12 Tips for Health & Wellness This Holiday Season

Of the many gifts we can receive this time of year, no one wants the gift of being ill during the holiday season.  Unfortunately, colds, flu, and other viruses can be the “gift that keeps on giving” as it makes the rounds in families, schools, workplaces, airports, retail stores, medical offices, and so on.  This year, we continue to deal with COVID and the flu, as well as a new respiratory virus, “RSV,” affecting young children and the elderly.

Because medical science tells us that virus strains have become more virulent, harder to contain, and less responsive to vaccines and antibiotics, it is more important than ever to do what we can to protect ourselves, family and friends and stay as healthy as possible.  It does seem especially cruel that at a time of year when people want nothing more than to be with loved ones, that’s when most bugs come out of the woodwork.

While the following tips are no guarantee you’ll dodge the proverbial bullet, they can help you be more proactive with your health and hopefully reduce the chances of ruining your holidays by being laid low with a nasty bug.

  1. Mask up. Just do it.
  2. Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer. Again, just do it.
  3. Take advantage of delivery services and technology. Instacart, Door Dash, etc., can reduce the amount of large gathering encounters and contacts you make this season.  Also, if you or a family member feel like you may need to see a doctor, consider a virtual/video medical appointment rather than running the risk of additional exposure by sitting in an urgent care or emergency room.
  4. Shop online. As much fun as it can be to wander the aisles of your favorite department store or explore the stores and vendors in the mall, shopping online eliminates the chore of having to figure out all the places you went and where you could have picked up that annoying cough.
  5. Drink your water and take your vitamins. Just do it.
  6. Get some sleep. This can be hard to do when you’re working, taking care of a family, trying to get everything done for the holidays, etc.  Lack of sleep leads to all kinds of problems, including crankiness, chronic fatigue, and being run down.  Sneak in a few naps if you can – – it will do wonders!
  7. Insist on truthfulness. Whether you’re traveling and visiting others, or they’re traveling and visiting you, ask if anyone is or has been sick and insist on truthfulness.  This way you can make the best, most informed decision for you and your household.
  8. Be prepared. Stock up on over-the-counter cold and flu remedies (little kids and big kids!), pain relievers, cough drops, throat lozenges, chest rub, Kleenex, Pedialyte, Gatorade, popsicles, soup, crackers, hot cocoa, tea, honey, thermometers, inhalers, humidifier, home COVID testing kits, etc. You’ll be glad when you don’t have to run out to the grocery or drug store in the middle of the night.
  9. Grab some down time. Read a book, binge watch that series you keep missing, start or pick up a knitting/crochet project, listen to a favorite playlist, schedule a massage, take a long bath, have a cup of tea, have lunch/brunch with a friend, attend a yoga class, do some guided mediation, go for a walk or bike ride, play with the dog.
  10. Less is more. The holidays don’t always have to be over-the-top.  Concentrate on the things that really mean the most to you and make them special.  Running yourself ragged is a sure path to exhaustion and an open avenue to a run-down immune system.
  11. Ask for help. It’s tempting to try to do it all yourself because you know how you like things done, but just because someone does it differently doesn’t mean it’s bad or it’s wrong.  It’s just different.  Welcome new ideas, new ways of doing things, new recipes, etc.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a few favors – – most people are so happy to know they can be of use and help out, especially the little ones!  Bring others into your circle and make new traditions.
  12. Remember to enjoy! It’s way too easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the holidays and completely miss them.  Slow down.  Remind yourself to stop.  Consider staggering the events of the day(s) so that you have some down time in between.  This can be a lifesaver when you have little ones so that they don’t get too over-stimulated.    Take it in.  Take pictures.  Be IN the pictures!  Visit and catch up.  Laugh.  Hug.

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