6 Essential Holiday Health Tips

For the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays sure are littered with health traps. Here's how to stay healthy, wealthy and wise

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It is possible to enjoy the holidays without driving yourself crazy

It’s been called “the most wonderful time of the year” – and for many, the holidays are just that. However, all that fun can come with a hefty financial, physical and emotional price tag. Here are some tips that’ll help you celebrate the season while sidestepping its inherent debt, fatigue and all-around stress.

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Be smart and stingy when eating

To maintain your figure over the holidays, swap salty and sweet snacks for vegetables with low-fat dip. Though the allure of the buffet table can overwhelm the best of us, try to be smart and stingy about your food choices; use a smaller plate to avoid the temptation of overloading, and limit any second helpings to lean protein and veggies.

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Water down your alcohol

Nothing packs on pounds faster than alcohol, especially when mixed with sugary pop. Choose light beer, mix highball drinks with diet soda and try a wine spritzer instead of wine. Drink a glass of sparkling water between drinks to keep yourself well hydrated. And as ever, know your limit.

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Prioritize your gift list

Avoid a debt hangover by creating a budget for your Xmas spending and (this is the hard part) sticking to it. Don’t feel compelled to gift the world. Make a priority list of close friends and loved ones and determine in advance how much you plan to spend on each. Remember to budget for any parties or gatherings you plan to host. Also, avoid using your credit card; you’ll be less tempted to splurge if your bank account will feel the pain immediately.

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Socialize selectively

The holidays tend to come with a plethora of social engagements, which can quickly lead to exhaustion. Just remember: you can’t oblige everyone. Recognize your physical and scheduling limitations and pace yourself accordingly. Choose the engagements that mean the most to you (family comes first, obviously) and don’t feel bad about begging off the rest. 

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Travel like a pro

To minimize the stress of seasonal air travel (especially with children), get to the airport early, dress comfortably, drink lots of fluids (but limit alcohol) and stretch frequently. If you’re driving, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, take frequent breaks, and bring along nutritious snacks, beverages and entertainment for the kids.

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Cut back on everything except sleep and exercise

Most of the stress people experience this time of year stems from going overboard. Cut down on unnecessary aggravation by being thoughtful about what you eat, drink, spend and do over the holidays, and make sure you get enough sleep and exercise. Be patient about unexpected delays, and have reasonable expectations of yourself and others. Happy holidays!

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.