Thursday, December 8, 2016

Healthy Holidays: Self-care over the holiday season

By Anna Rhoads, Education & Outreach Program Assistant

The holidays are upon us. This time of year can feel as if we have a million things on our to-do lists. By making self-care a priority on your holiday to-do list, you can feel less overwhelmed by the holidays. When you take good care of yourself you are less likely to become sick and can have more energy to be with your loved ones.

I always feel my best after a good workout. Exercise doesn’t need to feel like a chore if you have a fun fitness routine. Take a walk or bike ride on the Chehalis Western Trail, shake off stress at a Zumba class (many gyms offer Zumba and other cardio-based dance classes), or do a half an hour of gentle yoga in your living room (you can find hundreds of free yoga videos on YouTube). Have family visiting for the holidays? Have them join in on the fun by organizing a game of touch football or Capture the Flag in the backyard. You’ll create a new holiday tradition and get a workout in!

Eat well and drink in moderation
As a self proclaimed foodie, it’s not surprising that food is one of my favorite parts about the holidays. It is easy to indulge in all the classics (any garlic mashed potato lovers out there?) and to pile a plate with sweet treats for dessert. Remember to indulge in moderation. If you are going to a holiday potluck, bring a healthy dish to share. Be aware of liquid calories in holiday drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Eating food that is healthy and nutrient rich can help you have more energy to go do things with family and friends.

Volunteer in the community
Giving back to an organization or cause that you care about can improve your mood and lift your spirits. There are many organizations that would love volunteers during and after the holiday season. Check out to find a local volunteer program that is a good fit for you. In fact, Thurston County  Healthy Homes Program is seeking volunteers to start after the New Year.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Have a million and one things you need accomplish before the in-laws arrive tomorrow? Are you in charge of cooking Christmas dinner and have guests coming with a multitude of dietary restrictions? One of the best ways to handle stressful scenarios is to ask for help. Delegate household chores to family and ask guests to bring a holiday dish to share at dinner. With a team of helpers, you will likely feel less stressed about what you need to get done. Remember that everything doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s a time for fun and togetherness! 

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