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Tips for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

With all the shopping, socializing, and extra things on your to-do list, the onset of the holidays can quickly overwhelm you. Not only are there pesky cold and flu bugs floating around, but many people also suffer from seasonal depression or the holiday blues. Whether you’re a social butterfly or prefer to keep things low-key, navigating the holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few helpful tips for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Give Your Immune System a Boost
Unfortunately, seasons greetings aren’t the only things floating through the air this time of year. Flu viruses proliferate in cold air with low humidity. Shaking hands or touching contaminated surfaces is also a great way to catch a cold. Your first line of defense against sickness is your immune system, and there are a few things you can do to  give it a boost.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Don’t smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals

Indulge in Moderation
It may seem contradictory to everything the holiday season represents but eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can be your secret weapon against sickness, stress, and fatigue. Not only does it help your immune system by providing essential nutrients, but it can also help you avoid feeling sluggish and the regret that often accompanies larger waistlines in January. Everyone indulges during the holidays, but there’s a way to balance it out. If you know you’re going to a party or event, drink plenty of water and eat healthy all day leading up to it. As gift baskets from business partners and associates come your way, it’s okay to say no to some of the goodies. Enjoy a small portion and share them with others to avoid overloading on fat, sugar, and salt.

Exercise Regularly
For some, shorter days can be a challenge to mental well-being. Fourteen percent of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. Studies show 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, and 20 minutes of sunlight exposure daily can help manage or eliminate SAD.

The holidays can also feel a little overwhelming because of all the extra planning, events, and shopping, but getting regular exercise is a great way to cope with stress. By lowering stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and increasing endorphins, it enhances feelings of well-being and relaxation. Not only does exercise help you stay calm, but it also boosts your immune system to keep you healthy and strong year-round. And there’s one additional bonus that exercise brings: it helps to counteract the extra calories from holiday treats.

Connect Socially
One of the biggest sources of depression during the holidays is social isolation. If you find yourself feeling disconnected, don’t wait for others to invite you to their holiday gatherings. Plan your own. Reach out to friends and family and invite them over for a fun celebration. It could be something as simple as a Christmas card exchange or a meal.

If your social circle seems too small, expand it. With so many festivities going on during the holidays, it’s easy to go online and find social or professional groups having events in your area. Connecting with others is a great way to boost your spirits during the holidays and beyond.

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