The holidays are a time for family, friends, laughter and love. Unfortunately, it also tends to be a time for colds, the flu, and winter sickness. Cold weather can bring on some powerful germs, and with so much traveling, it’s easy to catch a bug that may be floating around. To increase your odds of staying healthy this holiday season, follow these tips to avoid potential sickness.
Staying Healthy This Winter
First and foremost, you are what you eat. If you eat healthy, you’ll have a much better chance of remaining healthy. While sitting to a particular diet might be difficult thanks to all the Christmas cookies, figgy-pudding and other holiday goodies, it’s not impossible. Be sure to eat foods that are high in vitamin C, which will help keep your immune system strong. This includes items like fruits and vegetables. Also be sure to include plenty of lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, wholegrains, and nuts.
In addition to eating healthy, don’t forget about exercise. Just 30 minutes a day can drastically improve your health and lower your chances of contracting illness. But, be cautious. You also don’t want to over-exercise. This can lead to a weaker immune system throughout the winter.
While the holidays can be a stressful time, don’t let it overwhelm you. Control your stress levels this winter and mitigate your stressors to support your immune system. Be sure to make time for yourself and avoid overcommitting to social engagements. Sometimes it’s difficult to say “no” to fun events, but rest and recuperation is essential for a healthy body.
Along with stress, be conscious of your sleep cycles. Lack of sleep can lead to increases in stress and weaker immune systems. If you feel you’re coming down with something, get some rest–it strengthens the immune response. Before you fall asleep, let yourself relax with some soothing music. Put away your cell phones and mobile devices, and let yourself disconnect.
Wash Your Hands
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 1000 times—wash your hands! It’s no secret that consistently washing your hands can help prevent the spread of germs and decrease your likelihood of infection. This is particularly important during winter season when we tend to cough and sneeze more frequently. Soak your hands and lather up with soap for 20 seconds to help dislodge germs and rinse well under running water. In addition to your hands, don’t forget about cleansing the rest of your body. Be sure to bath regularly, and wash your face each night before bed.
By following each of these tips, you can increase your likelihood of staying healthy this winter. If you’re still concerned, you may want to consider getting a flu shot. Of course, the decision whether or not to get a flu shot is controversial but personal. Everyone needs to consider all the information and risks and decide for themselves. Lastly, if it’s cold outside, wear a jacket! Yes, that seems self-explanatory but you’d be surprised. Bundle up, and enjoy your holiday!