How to reinvent your holiday season in a heart-healthy way
Whilst the pandemic has forced us to rethink traditional holiday plans, the fundamentals remain the same. It’s the season to eat, drink and be merry, but with social restrictions in place, can we use this time to establish some new, healthier traditions?
Eat your heart out in a heart-healthy way
’Tis the season to indulge, but it’s important to stay mindful of the way you nourish your body through the holiday season. With more time spent at home, this could be the perfect opportunity to try a healthy twist on your holiday specials. Focus on vegetables and lean protein such as poultry and fish. Opt for recipes with less cream and sugar, and if you simply can’t kick the sweet tooth, try dark chocolate alternatives to your favorite holiday treats.
Whilst excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a number of serious health conditions, for most of us the holiday period is not complete without a festive cocktail or two. If you do opt for an alcoholic beverage, go for the less sugary choice and have a drink of water in-between.
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to neglect your hydration needs through the holiday season. Our body uses water to maintain its daily bodily functions, including pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day. Staying hydrated at this time of the year is as important as ever to keep your health in top shape. Dehydration can also lead to fatigue so if you’re experiencing a case of the holiday blues this year, make sure to keep your water intake in check.
Don’t forget to move
With our social calendars being slightly more restricted this year, use your spare time to engage in regular physical activity in-between festivities. With more focus on at-home activities, it’s more important than ever to get up on your feet and get the blood pumping. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This could be something as simple as a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Engaging in physical activity will also help you release any unwanted tension and stress, and let’s face it, this year has not been the breeziest of all.
Put your mental well-being first
The holiday period can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. Make time for yourself, indulge in some self-care and always put your emotional well-being first. If you are unable to see your family or loved ones, organize video calls or host a virtual holiday party from the safety of your home. Don’t forget that confiding in others can often also offer a powerful emotional release.
Don’t let your health monitoring routines slip
It’s easy to get distracted in the hustle and bustle of the holiday period. If you are managing a health condition, don’t forget to stay on track with your medication and health monitoring plan. Keep on top of your blood pressure by performing regular checks, and most importantly check in with your physical and emotional well-being every single day.
Don’t forget that the holiday season can also be a time to simply relax and unwind. Enjoy the downtime, whether it’s by yourself or with your loved ones, because it truly can be the most wonderful time of the year.
Harvard Health Publishing
The American Heart Association
Mental Health America