Halloween is just around the corner. The ghoulish evening kicks off the holiday gauntlet of sweets, dense savory meals, themed cocktails, cookies, and more empty calories than you can count. But health is about more than calories. In fact, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people report that the holidays make their mental conditions worse.
Following a few simple suggestions makes it totally possible to survive (and even enjoy) the end of the year without sabotaging your health.
First, set reasonable expectations for the holiday season. It isn’t healthy or helpful to hold yourself to unrealistic standards during this time of year. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to make your kid’s Halloween costume yourself while baking cookies for the class party from scratch, working, arriving on time to all extracurriculars, plus exercising. You have to recognize you can’t be all things to all people. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Set aside time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. Prioritizing your well-being is the best way to ensure your whole family has a happy, healthy holiday.
It’s also important to change your perspective of the holiday season. So many people fall into the trap of overindulging in holiday treats because they’re “special.” Don’t give food power over you in that way. If you want to treat yourself, do it, not because it’s a special occasion, but because you will enjoy it. De-mystifying treats helps you have better control over your food choices.
If you do lose control, don’t spiral. Don’t allow your shame or frustration over one situation to become the launch pad for more bad choices. Instead, take time to really reflect on what made you eat those things or act in a way that you’re not proud of then think about ways you can keep it from happening again. The more consistent you are with healthy choices--mental and physical--the better you will feel overall.
One way to ensure you ward off sickness during this time of year is to stay well-rested and hydrated.
The Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. This will keep your mind sharp and restore your body. And, if you are normally anxious, limit caffeine in the later hours of the day.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your individual water needs depend on many factors including your overall health, how active you are, and where you live. Regardless, your body NEEDS water to survive. Even mild dehydration can have a negative impact on your energy and leave you feeling tired. While the age old “eight glasses of water a day” is a reasonable goal, the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine determined that men need about 15.5 cups of fluid a day, while women need 11.5 cups. Really though, the best way to tell if you’re properly hydrated is if you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is light or colorless. Drink water with each meal and throughout the day; before, during, and after exercise; and, of course, when you feel thirsty.
We’d love to hear how you stay healthy during the holidays. Share your tips and tricks below!