Make Holiday Health, Happy Memories your Priority

We see many friends and family members for what may be the only time all year, due to distance and scheduling. Parties, school assemblies, concerts and events all build up the social connections that are crucial to our emotional health and have a strong effect on our physical condition as well.

The holidays also bring a bottomless supply of delicious but largely fat- and sugar-loaded food, which locks you into the nostalgia of past holidays and how you used to eat. There’s also the stress of having to be nine different places at once and living up to sometimes unrealistic expectations of yourself, as well as the complicated emotions that can arise from family dynamics and the heightened emotions around the season.

Here are a few reminders of how you can prioritize your own and others’ health and well-being through all the end-of-year temptations and trials.

Stay hydrated

You still need to drink plenty of water in winter, especially considering the dehydrating effects of cold air, drinking more alcohol and caffeinated beverages and eating more sugar than usual. We don’t tend to feel as thirsty during the winter but we’re still losing moisture, so keep that water bottle around.

Dress warmly

Prescott’s weather is notoriously fickle but try to err on the side of overdressing rather than underdressing. Wear layers of clothing and hats, scarves, gloves and boots — so many cute accessories!

Eat three meals a day

Cutting back on your normal meal schedule when there’s a big dinner or party on the way is just going to backfire by making you hungrier by the time you arrive, setting yourself up to overeat. Consume about as many calories during the rest of the day as you normally would.

Limit portion sizes

You’re probably going to be around a lot of food, so stay cognizant of what you’re putting on your plate. Use six-inch plates or smaller if they’re available, and remember that half of it should be covered by fruits and vegetables, with another quarter each for starches and proteins.

Managing stress

Don’t let added holiday pressure steal the joy from your season. Avoid potentially stressful situations whenever you can, set priorities, spend time with positive people, try stress-busting activities like exercise, journaling and yoga, and get as much sleep and rest as you can.

Maintain physical activity

Holiday fun is a mixed bag when it comes to exercise. There’s lots of running around while getting ready and plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun like hiking and sledding, but also a lot of sitting around and eating. Try not to cut back on your workouts.

Avoid germs

Winter is always going to be breeding season for respiratory viruses and other contagious illnesses, so it’ll be especially important to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, steer clear of people exhibiting symptoms and stay home when you may be ill. Also, you might consider if any vaccinations are right for you or your family.