Health in the New Year

This time of year brings about a flurry of extra activities, many of which we are unwilling or unable to say, “No” to. Last year (well, actually last month), we discussed the ways various people celebrate during this time of year. Today, we wanted to offer helpful advice about how to stay healthy in 2019 and beyond. To read part 1, click here.

The additional pull on our (likely already) overscheduled lives, leads to additional stress, generally compounded by lack of sleep. Stress can sap our natural resources, leaving us susceptible to illness. University of Birmingham researcher, Dr. Anna Phillips, warns that:

“A breakdown in usual routines, less sleep, more alcohol and immense pressure to be the perfect host can combine to create a very real risk of Christmas making people ill.” 

Illness

This time of year brings about a flurry of extra activities, many of which we are unwilling or unable to say, “No” to. The additional pull on our (likely already) over-scheduled lives, leads to additional stress, generally compounded by lack of sleep. Stress can sap our natural resources, leaving us susceptible to illness.

It’s a good idea to sit down and make a list of activities you really don’t want to miss, and those which you are alright eliminating from your schedule this season. This ensures that the activities you do participate in are ones that you really enjoy, and, by not overscheduling yourself, you are better able to fully experience them – stress-free!

Unhealthy Diet

Unless you are the picture of restraint, everybody indulges a bit more during the Christmas and holiday season. Each event we attend has platters heaped with scrumptious treats, and most of us attend a ton of events during this season. 

University of Birmingham researcher, Dr. Anna Phillips, warns that, “A breakdown in usual routines, less sleep, more alcohol and immense pressure to be the perfect host can combine to create a very real risk of Christmas making people ill.” 

Additionally, the added load on our schedules, leaves less time than usual for fitness.

This disruption to our fitness routine, combined with our loosened diets, can do real damage to our bodies. As I stated in my last blog post, the average person puts on between 1 and 4 lbs. each holiday season, and most do not go on to lose the extra weight afterward.

Mindfulness and preplanning go a long way toward helping you successfully navigate the holiday treats. Moderation really can be the key to helping you enjoy the seasonal treats, without the extra weight. 

When you are doing your Christmas shopping, park as far away from the entrance as possible, forcing you to get some extra walking in, and freeing you from competing for the “prime” spots.

Poor Mental Health

The winter holidays and Christmas are a joyous, warm, wonderful time of the year, but for many, they are also filled with painful reminders of dreams, and loved ones we’ve lost. While the message of Christmas and the other holidays around the winter season is one of hope and joy, the heart wrenching emptiness felt at the loss of a loved one, can make it difficult to feel that hope, let alone celebrate it.

Guard Your Mental Health with Mindfulness

It may be helpful to participate in charity events during this season; sometimes putting the focus on others (and their needs) can distract us from our own pain. For some, continuing with favorite traditions is a soothing comfort.

Whatever gatherings, ceremonies, celebrations, and traditions in which you participate, I want to wish you a healthy and joyous holiday season. And, if you need a little restart, feel free to contact me for assistance with your wellness journey. 

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