However you celebrate at this time of year, we hope you enjoy these tips prepared for you by Dr. Doug and Dr. Tamar!
Holidays are coming quickly, and for many, navigating the sweets, enticing food, colds and flus, family functions, and expectations can be a struggle. You may be tempted to throw all of your health goals out the window, with the intention to double down and “start fresh” in the New Year. However, the holidays don’t have to be a time that puts a damper on your health. There are actually many opportunities for you to build long lasting healthy habits leading up to and during the holidays! If you can build these habits into your busy holiday life, you will be able to stick to them in other busy or stressful situations throughout the year. After all, fad diets don’t work long term – lifestyle changes that you can stick to are what tends to have the biggest impact on your health.
The First Tip of Christmas Shovelling Snow - By Dr. Doug
It has already started, and we might be in for along winter. The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a snowier than usual winter, especially mid December. Prepare for shovelling by warming up your legs, back and arms. Move around to get the blood flowing through the muscles before you start your exertions. While clearing snow, push rather than lift as much as you can. If you do have to lift, bend both knees and keep your low back straight. Don’t twist and throw the snow. If snow is heavy, lift smaller amounts so you don’t overtax your back muscles. Remember to stretch after.
The Second Tip of Christmas Prioritize Your Daily Water Intake - By Dr. Tamar
It may seem simple, but so many of my patients struggle with this or don’t make it a priority, especially in the winter. You can have your water plain, with lemon, or have it as a herbal (non-caffeinated) tea, but work on having your 8-10 glasses a day. Water intake is critical for helping your body flush toxins out of your body through urine, keeping your kidneys healthy, and for hydrating every cell of your body.
The Third Tip of Christmas Planning - By Dr. Doug
December is a busy month. Avoid excessive running around by thinking about what needs to be done and organizing your trips to make them more efficient. This will take less of a toll on your body, and allow longer periods to rest.
The Forth Tip of Christmas Wash Your Hands Before You Eat - By Dr. Tamar
Many of us forget this hygiene tip when we’re at parties and family gatherings, or when we get home from a shopping spree. You’ll likely be hugging lots of people and shaking lots of hands. Make sure you wash your hands before picking up those finger foods to decrease your exposure to cold and flu bugs! And for those who use hand sanitizer, recent studies indicate that it does little to protect you from flu viruses, so it’s better to stick to regular soap and water when that’s available.
The Fifth Tip of Christmas Exercise Regularly - By Dr. Doug
As things get busier, keep your exercise routines up as much as you can. Some days will be very busy and you might not be able to keep exercise in the schedule. Make sure you get back to your routine as early as possible.
The Sixth Tip of Christmas Guard Your Sleep - By Dr. Tamar
Understandably, you may have to have a few late nights during the holidays. But, as much as possible leading up to and after those exceptions, make sure that you get those 7 - 8 hours of sleep in. You need it to keep your immune system strong, your energy up, keep your cravings for sweets at bay, and to make better decisions regarding your health.
The Seventh Tip of Christmas Stretch - By Dr. Doug
Stretching helps keep muscles from getting too tight. That helps whether your tightness is from physical or emotional stresses that we might encounter over the holidays. Take 15-30 minutes each day to stretch out neck and shoulders, back, and legs. This will help keep you relaxed and pain free.
The Eighth Tip of Christmas Fill Your Plate Half Full With Vegetables - By Dr. Tamar
Before you load up on all the main dishes in your buffet, take a quick scan of what’s available, and, if possible, make it a point to fill half your plate with vegetables. That way, no matter what else you choose, you will be nourishing your body with the nutrient dense foods it needs to keep your immune system strong and your digestive system happy.
The Ninth Tip of Christmas Watch Your Posture While Wrapping Presents - By Dr. Doug
I have often been told that some people like to wrap presents while sitting on the floor. This posture is stressful on the hips and low back (which is the reason people are telling me how they are wrapping gifts). Use good ergonomics. Sit or stand at the table. Even sitting on the bed, while not perfect, is better than the floor.
The Tenth Tip of Christmas Practice Mindful Eating - By Dr. Tamar
Before you fill up your plate, take a moment to tune in with yourself and any emotions you may be experiencing. Why are you eating – are you bored, hungry, stressed? A great app that I have been recommending to patients to track their food intake is the Ate Food Diary app. It’s a way not only of tracking your food intake, but also your reasons for eating what you did, and how you felt afterwards. No need to write down what you’re eating with this app – all you need to do is take a picture!
The Eleventh Tip of Christmas Remember Your Holiday Tune-Up - By Dr. Doug
As you are getting busier for the holidays, remember that we are, too! Book an appointment ahead of time to make sure you can keep your holidays happy and healthy.
The Twelfth Tip of Christmas Start Each Day With Gratitude - By Dr. Tamar
It’s easy to be grateful on Christmas Day if you received a gift that you were hoping for, but that sense of gratitude can quickly fade as you navigate family quarrels, short timelines, and differences of opinion. Starting each day looking for things and people to be grateful for in your life will open your eyes to see the beauty before you every single day. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to do this.