, it’s important to remember that balance is the key to maintaining your own health and wellness. Curious on ways to maintain the balance we all desire? Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy and feel empowered all through the season:

  1. Know what you are willing to splurge on. Planning ahead of time can save us all a few calories that would otherwise stick on through the New Year. Chances are, you don’t enjoy all holiday dishes equally, so before you arrive, decide which foods you consider worth the splurge.
  2. Plan family time to include exercise. Knowing that most of us will be altering our routine while traveling or visiting with family, think about ways you can incorporate exercise into your plans. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Look into fitness challenges, local races and/or hikes that work with your family’s interests and schedule.
  3. Don’t go to a holiday party on an empty stomach – this is likely something we have heard before, but it’s reiterated for good reason. When we arrive to a gathering hungry, it can become problematic to make healthy food choices. Even a small snack such as an apple or handful of almonds can help curb our appetite and allow for healthy decision-making.
  4. Be the healthy choice at the party! We all have our “signature” dish, but this year, change up your routine and set an example by bringing a healthier option to share. If cooking doesn’t fit on the calendar, survey party buffets before filling your plate – and choose your favorite foods, while skipping the others. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  5. Take the time to rest. Getting the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night is thought to help immune function, reduce our body's level of stress hormones and adjusts the hormones that control appetite. A sleepy brain appears to crave junk food while also lacking the control to say no. However, when we make sleep a priority, we tend to better manage our food cravings. Taking the time to rest and refuel can be especially beneficial to keep your appetite in-check over the holiday season.

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This blog post is part of the Be Well +Chamber series on monthly Health Tips. Thank you to St. John's Medical Center for supplying these helpful blogs and tips!