Are you excited, nervous, or dreading the holidays? If you are like most people, it is probably all of the above. The holidays are a mix of emotions because we are happy to see family but they can also be a cause of stress. The stress is magnified if you are trying to keep your blood pressure down, keep an eye on your diet, or fit in an exercise schedule.
So how do you handle it all? We have a few tips for you to make it through the holidays easier.
Watch Out for Holiday Stress
Keep an eye on your mental health. If you start feeling overwhelmed, out of control, or just generally stressed then give yourself a break. Connect with others socially and get enough sleep. Experts say to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night — for healthy adults. People over the age of 65 can get a little less, which is between seven and eight hours a night.
If you are not getting enough sleep, it can have a negative impact on your blood pressure. Poor sleep can increase your blood pressure because sleep helps to regulate stress hormones. If the stress hormones are not controlled, then your blood pressure can go up. This can lead to hypertension. One way to monitor this is with a digital blood pressure monitor. Check your blood pressure regularly to make sure it is not going up and is controlled.
Stay Active with Fitness Hacks
Chances are you will be busy this holiday season, but that is not an excuse to skip workouts. Try to do 10-minute workouts if you are short on time. These short workouts can boost metabolism, build muscle, and increase your cardio.
Add workouts to your schedule and make it a commitment. If morning workouts are easier to fit in, then that is the time to do them. If you have to do them in the evening, that is fine too. Just remember to not work out too close to bedtime because you may have trouble falling asleep.
Do a holiday exercise challenge. Check for fitness runs, exercise challenges, or find a friend to hold yourself accountable. Even if your challenge is to walk five miles a week that is better than nothing.
Keep your exercise shoes near you. If you are traveling from house to house then keep an extra pair of shoes in the car. You can throw them on for a short walk after dinner with family. This is a good way to spend time together while getting in some exercise.
Plan Your Eating and Drinking
Meal prep and making meals ahead of time can help you stay on track if you are on a special diet. It can also help prevent stress-eating. Make sure to consider snacks as well. Holidays are stressful and that can mean stress-eating. Prepare snacks in easy to grab bags or tupperware. Easy to grab snacks are helpful so you don’t end up grabbing something unhealthy out of the pantry. Try putting celery and carrots in a bag, or pretzels with hummus, or other fruits and vegetables that are prepped and ready to go.
Remember to eat in moderation. You don’t have to cut out the good stuff. You can still enjoy the holiday goodies without overdoing it. Eat smaller portions throughout the day. When you are filling your plate, don’t load it up. Choose what you want and eat smart portions.
Listen to your body when it tells you it is full. If you eat slower it is easier to listen to your body than if you were shoveling food into your mouth.
Boost Your Immune System
When you are filling up your plate, be mindful of the different colors. Colorful fruits and vegetables will help boost your immune system. Many times this means vitamins C and A. Nuts are another good way to get minerals in your diet as they contain zinc. A good variety of foods is good for your immune system.
Staying hydrated will help you control your hunger, overeating, and help fight off mid-day fatigue. An easy way to stay hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Fill it up before you leave the house and keep filling it up throughout the day. You will be surprised how much water you drink if it is easily accessible.
Preventative Measures to Take
While these may seem trivial, they really can make a difference. How often do you get in a car and forget to wear your seatbelt? Or have you made an appointment to get your flu shot? Did you put off your yearly exam or screening? These are all important preventative measures to keep your health in check through the year.
- Wear Your Seatbelt
- Get your Flu Shot
- Yearly Exams and Screenings
- Fire Safety Plan
A fire safety plan is important as many residential fires happen during the winter. If you have a space heater, fireplace, or candles, do not leave them unattended. Furthermore, double-check the stove and oven are turned off. These are common causes of fires.
If you have kids, go over with them what to do in case of a fire. Tell them what exits to use in certain situations and teach them how to call for help. Furthermore, check your smoke alarms to see if they are working or need battery changes. Preparation beforehand can go a long way in the case of an emergency.
Keep the Holidays Happy
While the holidays can be a stressful time, don’t forget to take care of your physical and mental health. Take time to get the right amount of sleep, practice self-care, and exercise regularly. Enjoy holiday food but don’t overdo it. You can still have fun, see family, and enjoy the festivities without too much trouble. Remember to take your portable blood pressure monitor to keep an eye on your numbers.