We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year. It was the first time we had more than three people in our home for the holidays. In fact, we jumped from single digits and landed right in the middle of a full on double family holiday with 21 people. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do all of the cooking, as everybody brought a side dish, drink or dessert. But I DID have to deal with all of the stress of planning, cleaning and preparing the turkey and other dishes I promised to cook. It was a great day with delicious food and great company and the rest of the weekend was filled with just as much excitement including birthday parties, visiting with old friends and drinking. By the time Sunday rolled around my body began to relax, which unfortunately meant a sore throat.
By Monday afternoon I had the chills, a headache, an even worse sore throat and swore I had the flu. Fortunately those symptoms only lasted one day, except for the sore throat which only recently went away. I rarely get sick so every time it happens I am surprised and I spend my time trying to figure out how it happened. Was Isla sick? Somebody from Thanksgiving? The birthday party? Maybe, but more likely than not it was the stress of the long weekend and drinking and eating more than I usually do.
As we forge ahead into December and closer to Christmas I’m sure most of you are staying up later than usual buying presents, eating way too many sugary treats and drinking more cocktails than you have all year. In between all of the holiday festivities is the stress of getting all of your shopping done, preparing your meal, traveling and seeing family. All of that can lead to a worn out and tired body and eventually a cold or even the flu. And there’s nothing worse than being sick around the holidays so let’s prepare ourselves and put our best defense forward so we can celebrate this magical time of year sans the red, runny nose.
Here are a few of the tips and tricks to stay happy and healthy all December long:
Go To Bed NOW! – Over Thanksgiving break I heard somebody say, “After you have kids you never sleep the same again.” Um, yes. I’d say that’s very accurate. And on top of just not sleeping the same because you just don’t anymore, you’re staying up later and later to spend time with your husband, work, clean, do laundry, shop online or whatever else you have to do to prepare for the next day or week. Throw Christmas planning, shopping and traveling on top of that and you’re barely getting any shut eye. There is just no time, right? Sure, but you have to make time. Sleep is so essential to everything we do in our day. It helps with learning and memory, metabolism and weight, your mood, cardiovascular health, and shocker – helps prevent disease. So how much should you be getting? At least 6 hours every single night. At least! So go to sleep. Whatever you’re doing can wait. It has to for your health.
Everything in Moderation – I cringe as I write this because it has got to be one of the most annoying things to hear. Ever. But it’s true. It’s such a simple idea and one that would seem so easy to follow but we all know it’s not. And when it comes to holiday treats and drinks not even the healthiest of us follow it.
I totally believe that you have to indulge once in a while or you’ll go crazy. And the holidays are definitely a great time to let down your hair and go for that second drink. But here’s where self-control comes into play. I usually lose the battle with myself when it comes to overindulging around this time of year. And when I do I never feel good afterwards. That’s because if you’re not used to eating the typical holiday fare, and even if you are we 100% over do it around this time of year.
When you consume a large quantity of carbohydrates you may feel satisfied at first but eventually you’ll feel tired and lethargic and maybe even agitated and hung over. You don’t have time to deal with any of that this season so if you have an upcoming holiday party I recommend you go ahead and have a taste of the sweets, enjoy a drink, maybe even two (try to avoid the sugary cocktails) and then seek out the veggie tray (again I know this is annoying to hear, especially during December, but it’s definitely helpful and you’ll be glad you switched to greens the next day when you don’t feel sick) and order a tall glass of water. Which leads me to my next point.
Stay Hydrated – When I don’t get enough water I get headaches, really, really bad almost migraine-like headaches, which makes me weak and tired and not wanting to hang out with anybody. Your body is composed of about 60% water and everyday you lose a great deal of that through sweat, breathing and urinating so you constantly need to be replenishing your water stores.
Water does a slew of healthy things for your body, one being cleansing your body of toxins and keeping you healthy. Plus, it makes your skin look amazing, and who doesn’t want naturally glowing skin? Alcohol causes excess excretion of fluids and can lead to dehydration, so again watch the drinks and make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day. How much? Well, the answer isn’t as easy as you may have thought. The 8 cups rule that you’re probably familiar with may not be as accurate as believed but it’s still a good rule of thumb to ensure you’re getting enough. The best way to tell is, sorry to say, by your pee! If it’s colorless and odorless you’re good!
Remember, Rudolph has the red nose this season, not you!