The holidays are here again! Many delight in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This is the time of year for family and friends to gather, celebrate and reflect. The decorating, the parties, the food … as a familiar holiday song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, with many competing obligations.
Please look after yourself — mind, body and spirit — so you can enjoy this season. One of the most important gifts that we receive in life is the gift of our health. During this busy holiday season, here are a few tips for staying healthy.
▪ Manage your stress. Sometimes it is easy to put expectations on ourselves to have the “perfect” holiday experience. Unfortunately, life and people don’t always cooperate. Managing the stress of competing obligations and priorities can be difficult. Consider shortening your to-do list. Only do the top priorities on your list. Take time for yourself. Get enough sleep. Seek out the company of friends and family for support. Take time to notice what is good in your life, something you would miss if it were taken away.
▪ Keep up your healthful habits. Keep doing the things that you already do to stay healthy. Eat regular meals. Keep eating your fruits and vegetables. Keep up your routine of physical exercise, whether it be your daily walk or your bike ride three times a week. Don’t let the busy-ness of the season interfere with your already tried-and-true ways to stay healthy. Find time for silence, even if only for five minutes a day. Take some deep breaths.
▪ Wash your hands often. Seriously. One of the best ways you can keep from getting sick and spreading germs to others is to wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water (rub them together for at least 20 seconds). If you have a cough, always cover your cough. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your cough and/or sneezes with your upper arm or elbow — not your hands. The gift of not spreading your germs to others will be most appreciated.
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Whether you are going someplace nearby or far away, make sure you travel safely. Wear your seat belt. If you’ve been drinking or using marijuana or other drugs, don’t drive. Use a designated driver or arrange for someone to drive you.
I hope that the end of 2016 and the beginning of the new year is both a happy and healthy time for you and your loved ones. Wishing you the very best in 2017!
Reach Dr. Rachel C. Wood, health officer for Thurston and Lewis counties, at 360-867-2501, firstname.lastname@example.org.