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Stressed Out by the Holidays? Take a Breath.

Between the stress and the abundance of indulgent food, the holiday season can certainly do a number on your health. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are simply one of the many of who tend to pack on the pounds in that magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, slowing down, taking a breath and planning ahead can help.

6 tips for a happier and healthier holiday 

  1. Eat well, but don’t deprive yourself

    Everywhere you go, it seems there is yet another holiday party to attend with an endless supply of cookies and treats to nibble. Enjoy the abundance of the season but plan ahead to mitigate the damage to your waistline and blood sugar. How? Bring a healthy dish to share at potlucks, fill up on healthy snacks before you head to your office party, sample the treats but fill your plate up primarily with vegetables, and limit liquid calories (especially alcohol).

  2. Practice good health

    The holidays are no time to get sick — there’s too much to do! Take steps to stay healthy by washing your hands often to prevent the spread of germs and by getting your annual flu shot. The end of the year is a great time to use up your FSA funds by scheduling those check-ups you’ve been putting off, too. (An important reminder: Keep an eye on insurance enrollment dates for 2018 — Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7, and the deadline to enroll or re-enroll in a plan through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is Dec. 15!)

  3. Create a budget and stick to it

    Limit the financial pressures that come with the holidays by creating a budget you can live with and sticking to it. Avoiding the post-holiday credit card shock will be good for your stress level … and your wallet!

  4. Take the time to enjoy your friends and family

    Create holiday traditions that are unique to your family. Building a snowman, caroling with friends and family, or watching your favorite holiday movie classic on TV are all great ways to relax and enjoy the season. Lowering your stress is good for your health — and building a snowman can be a good cardio workout, too!

    While you are celebrating, be sure to remember seniors who may not be as fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones during the holidays. Why not drop by your elderly neighbor’s house with a plate of cookies or invite them over for a cup of tea?

  5. Do a good deed

    Shovel your neighbor’s walk. Volunteer at a local food bank. Donate to charity. Studies have shown that helping others can increase your own levels of happiness — what better time to spread the love than during the holidays?

  6. Add some time to your To Do list for you

    Cards to write, gifts to wrap — did you remember to buy the kids’ teachers gifts? —cookies to bake, school recitals to attend, family to visit … doesn’t it feel like your To Do list never ends this time of year?

    Be sure to schedule time for yourself. Put a log on the fire, take a bath, watch the Grinch on TV, get plenty of sleep. If you take good care of yourself, you can be more present for the people you love, and that’s the best gift you could possibly give.

Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.