This Holiday Season Is a Great Time to Focus on Health
The best ways to prevent most chronic diseases are to eat healthy, be physically active, and avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol use. The holidays can make it hard to stick to these healthy practices or start new ones. But with a little planning, you can approach the busiest time of the year with some strategies to stay on track.
Start some new traditions.
Holiday gatherings are a wonderful time to revisit traditional and cultural foods. Maybe this is the year you can try some healthy recipes and offer a healthier version of an old favorite—or even something different that becomes a new tradition.
Raising a glass? Pour something other than sugary drinks or alcohol. These tricks can help you come up with healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. If you drink alcohol, learn why drinking less matters for your immediate safety and long-term health. Choose not to drink, or drink in moderation by limiting yourself to one drink a day if you’re a woman—two if you’re a man—on the days that you drink.
Call time-out for some time out.
With cooler weather, travel, and disruptions in routine, it can be tough to stay active. Learn how to make time for physical activity when life gets in the way. And make it a group effort! Halftime is the perfect time to pull the crew off the couch and out the door for a walk.
Commit to quit.
It’s never too late to quit smoking, and your family and friends can help. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits and can also protect the health of your loved ones. Learn how to get support to quit for good.
Learn your family health history.
If you have a family history of a chronic disease—like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis—you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself. Family gatherings offer a chance to find out details that you can share with your doctor. You can use My Family Health Portrait to record these details.
Don’t forget your well-being.
Sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Adults need at least 7 hours every day. If you are struggling to get the rest you need this holiday season, check out these tips for better sleep.
Learning to cope with stress in healthy ways can make other healthy choices easier. For stress relief, take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, or do an activity you enjoy, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Talk with people you trust about how you’re feeling, and write down the things you are grateful for. These coping tips can help—over the holidays and all year long.