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The holidays are here and that means a chance to relax, unwind, and potentially eat all of the sugar cookies within our reach. The seasonal excitement can lead to a lot of unexpected binges and little time for exercise. It's easy to resolve with, "I'll just start in January", but let's face it, we would all feel a little better if we made an active effort to stay healthy over the holidays. Discover how to stay healthy over the holidays with these 10 tips.

1. Choose Your Indulgences.

The seasonal greetings involve you greeting platter upon platter of sugary desserts and baked buffets. Staying healthy over the holidays doesn't have to mean restricting yourself or saying no to every tart and truffle that comes your way. This year, instead of eating everything in front of you, think about what you're really craving and indulge in that. Sometimes you'll crave a slice of chocolate cake and eat 10 mini replacements until you allow yourself what you really want. Having one designated treat will soothe your sweet tooth without going overboard.

Holiday treats.

2. Plan for Realistic Exercise.

Between visiting extended family and working away at the holiday ham, the thought of taking an hour to sweat it out at your local gym doesn't sound promising. Even if you can't fit in a high-intensity workout, commit to engaging in a small workout every day. This could be a simple 30 minute walk or a morning yoga stretch on your bedroom floor. Working out will actually produce more sustainable energy and keep you going throughout your busy holiday schedule.

A close up of a person's boots walking in the snow.

3. Take Essential Quiet Time Between Plans.

We love our family, but a lot of family time can be overwhelming for a lot of people. If your holiday week is packed with dinners and brunches and Secret Santa gift exchanges, allocate time before each event to spend quietly alone. Use this time to do a mindful meditation. This time is intended to centre you so that you're less reactive and more responsive when surrounded by people.

A woman reading.

4. Match Wine With Water.

Why does it feel like a few glasses of wine go down easier than our daily recommended H2O? This year you aren't going to wake up with a holiday hangover. Instead of breaking out the crystal glasses, keep a large reusable water bottle with you at all times. Drink water throughout the day and when dinner rolls around, follow every cocktail, beer, or glass of wine with a full cup of water. This is also a great way to ensure you aren't overeating.

A reusable bottle held in front of a bush.

5. Not Too Little, Not Too Much, Sleep Just Right.

People tend to oversleep over break because they plan on "catching up" on their zzz's. Turns out, you can't actually catch up on lost sleep, you can simply have an adequate 7-9 hour sleep any given night. You can treat yourself to a nice 9 hour sleep but don't surpass this or you'll actually wake up groggy and lethargic. Under-sleeping and oversleeping tend to produce the same symptomatic yawns. Sleep adequately and feel better.

A cat sleeping in a bed.

6. Cut the Guilt.

You know that voice in your head? The one that tells you that you shouldn't have had that piece of cake at all? This unproductive mind chatter and guilty guidance makes you feel worse, not better. In fact, it doesn't only make you feel worse, it makes you act worse. If you're talking badly about your eating habits, you may seek out comfort, often in the form of more food. Nix the guilt and be gentle on yourself.

A man holding an ice cream cone.

7. Focus on the People, Not their Food.

Some people go to social gatherings to beeline for the catering and avoid potentially cringe-worthy conversation. The holiday season can often be more centred around the bubbly and the apple pie than the people providing it. This year, master the art of small talk and make real connections with the people you're spending time with. Take your attention off the food supply nearby and feel satisfaction in quality time with the people around you.

People standing in front of street food vendors.

8. Avoid Seasonal Sickness.

The winter months can leave our immune systems vulnerable and with lots of hand-shaking and appetizer grabbing, we can easily become sick. Don't spend your new year with the cold and flu. Get your flu shot, wash your hands, and be mindful of your nutrients. You can boost immunity with a variety of nutrient-rich snacks such as:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Ginger
  • Probiotics

A hand gripping a bowl of soup.

9. Let Go of Financial Anxiety.

People overspend during the holiday season. Getting gifts for kids, siblings, coworkers, teachers, and neighbours can all add up into one big dent in the bank account. Accept that feeling financial stress is normal and let go of excessive anxiety if it's interfering with your daily life. Plan to budget and don't let the holiday spirit drive you into debt next year. Resolve to give what you can while taking care of your immediate needs.

Close up of a wallet with dollar bills sticking out.

10. Make New Year's Resolutions that Inspire You.

One of the best parts of the year is the very first day. We get a fresh start to set intentions for the year and decide where we want to experience growth. Break out a blank journal and jot down the things you want to manifest in 2018. From here, add smaller goals and tasks that can help set you on this path. Finally, break these down into daily changes you wish to make. Have fun and be creative while imagining your new year!

A New Years decoration surrounded by pine boughs.

Happy and Healthy Holidays From DR-HO'S!

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday this year and remember to always keep your health in mind when making choices. Whether it's your physical or mental well-being, you know that planning for positive choices can leave you feeling good long after the holidays are over.

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