December's Wellness Topic: Healthy Holidays
Informative articles by Johns Hopkins faculty experts brought to you each
month by iCount Wellness.
Arlene Dalcin, RD
Strategy for a Healthy Holiday
by Arlene Dalcin
Staying healthy this time of year is challenging for anybody. For some, December's festivals are joyful, for others, a time of stress. Losses and other types of stressors seem exaggerated; being mindful about self-care can make the difference between holiday happiness and sadness in the season.
Are you someone who gets so caught up each December decorating your home, cleaning for houseguests, and shopping that taking care of yourself and connecting to the spiritual meaning of the season becomes an afterthought? Consider the month ahead; put yourself, healthy eating and exercise on the "to do list" and more peacefully navigate the darkest days of the year.
- Reflect on winters past. What specific situations make it difficult for you to find time to eat right and exercise?
- Once you identify your triggers, plan ahead. Keep your refrigerator filled with delicious, seasonal produce for quick meals and snacks to keep you well nourished on busy days.
- Cultivate the sense of gratitude; sign up to serve a holiday meal to members of your community who are not quite so fortunate this time of year.
- When preparing your holiday meal, try a healthier recipe instead of a traditional fat-laden favorite. There is no better gift than making someone a special, healthful food.
- Focus on the good in everyone at your holiday table; family get-togethers can be stressful so stay positive.
- Don't compromise on sleep; people who sleep less are at greater risk for poor food choices and weight gain.
- Take time out for a brisk walk and feel the spirit of the season on a cold December day.
The best defense against poor holiday eating is having a strategy. December comes and goes; why not give yourself and those you love the gift of healthy habits as the year comes to its end?