Healthy Holiday Tips

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, food...and stress. While many people enjoy celebrating with loved ones, the pressures of holiday gift-buying, travel, and overindulgence can take their toll.

Here are some tips to keep your holidays safe, healthy, and enjoyable:

Stay active.

It's easy to let the busy season get in the way of going to the gym or sticking with your usual workout plan. Make sure you save time amidst your holiday errands to keep your body moving and energized. Park at the back of the mall parking lot so you have to walk just a little bit farther. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Waiting in a long line at the mall? Do some standing calf raises to keep your blood moving.

Practice healthy holiday eating.

The snack spreads at holiday parties can be tempting. Eggnog, sugar-loaded pies, and gravies are offered everywhere you turn. Try to be mindful of what you're eating instead of sampling everything. Stick with hard cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and dark chocolates for a tasty yet healthy snack. If you're cooking for others, use lean meats and low-fat options. Consider preparing just one dessert and offering fruit instead of cookies and candy.

Travel organized.

Airports can be stressful during the holiday season. Pack light, label your luggage, and get to the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to board. Attaching a colorful marker, such as a knotted scarf, to the handle of your suitcase will make it easier to identify as it comes down the conveyer belt.

Don't let your emotions overwhelm you.

The holidays can often bring on stress, loneliness, and depression. Make sure you take time for yourself to practice mindful breathing and relaxation. Using imagery helps, too--picturing yourself in a quiet, relaxed place will put your mind and body at ease.