SAN DIEGO — The holidays can be a joyful and stressful time of year, filled with gatherings and celebrations with family, friends and food. But that indulging can also take a toll on your health. Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Heidi Meyer joins our Laura Cavanaugh with tips to protect yourself while enjoying the season.
The last gift anyone wants to give or receive this season is the flu.
“We are getting into that time of year where respiratory viruses peak. This year is probably going to be worse than most,” said Meyer.
First, make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations. The annual flu shot is more important than ever. It can prevent you from getting the flu, but also giving the flu to others, especially the vulnerable.
Practical precautions– things like washing your hands and staying home when you’re not feeling well still apply.
With ample opportunities to eat, drink and be merry, the holiday season can hijack your wellness routine. But there are ways to celebrate and savor the season without sabotaging your health goals.
Meyer says the best gameplan is to exercise regularly 30 minutes a day five or more days a week. She also recommends eating regularly scheduled meals and limiting empty calories.
“If you do have to go to a gathering where you know there’s going to be lots of yummy treats available, don’t go to them hungry,” said Meyer. “Get plenty of water the day that you’re going. Choose non-alcoholic beverages while you’re there.”
For many, this time of year can also trigger feelings of sadness and higher levels of depression. Seasonal depression is a huge issue for many Americans. One of the things you can do to beat the holiday blues is to get enough sleep. Eight hours of sleep a night can really improve your mood. When you exercise regularly, your brain releases mood-lifting chemicals that fight off depression. Limit alcohol. Spend time with loved ones and connect with people who lift your spirits. For anyone who is struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, help is available. Contact your doctor for help.
To learn more about how to stay healthy this holiday season, visit www.kp.org/sandiego
Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente