One of the busiest and most festive times of the year is finally here! Cocktail parties and office parties, hectic mall runs and frenzied holiday shopping, all with a very busy week of celebration at the tail-end of the month. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year — but it can also be a little exhausting. So, before you dive in head first, we sat down with Dr. Kenzie Dent, a Family Medicine Physician at TriStar Centennial, who has five pieces of advice for ensuring you take care of yourself this holiday season. That way, when the holidays and New Year’s Eve roll around, you’ll feel rested and able to fully enjoy the sweetness of the season.
5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays
Treat yourself while being mindful.
As the year comes to a close, we’re surrounded by delicious, indulgent food and drink at every turn. Dr. Dent explains that many will put off their health goals until the new year, and this is a time where folks can gain extra weight. She recommends, “Enjoy your favorite holiday dishes while making some healthy swaps. Greek yogurt is an excellent swap for sour cream, cream cheese and mayo.” Don’t restrict yourself, but be mindful of the foods with which you’re nourishing your body.
“We also tend to center family time around eating, which can lead to overindulging,” Dr. Dent adds. “Throw some variety in there with attending a holiday show, going to a Christmas light exhibit, or playing board games.” Celebrate the season with quality time spent, in lieu of rich meals for every get-together.
You likely have a little extra time off work this time of year, and therefore, you have a little extra time to get moving. Dr. Dent tells us, “This is a great time to remind folks that the recommended activity for adults is 150 minutes per week.” Enjoy the crispness in the air, and take a walk around the neighborhood to check out the holiday decorations. Or, grab a friend and finally try the workout class you keep meaning to book!
While gifting others, gift yourself with personal time.
“Set aside time for yourself and engage in relaxation,” suggests Dr. Dent. “Spending time with extended family is truly an overall pleasure, but these times can be stressful and exhausting too.” It’s important to find some personal space and quiet your mind. Dr. Dent recommends, “Take time to listen to a podcast, take a bubble bath, or bundle up and go for a walk outside.”
With the holidays comes plenty of travel visiting family and friends or taking time off. It’s important to travel smart, as with travel comes exposure to viruses like the flu. “If you are traveling, it is especially important to get your flu shot to protect yourself,” Dr. Dent says. In addition, take standard precautions like Vitamin C, and wash your hands consistently and carefully to avoid getting hit with the flu or another virus that would knock you down for the special season.
Schedule a wellness exam.
Take advantage of the extra time off and get ahead on scheduling your doctor appointments. Each year, women should visit their primary care provider, gynecologist, dentist, dermatologist and eye doctor. If you haven’t already seen them this year, take a moment to get it on the calendar — maybe slipping in an appointment or two before the end of the year. Dr. Dent says, “Santa Claus may be making a list and checking it twice, but he is not checking your cholesterol.”
Here’s to a most happy — and healthy — holiday season!
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