Mom's in stress meltdown, the kids are fighting over the last cupcake, Uncle Bob
is coughing up a lung as he carves the turkey, and your best friend just got text-dumped.
Hello, holiday memories!
'Tis the season to beat sickness (not to mention tiredness, stress, or other holiday
downers). Fortunately, you can stay well and have a good time even if everyone else
is falling apart.
Follow these 5 tips to boost your body's defenses:
Fend off germs. Family gatherings, airports and travel stops,
shopping malls, even the library during finals week — they're all places germs
like to mingle. So protect yourself: Get a flu vaccine and wash your hands a lot.
The holidays are all about sharing, but some things you'll want to keep to yourself:
forks, spoons, and drinking utensils. People can be contagious before they know they're
sick, so even just a sip from someone's drink puts his or her germs in your body.
Eat healthy and be merry. Holiday foods can be high in calories
and low on the nutrition you need to battle germs and boost energy. Make it a priority
to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day (choose the whole fruit instead of
juice so you feel full longer and avoid added sugar). Carry an apple or a bag of baby
carrots so you always have a healthy snack available. And don't give your exercise
routine a holiday. Exercise gives you energy in addition to burning calories.
Chill. "Can I afford it?" "Will it be perfect?" Even things we
look forward to, like parties or gifts, can come with worries attached. If you feel
stressed out, stop what you're doing for just a moment. Take five deep breaths —
all-the-way-down-to-your-belly deep. Concentrate on each breath as you inhale and
exhale. Walk over to a window and look out at the sky. Then go back to what you were
doing, realizing that holiday drama will happen. Just hope it leaves you with some
great stories to tell.
Beat the blues. Holiday depression doesn't just happen in songs.
For some people, it's seasonal, brought on by shorter days, longer nights, and colder
weather. Other people are going through difficult life events like a breakup
or a move. If you feel down, go outside, even if it's cold where you live. Sunlight
and exercise are great mood lifters. Try a seasonal activity to put you in the holiday
spirit, like ice skating or neighborhood carol singing. And don't hesitate to talk
to someone you trust, like a parent or teacher, about how you're feeling.
Get some ZZZs. Getting 8½ to 9 hours of sleep a night
during the holidays can help strengthen your immune system, give you more energy,
and make you less vulnerable to stress.
One of the top things to do for your health is to get out and have fun. Forget
about the tough stuff for a while (except for your safety, of course — be sure
someone knows where you are and watch out for drunk drivers).
Laugh and enjoy yourself — the holidays only come once a year.