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American Heart Association

Healthy Holidays: 5 Tips for staying well this season

4 Minute Read

Holidays can leave many people feeling overwhelmed and out of control when it comes to finding time for physical activity and eating healthy.  And, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s even more stress to manage.

But there are still plenty of ways to keep your commitment to good health while dealing with it all. Here are five holiday health tips: 

1. Make a pledge to be healthy.
Recommit yourself to realistic health goals. Pledge to move more and do something active every day. Have a healthy breakfast and limit the tempting holiday sweets.  And get at least seven hours of sleep each night. By sticking to healthy habits, you won’t feel like you need a complete reboot once the new year begins.

2. Develop a party strategy.
If you’re planning to host a party, you should evaluate the COVID-19 levels in your area.  If they are high, you may want to plan a virtual celebration instead.  Indoor gatherings can pose a greater risk for spread of the coronavirus and the flu. If your weather allows, plan an outdoor gathering instead and set chairs six feet apart.  Also, try to limit the number of attendees.  Larger gatherings pose a higher risk.

Follow the CDC guidelines:  practice physical distancing (at least six feet apart) or wear a face mask and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. And, if you’re not feeling well or are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, ask the host if you can join virtually instead to say hello and wish everyone a happy holiday.

Holiday parties can also mean plenty of bite-size foods that can derail a healthy diet. To avoid over-doing it, eat a healthy snack before party time. If you’re the host, offer some delicious and healthier options using our recipes and cooking tips. Your guests will thank you.

3. Keep moving. 
As your calendar fills up with family gatherings and other commitments, it’s understandable some things have to give. But instead of beating yourself up about missed workouts, sneak some healthy activities into your daily routine. If the weather allows, ride your bike to work or school if you’re not attending virtually, take a mid-day walk to revitalize, or park farther away from your destination to get in your daily steps. Heading to the mall? Take a few laps before shopping.  Find ways to keep the whole family moving. When the kids are home, squeeze in some active chores, trips to the park and creative ways to fit in physical activity.

4. Make time for you.
Don’t be afraid to take time for you and recharge.  Do something that relaxes you, such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, or curling up with your favorite book or movie.
Stay socially connected. It's possible to visit with family and friends while taking precautions to guard against spreading illness. Consider an online meetup. 

5. New year, new plan.
It’s time to reevaluate and reset with realistic, sustainable steps for the months ahead. Start a daily walking routine before you set your sights on that marathon!  Find ways to address your stress and be sure to take time for things you enjoy.

Article provided by the American Heart Association

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