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The holiday season is rapidly approaching.
Along with the warm feelings associated with family gatherings and festive events, holiday-related stress affects well-being. It doesn’t have to be that way. With awareness, it’s possible to counteract “seasonal effects” that impact health and productivity.
Here are some reminders to pass along in the workplace.
Monitor Diet: Overeating and consuming unwholesome foods and beverages are common holiday season pitfalls. It’s all about moderation. Being deprived of specially prepared seasonal dishes and treats is not the answer.
Get Exercise: When it gets dark early, it’s cold outside and there are extra demands on your time, it becomes harder to stick with an exercise routine or start one. Look for creative ways to work out and choose physical activities that match your health status and fitness goals.
It’s important to warm up and gently stretch before exercising, and to cool down and stretch again after being active. Use appropriate protective gear and sports equipment, choose safe workout environments, follow COVID-19 prevention rules and policies, and make sensible decisions about when, where and how to be active. Visit a local fitness center, ice skating rink, dance or yoga studio; ride a bike, run or walk outdoors; or do exercises at home. Low-cost options include free, online instructional videos for all fitness levels.
Sleep Well: Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is essential. When holiday demands disrupt sleep, it can lead to poor eating habits, fatigue, loss of concentration, mistakes, accidents and injuries. These patterns can be hard to reverse. Plan seasonal activities to accommodate your sleep schedule.
Set Boundaries: Everyone needs time to recharge. When you start to feel overextended, practice self-care. Examples include taking a nature walk, reading, meditating, going to a movie or concert, or even doing necessary errands alone. Tell those close to you about your boundaries so they know what to expect and can inform you about their own boundaries and needs.
Decide how much time and money you are willing to spend on certain activities. Focus on the ones that bring you the most joy. You will know instinctively when you should be fully present or just expected to make an appearance.
Drink Water: About 60 percent of your body’s total weight is water. Without water, your body cannot effectively deliver nutrients to cells. Over the holidays, and year-round for that matter, it’s advisable to drink water as often as you can throughout the day. If you have more than one alcoholic drink, have a glass of water in between.
Boost Immunity: Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to bolster your immune system and ward off illness. Immune-boosting nutrients include vitamins A and C. Eating a handful of nuts and seeds daily is also a good way to resist germs because they contain immune-boosting minerals such as zinc and selenium.
Practice Prevention: Follow all recommendations to avoid illness and prevent the spread of flu, COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses. Public health officials say vaccination is the best line of defense. If you will be traveling over the holidays, take extra precautions by wearing a mask, frequently washing your hands and avoiding crowds. Cover coughs and sneezes and throw away soiled tissues. Wear layers, a hat, gloves and appropriate footwear when you will be spending time outdoors in cold weather.
By maintaining physical and mental health with some of these tips, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the holiday season with others or some much-needed alone time, if that is what you prefer.
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