Tips to stay healthy during the holidays

The holidays are one of those times during the year when you really want to feel your best. But there are many health problems such as colds and the flu to party hangovers that can bring down your holiday cheer. Besides getting the flu vaccine, there is a lot you can do to help your body conquer the season.

The holiday season often times means frequent travel for many people. So, before you settle in for your flight, train or even bus ride, run a disinfecting wipe over the armrests, the tray table, air vent and seatbelt buckle and let everything air-dry. It may seem extensive, but cleaning anything you might touch is just a precaution so you don’t pick up any germs from those that sat there before you. It is also important to stay hydrated during these colder months. Our airways are vulnerable to viruses and bacteria when dry, so we need to keep those mucous membranes moist so they can keep bugs out of our systems better.

As hard as it may be during the holidays when there are sweets galore, say no to treats. While strolling around the mall shopping we often say, “I deserve a treat!” thinking that we’ve worked off a lot of calories. In reality, that Cinnabon or pretzel may cause you more harm than pleasure in the long run. If you must snack while out, try packing healthy snacks in your bag to fight temptation. A piece of fruit, low-fat string cheese, almonds or other nuts or a granola bar are great options when you’re in the need for a pick-me-up.

As New Yorkers we are constantly moving, and the holiday season makes no difference. But if you run yourself ragged and don’t get a good night’s rest, you risk the chance of getting sick. When you don’t sleep enough  you wear your body out to the point that it can’t fight against whatever nasty virus or bug you happen to catch. You won’t be called the Grinch if you skip that holiday party because you feel worn-down; you’re just being smart. Try getting at least eight hours of sleep a night and you’ll be less likely to catch a cold than those of your peers who will have slept less than you.

Now there’s going to be food galore this holiday so I’m not telling you to pass on that tasty cheese spread, but if you’re feeling like you had one too many helpings, next time try popping a piece of gum for 15 minutes before hitting the buffet or dinner party. Chewing the gum will trick your brain into thinking you are eating, so that you actually eat less. A mint will do the trick as well.

Last but not least comes the alcohol. Wine, eggnog, champagne. When you’re at a party, try to limit yourself to two drinks, and alternate them with glasses of water to prevent a nasty hangover the next morning. Also remember to eat before drinking and never drink and drive.

Now that you know how to be healthy this holiday season, enjoy yourself and the time with your loved ones.