Dr. Marita’s favourite tips to stay healthy this holiday season – Lifestyle Markets add wishlist add wishlist show wishlist add compare add compare show compare preloader

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Dr. Marita’s favourite tips to stay healthy this holiday season

Despite the media telling us that the holidays are ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ for a lot of people, this season is fuelled by stress

Purchasing the perfect gift, hosting extended family, cooking for guests, attending holiday parties, indulging in excess sugar, rich foods and alcohol, and experiencing the financial strain caused by holiday consumerism can all contribute to December’s overwhelm. 

Since stress can weaken our immune systems and cause us to pick up that cold going around the office, it’s important to up your self-care routine at this time of the year. Here are a few things we can do for ourselves:

Photo of a journal with the caption "Cultivate Gratitude"

During the holidays, it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do. One of the most powerful forms of self-care we can do for ourselves is cultivate gratitude; a regular gratitude practice of any kind is associated with an increase in feelings of happiness, a lessening of stress, and improved optimism for the future.  Individuals who cultivate gratitude have been shown to exercise more, eat better, and get sick less often.  I recommend using a journal to write down 5 things you’re grateful for upon waking and upon going to sleep. This won’t take more than ten minutes a day, and can significantly improve your overall wellbeing. 

Pace Yourself

It’s easy to say yes to every holiday event, function and party at this time of the year. But in order to stay healthy during the holiday season, it’s crucial to pace yourself rather than over-commit only to end up stressed and anxious.  Check in with yourself before you commit to another festive outing and ask yourself if you need more rest. There is no shame with saying no to take care of yourself; do what you need for you, not for others.

Reframe expectations

With so much going on this month, it’s easy to have high hopes for how the event we’re hosting will go, how much we’ll exercise, and how well we’ll eat. Be realistic, and go easy on yourself. You may not work out as much as you hoped for, but maybe you’ll see more of the people you love. You may not stick to your strict diet amongst all of the holiday treats, but maybe you’ll feel positive from your social interactions. Lessen your expectations and take a little pressure off; balance and moderation is everything!

Rest More 

Most people get burnt out during the holidays from trying to balance daily tasks with the excitement of the holiday season. But what if you delegated a few tasks to family members, and took a little more time for yourself? I can’t stress enough how important sleep is to your overall health and wellness, especially during times of busyness. I recommend taking a little extra time to rest, and supplementing with magnesium, L-theanine, or passionflower before bed to improve your zzz’s.

Stay Hydrated

Amongst the holiday cocktails and indulgences, it’s easy to become dehydrated. Proper hydration allows our bodies to remain in homeostasis, improve the functioning of our organs, and even regulate our adrenal glands, which produce our stress hormones. Drink a big glass of water between alcoholic beverages, and sip on water throughout the day to optimize your wellness. 

Take Time for Yourself 

During a season dedicated to giving, we can often get depleted and not have enough time to take care of ourselves. Remember that it’s not selfish to say ‘no’ to a holiday event or opt out of a friend’s dinner if your body is asking you to take some time for yourself. Release the guilt and ‘shoulds’ and focus on what you need.

Boost Your Immune System

Choose supplements like echinacea, zinc, vitamin D, probiotics, elderberry, and vitamin C to boost your body’s ability to ward off bacteria and viruses at this vulnerable time of the year. 

Ask for help

Many of us try to do everything on our own. At such a busy time of year, it’s important to ask for help when you need it. This might look like hosting a potluck instead of taking on the burden of cooking an entire meal, or maybe it looks like asking your kids for some more help around the house. Don’t be ashamed for wanting help - again, self-care is a huge priority when keeping healthy and stress-free!

Focus on Moderation

You don’t have to be perfect to be healthy. In fact, I advise my patients to practice moderation rather than perfectionism, especially at a time of year where we’re surrounded by temptations. Have that Christmas cocktail, but don’t forget your green juice. Indulge in the gingerbread cookies, but go for an evening walk. Practice doing kind things for yourself and your wellbeing to stay well this season. Balance out your extroversion with getting adequate sleep. When we eat well, rest, and get enough movement in our week, our immune system can help us stay healthy. 

Happy Holidays to All!

Visit Dr. Marita in the office.