Staying Healthy through the Holidays

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The holidays are an opportunity to enjoy time with loved ones, practice gratitude, and reflect on what’s important. This busy time of year can be stressful, but prioritizing your wellness doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. Read more on the tips below to be your healthiest self this holiday season.

 

Parties

Celebrating with food and friends can be a lot of fun, but it’s hard to feel your best after rich and sugar-heavy treats. Here are our suggestions to promote wellness at holiday parties:

  • Don’t arrive hungry. Eat a meal with protein, vegetables, and healthy source of fat before you go.

  • At the party, choose the healthiest options first (veggie plate, olives, meats)

  • Bring a dish to share, so you know you’ll have at least one healthy and delicious option

  • If you have dietary restrictions, tell the host you will bring your own entrée to avoid them having to make something special for you.

  • Alcohol:

    • Best option: Clear spirits like tequila, vodka, gin mixed with soda water and a squeeze of citrus

    • If you drink wine, stick to organic/natural/biodynamic varieties as these have significantly less sugars and pesticides than conventional wines.

    • Stay hydrated: Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol you have

Indulge without going overboard. Don’t say yes to every sugar cookie that comes your way. Save your treats for something special. If you’re going to feel guilty for the next day, it’s just not worth it. Research has shown that people are more likely to continue to make unhealthy food choices if they feel guilty after having a treat, compared to people that do not have food guilt. So, if you indulge, savor it, enjoy it, love it, be grateful… and then move on.

While our friends and family mean well, often they don’t understand our dietary and lifestyle choices.  Here are some things you can say if asked why you aren’t having pie/cheese/bread/etc.

  • “I feel my best when I avoid ______”

  • “I’m focusing on my health this holiday season”

  • “These choices are helping me heal”

  • Blame it on us :-) “My doctor says I can’t have _____”

 

Staying Active

Busy holiday schedules, rainy skies, and limited daylight hours make keeping up with your fitness routine more difficult in the winter. Turn social gatherings into group exercise by going for walks before/after meals. Instead of meeting up with friends for a holiday drink, consider taking a yoga class together.

 

Mental Health

The holidays can be a time of great joy and celebration, but can also bring about feelings of loneliness and depression.

  • If you notice an increase in body pain or feel sad, consider having your vitamin D level checked as low vitamin D can be a cause of these symptoms.

  • Depression and anxiety are common symptoms of kryptopyrroleuria (KPU), a defect in hemoglobin synthesis that results the wasting of vitamin B6 and Zinc. This genetic abnormality can be tested for through a urine test using a special kit obtained from our clinic. Talk to your provider if you have not been screened for KPU.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder related to the changes in seasons. Light therapy can reduce feelings of depression. Get as much natural sunlight as possible. On lighter days, make sure to spend some time outdoors. When this isn’t an option, full-spectrum light box therapy can be helpful. Make sure you purchase one that emits at least 10,000 lux. Use your light for 20-30 minutes within the first hour of waking. For more information on SAD, read this article or speak with your provider.

The financial and emotional stress of the holidays combined with more hours of darkness can make the holiday season a difficult time for many people. Take time to find community. Focus on connection with others, rather than spending money. Instead of buying material goods, spend time having shared experiences with loved ones. Please reach out to your provider if you would like additional mental health support.

 

Maintaining a self-care routine with nourishing food, daily exercise, and time with loved ones will greatly benefit you over the upcoming weeks. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!