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Make sure to take care of yourself during the Holidays.

During the holiday season, things tend to get more hectic. Even if you usually have a self-care routine you always follow, it may be challenging to maintain that at this time of year. We often need a few reminders when life gets crazy.

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What’s necessary to take care of yourself? Let’s look at some essential steps toward staying well this holiday season.

Nutrition

To stay healthy, you need to eat a variety of foods that provide essential nutrients. Unfortunately, this can be harder to achieve around the holidays with all the sweets and goodies available. Experts recommend a balanced diet that contains the following elements:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat milk products
  • Lean proteins (meats, eggs, fish, beans)

For optimal health, you’ll want to limit your consumption of:

  • Fats
  • Sugars
  • Alcohol

If keeping this balance during the holidays seems impossible, we suggest focusing on just one thing: Fruits and vegetables. Having some at each meal will ensure you’re getting at least some of your essential vitamins and minerals. Ideally, about half of your food intake should be fresh produce.

Veggies and fruits contain many vital nutrients. The greater the variety you consume, the more balanced your nutrition and the resulting health benefits.

Hydration

About 60 percent of your body’s weight comes from water. It’s critical for survival. All cells, tissues, and organs in the human body depend on adequate hydration to do their jobs correctly.

Water performs the following functions:

  • Removes waste
  • Normalizes temperature
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Protects tissues

If you don’t get enough liquid, you quickly become dehydrated. When this happens, your body can’t function normally.

Even slight dehydration can leave you with little energy to go about your daily activities. So, it’s critical to drink enough fluids.

How much liquid should we take in daily? Health experts recommend about 8 to 12 cups.

If you tend to drink a lot of sweetened beverages, it may be time to reevaluate. Research shows they put you at higher risk for heart attacks, gout, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Pure water is best, but some people find it hard to adapt. You might try flavoring it naturally using fruit juice or herbal tea (no sugar). If you crave a fizzy drink, you can substitute with seltzer.

Rest

Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. However, getting sufficient rest can be more complicated than usual during the holiday season.

Adults typically need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Depriving yourself of healing slumber can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. It can also cause traffic accidents if you doze off while driving.

You may need some specific strategies to make sure you get enough rest during this time of year. If you feel you aren’t getting refreshing sleep, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each week. Push your bedtime back gradually until you wake feeling renewed.

You can also practice sleep hygiene. The first step is setting your bedroom aside for rest, rather than doing various activities there. Keep it quiet and dark to make it more relaxing.

Having a regular bedtime routine can also help. In the hours before you plan to sleep, gradually reduce your activity level.

Avoid using electronics just before you go to bed. You can also try meditation or other relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep.

Exercise

We’ve all heard how important it is to exercise regularly, but many people find it hard to get into a routine. Even if you did maintain a workout schedule during the year, the holiday season’s busyness might complicate things.

So, it may be helpful to keep in mind an elementary principle regarding exercise: Move as much as you can, and sit still as little as possible. Any physical activity you can fit into your day is better than none at all.

If you have to work in a seated position, make a conscious choice to stand up and stretch frequently. You can also take more steps daily by parking a little farther away, so you have to walk a greater distance.

Limits

We all need boundaries to protect our mental health. During this season, make sure you’re sticking to the limits you’ve placed on yourself.

For example, if you’re fighting negative self-talk, don’t lose sight of that. Treat yourself well, and others will also respect you more.

Considering all the hustle and bustle this time of year, you may need to set some boundaries with other people, too. If you’re on the introverted side of the personality spectrum, don’t be afraid to schedule time for yourself. Even more extraverted people can benefit from a few minutes or hours alone.

Extra Precautions

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2020 has been a year like no other in recent history. The coronavirus brought changes that none of us would have imagined. We now need to be more conscious of hygiene, especially in public settings.

When you’re out and about this holiday season, make sure you wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Follow local guidelines regarding the use of protective equipment like masks or face shields. Though it may be inconvenient right now, remember you’re safeguarding your health and that of others.

Summing It Up

The holiday season can get hectic, making it more challenging to take care of yourself. To get back on track, make sure you pay attention to your nutrition and hydration. Do your best to sleep at least seven hours each night and do something active every day.

You may need to set some extra limits to protect your physical and emotional health. Don’t forget to wash your hands, apply hand sanitizer, and use any personal protection that local authorities recommend. Doing all of this will help keep you well during the holidays.

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