Does holiday cheer sometimes bring you down, both mentally and physically? The holiday season can be both an enjoyable time but also a very difficult time for many people. Some start to feel poorly in December, other’s feel a crash come New Years. The winter blues are not festive…
We often have patients come in to our offices in January who feel downright terrible after the holiday season. They are sometimes sick with respiratory or flulike illnesses or they feel like they have gained weight, are exhausted and have fallen off the health wagon. Too much celebrating can sometimes catch up with you, both in body and mind.
However, much of this holiday burn out can be avoided with some simple strategies. We would like to talk about some ways to get and stay healthy during the holiday season. The most important thing is to start thinking about your healthy holiday strategy now and be proactive in your decisions. A little planning can go a long way to stay on track with your physical and mental health!
1) Sleep, sleep and more sleep. This time of year, a crazy schedule often tempt us to skimp on rest. However, this will come back to bite you! Inadequate sleep will compromise your immune system, your energy levels and your ability to maintain your weight (yes… sleeping actually helps promote weight loss, read more here about sleeping your way to a slimmer you). Most people need at least 7-9 hours of sleep to optimize their health. Try to make up for your lost hours (“sleep debt”) when you have extra time. Don’t let this precious restorative time for your mind and body fall by the wayside.
2) Avoid getting sick by protecting yourself. The first line of defense for germs is regular hand washing. It is so simple yet often overlooked. Washing your hands with warm soap and water (sing “Happy Birthday” once through while doing it to ensure you do it long enough!) is so important. Hand sanitizing gels can be an alternative when hand washing is not an option, however be cautious not to overuse them since they can both dry your skin and contain significant amounts of alcohols and other chemicals. Also consider vitamins for immune protection such as those found in a custom all in one vitamin or our Immune Blast™ Situational Supplement (to be used when feeling run down or fighting illness). Take our vitamin quiz here. In addition the flu shot is recommended for all adults and is a safe and effective means of avoiding this potentially life threatening illness.
3) Don’t let exercise fall by the way side! This important health habit is great for energy, immunity, de-stressing and maintaining or losing weight. If you are not a regular exerciser, there is no time to start like the present! Combine your shopping trip to the mall with a brisk walk before you hit the stores. Meet a friend who’s in town for the holidays for a walk or a yoga class and coffee rather than the usual lunch or cocktails. Keeping this habit up through the holidays will keep you poised for a much better winter of health, energy and fitness. For an extra boost with your workout or when you need energy, try our Power Up Situational Supplement, a blend of electrolytes and B vitamins.
4) Drink responsibly. Opportunities to indulge abound this time of year. You can and should take time to celebrate and enjoy yourself, but plan your alcohol consumption wisely. Set a mental guideline as to how much you will drink (or enlist a friend to keep you honest) before you attend an event. Pace yourself, perhaps alternating alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Don’t drink without food in your stomach. Also consider lower calorie beverages such as light beers, “skinny” beverages or champagne. If you do drink alcohol you can help combat the toxic effects with plenty of water and our Recovery Act Situational Supplement. Of course, don’t even think about drinking and driving (no matter how good you feel!). Check out Uber for a ride if you need to.
5) Eat sensibly. Particularly challenging this time of year, maintaining a healthful and well balanced diet is your best tool to staying healthy. The occasional holiday splurge can be balanced out with thoughtful meal planning in between events. This does not mean starving yourself before an event, rather eat sensibly throughout the day with frequent small protein snacks so you are not ravenous at the event. You will then be better positioned to make good eating choices at the party. However, even with a healthy diet it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need. Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D (especially in the winter, since it comes from the sun!), iron, B vitamins and other vital nutrients even when we eat well. A good custom all in one vitamin will help you get the nutrients that you need. Take our brief vitamin survey to get yours.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teen agers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin survey now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.