You’ve shopped, cooked, trimmed the tree, decked the halls, and shopped some more. Now don’t let a cold, flu, or careless strain or sprain derail all the holiday plans you’ve so carefully laid out for this most festive time of the year. Here are some tips for staying healthy this holiday season:
germs in their tracks. To help prevent colds and flu, wash
your hands frequently, especially after being out and about — but
make sure to do so the right way: Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and
warm water. Traveling? Run disinfectant wipes over the train armrests, the
seat-belt buckle on a plane, and the tray table on a train or plane. Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your
purse and use it. And consider using a disinfectant wipe on shopping cart
handles at the supermarket before using.
Next time you feel that anticipatory tickle in your nose, resist the urge to
sneeze into your hands. Instead, turn slightly away from the people around you
and sneeze into your upper sleeve or the crook of your elbow.
Stay active. Dr. Agatston
recommends that you get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day on most days of
the week. Even if you can’t carve out the time for an aerobics class or a long
walk, find an easier way to get moving. Dance to your favorite holiday music, build a snowman with your child, take your dog for a brisk walk, or organize a
neighborhood caroling party.
Warm up. When
you go out, keep warm. Dress in several layers of tightly woven but loosely
fitting clothing. Wear a hat and gloves. And stay dry.
risk of injury.
If you’re determined to put a star on the top of your Christmas tree or hang
decorations outside, use a stable ladder, and always have someone with you who can
hold the ladder steady. And before you go to bed, make it a point to put
away things that might be littering the floors during the
holidays, when there is often a lot of extra paraphernalia everywhere.
Leave a light on near the stairs, and put nightlights in the bathrooms and
halls for house guests who don’t know their way around your home.
If you burn candles, keep a watchful eye on them and never leave them (or a
fireplace) unattended. Check the lights for your Christmas tree and only use
those that are in good working order. Since LED lights stay cooler, these
decrease the risk of fire. And be faithful about watering your Christmas tree
so that it doesn’t dry out.
earlier than usual. Get 8 hours of sleep — even
if it means leaving an ongoing holiday party a little earlier than you
usually would. One study showed that individuals who slept at least 8 hours a
night on a regular basis were three times less likely to catch a cold as those
who got fewer than 7 hours.
- Manage stress. Find the time to sit quietly, even if it is just for 10 minutes, and engage in deep breathing. Sit comfortably in a chair and position one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and make sure that your diaphragm inflates enough to really stretch your lungs. Then, exhale fully through your mouth, almost as if you were whistling. Take anywhere from 6 to 10 breaths per minute using this method, and repeat up to 10 times daily. Stress-free people are often healthier people.