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Staying Healthy for the Holidays

Staying healthy during the holiday season can feel like a monumental task. Image from here.

Staying healthy during the holiday season can feel like a monumental task. Image from here.

Very soon, regardless of how or what you do or don’t celebrate, you’ll likely have some time off and be spending the majority of it indoors with family in that warm and dry, recycled air filled with their bacteria. Mmm. It’s usually only a matter of time in the winter before someone gets the flu or a terrible cold, and naturally everyone else in the family panics about getting it, especially if there are small children or a pregnant family member in the house. Beyond physical sicknesses, there’s always someone that buys bags of chocolate candies and double fudge-covered cookies to keep you occupied. Clean eating becomes inevitably more difficult during the holidays.

Instead of just leaving you and your family’s health to chance, there are some things you can do to ensure your holidays are full of health.

Don’t be left hanging high and dry. The air is considerably drier in the winter, so make sure your are moisturizing your skin daily and making the switch to a dandruff shampoo if needed. Keep warm, but be aware that the higher you set your heating, the drier the air will become and the more your bills will rise. 65-70 degrees is a good temperature range that won’t break the bank in energy costs – if you have certain areas that are losing a lot of heat, look into insulating them instead of just raising the temperature for the whole house 5 degrees. Dehumidifiers will help with basement moisture and wall seepage and also radiate heat, but they are probably not as useful.

Family flu shot trip! If you haven’t gotten one this season already, go to the local pharmacy store and invest in flu shots for high-risk family members. It’s quick and inexpensive, and may save you three days of missed work and misery. Plus it’s fun to tease family members and older kids as they freak out about getting the shot.

Clean, clean, clean. If you aren’t limiting the bacteria and dust in your home, then don’t be surprised when people get irritated allergies and the cold and flu. Wipe down doorknobs and touched shared surfaces frequently; vacuum thoroughly (not just floors, get the dust that’s been accumulating everywhere else off, too) and shampoo your carpets. You’re likely going to be spending a considerable more amount of time indoors this season, so take the time to ensure the living environment is healthy and clean. No one wants to be cooped up in a house with air that makes your eyes itch and breathing difficult!

Stock up. Buy over-the-counter cold and flu medicines in advance. Herbal teas, vitamins and immune-boosting foods will come in handy – no one wants to run to the store in the cold while taking care of someone with the flu. Nutritious soups are also great to have during this season, whether in a can or the crockpot.

Soups and veggies over candy. Speaking of soups, they are an awesome way to balance your winter diet and stay warm. What’s better than a hearty spicy sausage lentil soup (amazing & easy recipe here) in the winter? Eating warm foods will help soothe your soul through the winter cold. Not to mention that many soups and chilis are packed with veggies! (At least, 1000% more so than that bag of Oreo’s).

Treadmills are your friend. It’s hard to get exercise in the winter, so get familiar with easy-to-do home exercises. If you have an in-home treadmill or gym membership, take advantage of them. In January there will probably be some special deals as people set their new year resolutions. A medicine ball, small weight set, yoga, squats and lunges can be handy exercises that are easy to perform at home. If you really want to be thrifty, try checking out a free follow-along exercise DVD from your local library.

And quilts and hot drinks are your best friend. It may take self discipline to work out in the winter, but it doesn’t take any to snuggle up in some covers and sip on hot chocolate while watching Lifetime and holiday movies. Enjoy the season by taking it easy – limiting stress and your exposure to the cold is a great way to stay healthy!

Go out prepared. Dress accordingly with your climate. Layers, hats, earmuffs – make sure you’re limiting what is exposed to the cold, your body will thank you for it. People where I live are notorious for wearing flip flops in the winter, but that may not be a good idea, as feet are one of the last places body heat travels. Kids love to play in the snow, but make sure they come inside and take a break and have something warm to eat. It’s easier to bring an extra coat and have it on hand than to not have brought one and be miserable all day.

– We wish you all the best this holiday season, warm winter wishes from Happy Havens! <3