The holidays are fast approaching! This season has many meanings to many different people. Some may hate the season, while some see it as a magical smorgasbord of food, fun, and family. However, a common sentiment is excitement with latent dread for the stress – and weight gain – that the season entails. With some proper planning and willpower, you can have your pecan pie and eat it too. Take a look at some key tips to keep in mind so that your mind and body can stay as healthy as they are the rest of the year. 

You and Food Can Peacefully Coexist
Let’s not lie to ourselves: the holidays typically involve us gathering around with our loved ones, sitting or lying around, and eating. There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as we’re focused on maintaining balance. There are little ways each day that you can avoid the food coma and combat holiday weight gain.

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • A full plate is totally acceptable every once in a while – just make sure you’re including the healthy items too. Don’t pass on the green stuff (and no, we don’t mean your aunt’s creamy, decadent green bean casserole). 
  • Going to a potluck? Bring a healthier dish. See some healthy holiday recipes here, or get creative if you’re a wizard in the kitchen.
  • Before heading to a big dinner, eat a light, healthy snack like fruit or raw veggies to help curb your appetite.
  • Don’t skip meals. It’s just not good for you. Plus, it can often backfire and send your brain into starvation mode, potentially causing you to binge unnecessarily.
  • Move your body! Make room in your schedule for a full workout or a 10-minute walk around the block. Rally your family and friends for a friendly game of soccer or flag football.
  • Newsflash: the vast majority of us overeat during the holidays. Don’t be hard on yourself if you indulge. Instead, be proactive: eat lighter for the next meal.

Take Time to Care for YOU!
The tricky thing about the holidays is it all happens so fast that many of us don’t have time to recognize and tend to how stressed we are. From balancing work and life, to organizing events and managing conflicts, to the financial stress of gifts – we’ve all felt it.

Take the time to stop and ask yourself how you’re feeling. If you’re just not in the mood to go to a gathering, don’t make the commitment. If you need to cut back on gifts for the sake of your financial – and mental – wellbeing, set a tighter budget. You won’t be able to truly help others until you take care of yourself first.

Be Aware and Helpful to Others
Did you know that giving is good for our health, both mentally and physically? From lowering our blood pressure to boosting our self-esteem and creating a warm glow of happiness, scientific studies have proven that it’s all-around good to give, whether you’re giving a gift or giving someone a shoulder to cry on. Sadly, the holidays are not a joyous time for everyone. Statistics say that depression and suicide tend to increase during this time of year. Do your part by being responsive to any signs of depression in your family, friends, and community. 

Taking Action

Know of someone who will be alone for Thanksgiving dinner? Invite them to your place. Want to make a difference on a larger scale? Volunteer. See Volunteer Match for some great volunteering opportunities near you. If you’re one of the people who finds themselves down this season, we urge you to reach out for help, either from your personal support system or a professional. See some mental health resources to find the help you need.

Safety First When Traveling
The holiday travel struggle is real. This even applies if you’re staying local! It’s critical to give yourself enough time. Whether on foot, in your vehicle, or on public transportation, rushing can be an open invitation to injury. Keep an eye out for traffic and weather updates, and give yourself time to move at a normal pace. If you’re leaving home, don’t forget to bring any medications or medical supplies you need. Keep your doctor’s contact info handy, and know how to get to the closest ER or medical facility in case of emergency. If you’re in the Bay Area of California, see if one of our four locations is close to you.

From our family to yours, Direct Urgent Care wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!