The Holidays or a great time of year for many different reasons. The people, the food, the presents, the change of pace, and the time for reflect on what you are thankful for. However, habits are often broken during the holiday season. This can be because of travel, because of guests in the house (because of course your relatives want to come to Florida in December), or simply because of a change in schedule.
Health habits are no exception to this and are often disrupted during the Christmas and New Year’s time. With these two holidays only being a week apart, it is often hard to convince yourself to get back on track right after Christmas when New Year’s is just around the corner. It can be easy to turn mid December through early January into a 2 week stretch where your eating, exercise, and even sleeping habits can take a hit.
We understand your normal habits are going to be broken but we want to offer you some easy tips to at least not get too far off track during the extended break that is about to occur. Below are 3 easy habits to maintain during the holidays to at least somewhat maintain a healthy routine.
Eat Your Fruits & Veggies Daily
Though we may not go quite as hard for Christmas and New Year’s as we do for Thanksgiving, we are still eat poorly over this time period and we probably eating poorly for many more days than we do for Thanksgiving. We recommend eating two fruits and two vegetables each day over the upcoming holiday break.
Of course, this does not mean that you are eating “healthy” as you could still eat poorly the rest of the day but at least you are getting some nutrient rich foods that you might not if you didn’t have a little guidance. Fruits and veggies contain many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that most traditional holiday foods do not have. Most holiday foods and desserts end up being full of calories and low in nutrients. By eating some fruits and veggies each day, you will still get nutrients that your body needs before pigging out on holiday foods.
Pick whatever fruits and veggies you want during this holiday season. We are not telling you to eat 2 servings of fruits and veggies but simply to eat different fruits and veggies over the holiday season. The top nutrition experts recommend 8-10 servings of fruits/veggies daily. Don’t worry about this over the holidays, but this can be a goal for the New Year!
If You Don’t Exercise, Walk or Stretch
You may or may not have a typical exercise routine that could including running, lifting weight, and exercise class, or playing a sport. If you are not able to have a consistent exercise routine over the holidays, there are a couple solutions that are much better than doing nothing.
The first is simply walking. Walking for at least 20 minutes daily will help you burn off calories from the holiday food, give you energy, and give you some good time outdoors. If you go during the middle of the day, you will likely get some vitamin D from the sunlight as the weather in the Saint Johns area looks fantastic over the holidays. You could also bring along your friends and family and make this a social event and a great way for the whole family to get some exercise and improve your mood!
The second is a 20 minute stretching routine. If you are not exercising over the holidays, then it is likely that you are in a lot of repetitive or prolonged postures like sitting or standing for long periods of time. A brief mobility or stretching routine is a chance to give your joints and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves) some different movements and stretch them in ways that they are used to. This will make your body feel much better than if simply decided not to do any activity over the holidays.
Don't Get Too Far Behind On Sleep
There are several reasons that we could get behind on sleep during the holidays. We could be staying up later with friends and family, we could have late night traveling or parties to attend, or we could be getting up in the middle of the night to lay out some presents next to the tree or fireplace…
No matter what your reason is, we understand that a sleep schedule is going to be altered to a certain extent during the holidays. Remember that you should be celebrating and enjoying the holiday season and sometimes that means a few late nights! But several nights of poor sleep in a row can be a drain on your body, your brain, and your energy levels. This is why we recommend not going two consecutive nights with less than 7 hours of sleep.
We typically want our patients to sleep between 7-9 hours every night but we know the holidays can might that impossible for some people. However if we avoid consecutive nights of bad sleep, that can help keep our energy levels and moods up!
Overall, we should remember to enjoy the holidays and make the most of this season! However, if we can keep a decent health routine, then our bodies will be in a much better position both during and after the holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Helping You Reach Your New Year’s Goals
If you know someone in the Saint Johns, Florida area (Durbin Crossing, Aberdeen, Rivertown, Julington Creek Plantation, Silverleaf) who is not able to live the active lifestyle that they want because of an injury or pain and could benefit from our thorough approach and comprehensive care, please share this post with them or send them our way!
We are conveniently located in between CR 210 and Race Track Road, near where St. Johns Parkway and Longleaf Pine intersect! Right across the street from Patriot Oaks Academy in the 32259 zip code!