Oak Hills Womens Center

Holiday Health

Health & Wellness during the Holidays

Ready or not, here come the holidays! As if our normal routines weren’t enough to keep us very busy, we are about to cook a Thanksgiving meal for our family and make December special. Normally, we have a lot on our plates with children, work, our own parents, and our own activities and we’re are constantly on the go. We have to be careful so the demands of the holidays don’t make us feel we are losing sight of what “normal” is. Some of us manage more and seem to handle things than others but, bottomline, there is only so much we can take and when it gets out of balance, there’s a “danger zone” we want to avoid.. Luckily, there are simple steps toward balance and overall health during the holidays that we can take to keep things in check.


Remember, exercise is important for our bodies. And our minds. According to John Medina, Brain Rules, exercise zaps harmful stress chemicals and boosts problem-solving, planning, and attention. And it cuts the risk of dementia in half. Physical activity helps to reduce risks of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. It reduces depression, increases energy, and helps us attain and maintain a healthy body weight. Setting aside time to exercise while managing holiday activities can be challenging. A sure way is to schedule yourself on the calendar along with all of the other demands. This makes self-care a priority for ourselves.


At the stores, at the office, holiday goodies are all over. Getting through the season without putting on pounds is all about knowing where the pitfalls are, avoiding them, and saying “no” to some of the goods. Now is a good time to keep a food journal (or download the app) - just record everything you’re eating and check it at the end of the day. The calories you take in (eat) versus the calories you burn off (exercise) equals your weight. It’s a simple equation. If you notice you’re overdoing the treats, slow down and make adjustments the next day.


Too many holiday treats can lead to frustrations come January. To avoid excesses which could lead to weight gain, eat a healthy snack before the party. Check out the party buffets for your favorites before filling your plate. Include vegetables and fruits and only eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Also beware of beverages as alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating and non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar. When given a choice, opt for a light, lean meal. Come January, you’ll be glad you did!


Awareness of body, mind, and soul can get put on the back burner during the festivities and hustle bustle of the holidays. Instead, be mindful of balance and self-care. Recognizing the importance of annual exams, set aside time on the calendar to make appointments to get everything checked out. Annual physical exams are a good way to get back in touch with ourselves and prioritize what is important. During the busy holidays, just knowing these appointments are made can create a sense of accomplishment.

Enjoy the holidays, try new healthy recipes while enjoying your favorite holiday foods, and make time for physical activities. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.

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