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How to Get Through the Holiday Season Healthy (and Sane)

By Dr. Molly Casey

Getting Through the Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again -- and what a year it has been. The holidays are at our doorstep. Some feel like they have things to celebrate but others don’t. There is a lot in-between. This time of year, many people tend to fall off the rails in regard to routine and health, so this may be an especially difficult holiday season. Here are a few tips -- physical and mental -- as you go into the year of quarantine holiday season.

Keep It Simple

Simple is not always the easiest. However, I find that it’s almost always the best in nearly everything. The truth is that a lot of holiday parties and traditions will likely be cancelled, just as other events throughout this year have been canceled. So right there it is: your schedule is likely to be lighter than in years past. But don’t let that fool you; you still need to create a structure and try to stick to it.

Stick With the Basics

When it comes to your health, it boils down to the physical and the mental. Both are important if you want to get through the holiday season unscathed.

Physical

Remember the most important components of health. First, your body’s communication system -- without it, you don’t exist. Your body functions because of the nervous system. Your brain speaks to the rest of the body through the spinal cord and miles of nerves. Get your chiropractic adjustments to assure that your nervous system has the best opportunity to function without interference from the spine.

Second, get good clean water and drink half your body weight in ounces daily. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water daily. It’s common that alcohol, caffeine and junk food consumption go up during the holiday season, but so should your water intake. For every glass of alcohol, have an extra glass of water -- same goes for caffeine.

Third, move your body in any way possible and as frequently as possible. Keep your gym and workout routines. In addition, go for walks after dinner or in the afternoon. As kids have breaks from school, go to the park. Throw in a family backyard game of tag. We eat more, we drink more, we work more from home, and we have more sedentary time than ever before with the quarantine; we must actively pursue more movement than ever before. Movement is life.

Fourth, allow yourself some leeway with choices in food and drink. Set out a plan before your holiday parties or gatherings and stick to it. If going to a gathering, eat a light healthy snack prior so that you don’t overeat while there. If you are going to drink, cap the number you will have so you don’t get drunk and then spiral from there with food and more booze. A game plan beforehand helps maintain some structure and adherence to physical goals.

Mental

Every athlete knows there’s more to the game than just the physical part; there’s a mental part too. It’s no different here as you try to make it through the holiday season without getting burned.

Staying sane - Let’s be honest, for many this may precede the physical goals and that is OK. What keeps you sane is likely different than what keeps the next person sane. So know what keeps you sane. If being fully rested is your thing, make sure to get a good night’s sleep or take a nap before the evening gathering. If being hungry is your nemesis, make sure you’re content prior to arriving for your dinner party so if it’s being served late, you’re not losing your mind and your patience. If exercise is what keeps your anxiety down, make sure it is done first thing no matter what. Know what keeps you sane and do those things.

Patience - This can’t be understated. The truth is that holidays are a really hard time for many people regardless of what they say about it. This has been a year like no other, so having more patience may be the key to your sanity and enjoyment this holiday season. Ironically, many feel as if they’ve fully run out of patience because of the year’s events. My recommendation is to find more patience: let the stranger go in front of you in the line, dismiss it when someone cuts you off in traffic, and don’t take everything so personally. Find a million other ways to practice that muscle of patience -- you’ll be happier for it.

Gratitude - Find what you can to be grateful for and embrace it. Maybe it’s that the holiday schedule will be far less full. Maybe it’s that your family is healthy. Maybe it’s that you’ve spent extra time with your family experiencing milestones you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Whatever it is -- even if it’s for finding the strength to make it this far in the pandemic -- find the gratitude and own it.

Happy holidays depend largely on our perception and how we move through them. Keep it simple and stay physically balanced with chiropractic adjustments, proper water intake, increased movement, and a game plan for food and booze. Mentally, keep yourself on track by knowing what keeps you sane and engaging with those practices, and being patient and grateful!

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