Published on November 30, 2019

Happy and Healthy Holidays

Written By: Cailin McDeed, DO and Pierre A. Caron, MD, board certified Family Medicine physicians at Mansfield Health Center

We're in the midst of the holiday season, which is also the time of year when many of us overindulge and overextend ourselves. It's no secret that during these cold, joy filled months, healthy habits begin to slip. We tend to blame the shorter days, colder weather, and barrage of holiday gatherings for letting ourselves indulge on everything, a little too much. This leaves us vulnerable to illness, accidents, and a tighter waistband.

To help keep that "overdo-it" attitude from taking over, we've got some tips and tricks you can follow to help you keep your wellbeing in check.

Keep the Germs Away

It's peak flu season this time of year, and while spreading joy may be on the top of your to do list, spreading germs certainly should not. Hand washing is your best defense against the spread of illness. Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap and practice good hand hygiene, doing so will protect you and everyone else. And if you haven't gotten your flu shot, consider getting it now.

Manage Your Stress

It's easy to become overwhelmed during this time of year. Your social calendar is likely fuller than normal. You may have family visiting or old friends in from out of town. On top of that, you've got side dishes to prepare, rooms to decorate, and gifts to purchase while trying to keep up with your normal day to day obligations. Before it all becomes too much, take a minute to focus on what's most important to you and your loved ones and give yourself a break when needed. It's okay if you don't make it to every event. Doing too much, even if they are fun activities, can result in you feeling frazzled rather than fulfilled.

Balance Your Holiday Eating with Healthy Eating

Moderation is key this time of year (and always). During this season of celebrations, constant overindulgence can pack on unwanted weight quickly. Consider whipping up a healthy side dish or grabbing a fruit or veggie tray to bring to a holiday party. This will guarantee you have a better option to choose from. And while it may seem tempting to skip a meal before an event, this may backfire as you may wind up devouring empty calories that you wouldn't have, had you not been so hungry. This isn't to say that you shouldn't indulge in a few items this time of year, just be mindful that you don't have to overeat or make poor food choices just because it's "that time of year".

Watch your Alcohol Intake

Mulled wine, Irish coffee, and spiked eggnog are among many seasonal spirits that may lead to consuming too much alcohol. If you choose to cheers with an alcoholic beverage of sorts, do so with moderation. Too much alcohol can impair your judgment which can have a number of different consequences. If you do drink, don't get behind the wheel and drive. Have a designated driver or use a number of different driving services available.

Keep Moving

It's easy to put exercise on the back burner when there are so many other things going on, but do your best to keep it at the top of your priority list. Try to stick with your normal routine. If you start the day with a jog, start your day during the holiday season with a jog. Don't fall into the "I'll start back in January" trap as it will be harder to get back to your normal routine after weeks of forgoing it.

Dr. Cailin McDeed and Dr. Pierre Caron are board certified Family Medicine physicians at Mansfield Health Center, an affiliate of Sturdy Memorial Hospital. Both are currently accepting new patients. If you are looking for a primary care physician, please call 508-339-4144 to schedule an appointment.

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