The most wonderful time of the year has arrived! Holiday season in Kosciusko County means snow, lights, home-cooked meals, and special time with loved ones. But one thing stands in the way of making happy memories: the ever-present threat of illness.
As the holiday season continues, let’s remember to take care of our minds and bodies. Here are five tips for caring for your health:
1. Eat and Drink Well
Food is one of our favorite parts of the season. Maybe your family has a traditional meal that is only made at this time of the year, or maybe your mother is the only one who can make your favorite cookie recipe the right Although it can be easy to get lost in the grandeur of the meals and drinks, try to find ways to feature healthy snacks and sides in your festivities. Swap out the crackers and dips for some carrots and celery, add a scoop of salad to your dinner plate, or drink a glass of water between glasses of wine/sugary drinks to keep your gut happy. Don’t forget portion control by keeping the size of your plate reasonable.
2. Stay Active
Eating big meals and avoiding the cold winter air can tempt us to sit around on the couch watching football and Hallmark movies. However, exercise is a vital part of keeping your body healthy and keeping illness at bay. You can take an afternoon to go sledding at the big hill in your neighborhood, walk through a light show in a park, or hold a dance party with your favorite Christmas music. Staying active can be fun—and work off those calories!
3. Manage Stress
Dealing with the busyness of the season can be hard. You may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things on your to-do list on top of your regular commitments. We encourage you to take time for yourself and to identify any areas where you may be taking on too much stress. Prioritizing your mental health and finding ways to manage your stress can keep your whole body functioning properly and help it fight infections.
4. Avoid Airborne and Food-borne Illness
As you continue to take measures to prevent COVID-19, you can also apply wise sanitary decisions to keep yourself and your family healthy this cold-and-flu season, such as covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.
But those aren’t the only threat. Every year, an estimated 48 million Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. As you prepare holiday meals for yourself and the people around you, remember to practice safe food-preparation habits. Make sure to wash your hands and workspace before and after you make food and avoid cross-contamination during preparation by keeping raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs separated. You should also ensure your food is at safe temperatures by refrigerating the necessary items and checking internal temperatures when cooking.
5. Protect Yourself Against the Weather
When you venture out into the winter wonderland, remember to wear the appropriate outdoor clothing. As snow and ice begin to cover the ground, use caution when walking on slippery sidewalks and try to avoid too much strain on your back while shoveling snow. Additionally, we encourage you to be wary of ice on the roads and to take precautions during winter driving, like using snow tires and keeping a safety kit in your vehicle.
This holiday season, prioritize your physical and mental health. By eating well, staying active, managing your stress levels, and taking precautions against the harsh winter weather, you can be free to enjoy all the wonderment that the season has to offer.
At K21, we seek to provide resources that will help you keep yourself and others healthy this winter. For more wellness-related resources, visit k21healthfoundation.org.