The holiday season brings plenty of festivities and fun. Yet with packed schedules full of celebrations, it’s easy to lose track of wellness. (That the holidays coincide with flu season can make it all the more challenging!) Check out our Holiday Wellness Guide for tips so you can feel your best, stay healthy and enjoy the season with family and friends.
Eat for wellness (even on holidays)
Holiday gatherings are filled with delicious foods and sweet treats. While you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite dishes, try not to overdo it on the comfort foods. Eating healthy is all about balance.
Tip: Try not to show up starving to get-togethers or you may be more likely to overeat. Have a healthy snack before you go and remember to get your fill of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you need help with meal planning, get personalized advice and diet plans from Amwell online nutritionists.
Keep consistent sleep habits
Feeling sluggish? You may be getting too much or too little sleep. While it is tempting to sleep in when you have a surplus of free time or stay up late wrapping gifts when you don’t — it’s important to keep a consistent schedule for quality z’s.
Tip: Try meditation or slow muscle relaxation to fall asleep faster. Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day, including weekends and holidays!
Wash hands often
Washing your hands often not only helps prevent you from getting sick, but also helps others by stopping the spread of germs.
Tip: Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Help out your children by modeling proper handwashing. If you do come down with an illness, Amwell doctors are here 24/7, even on holidays.
Care for your community
It’s a great time of year to get involved in local holiday events. Whether it’s volunteering at a nearby nonprofit or running a 5K in your town, spending time with others can help you get in and stay in the holiday spirit.
Tip: Many towns can use extra food pantry donations around the holidays. Consider giving if you can!
Practice food safety
Keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illnesses this holiday season. Wash hands and surfaces often and avoid any cross-contamination of raw meat, eggs, seafood and poultry.
Tip: Use a thermometer to cook foods to the proper temperatures and refrigerate dishes promptly. Try not to leave perishable foods out for more than 2 hours.
Follow fire and home safety precaution
More home fires occur during the winter. Be careful using candles and double-check that your stove and oven are turned off after use.
Tip: If you light candles during the holidays or turn on many festive lights, make it a habit to turn everything off before you go to sleep.
Sticking to your exercise schedule during the holidays can help keep your immune system strong. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 2.5 to 5 hours a week of moderate-intensity activity (brisk walking, recreational swimming or bicycling) or 1.15 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running, cycling, high-intensity interval training).
Tip: Work up to these guidelines gradually or put them down as a New Year’s resolution. Plan ahead to reach your goals and track your activity to keep yourself accountable. A nice brisk morning walk even on holidays can be a great way to start the day!
Get in the holiday spirit
The holidays are all about family and friends. Take the time to enjoy the celebrations. Plus, getting together with those you care about is an easy mood booster to fend off any winter blues.
Tip: Enjoy local festivities or invite friends over for New Year’s Eve.
Never drink and drive
This one’s important to keep in mind all year round but the holiday season, in particular, has more drunk driving accidents. On average, 300 people die in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Tip: Carpool, ride-share, taxi — there are plenty of options. Plan ahead and watch out for others. Call emergency services if you notice someone driving irrationally on the road.
Dress for the weather
If you live where it’s cold, dressing for the weather will help keep you healthy and ready to fight against any viruses that come your way.
Tip: Wear loose layers of warm clothing like shirts and sweaters so you’re prepared for cold weather. And remember to wear sunscreen on any exposed areas, even in winter!
Stay up to date on vaccinations
Did you get your flu shot? It’s not too late! Getting a flu shot can help protect you from the most common strains of flu and help protect any children or elderly you’re around.
Tip: The flu shot can reduce your risk of flu illness up to 40-60% when the viruses are well-matched to the season’s vaccine.
Keep an eye on the kids
Holidays are a great time for catching up with friends and family. That said, it’s easy to get distracted and let your child wander off. Keep an eye on your children when they’re playing and eating so they stay safe.
Tip: Kids are at high risk for injuries. Around the holidays, watch out for choking hazards, household items, or potentially dangerous new toys.
Watch out for winter blues
Holidays bring up different kinds of emotions for people. Try to talk through your feelings with those you care about or reach out to a therapist. Amwell doctors are online every day so you can have a video visit whenever it is convenient for you.
Tip: Ward off the winter blues by making time for the activities you enjoy.
Use take-home containers
Going out to eat or dining at a relative’s? Using take-out containers for surplus food can help you out when there are many delicious dishes to try.
Tips: If you’re hosting, you can consider giving your guests options. They can take home leftovers to enjoy treats later without overeating. Plus, out of sight, out of mind works well when it comes to overindulging on comfort foods just because they’re in the house.
Keep stress under control
Holidays can be joyous and...stressful. Try to keep everything in perspective when it comes to your to-do list. Take a step back and be realistic about what can and can’t get done in one day.
Tip: Ask for help when you need it! Get support from family and friends, and give it to others when you’re able to do so.
Stay mindful and be present
Take a deep breath and try to stay in the moment this holiday season. It’s easy to get sidetracked with planning and logistics during hectic times, but remember to enjoy the holidays. Before you know it, it will be the new year!
Tip: If you’re hosting, try to make some holiday meals ahead of time so you have more time the day-of to enjoy time with others.
Give gifts that keep giving
Buying gifts for family and friends? Consider buying a present that will keep giving all year round. Whether it’s exercise classes, a gym membership or a pair of sneakers, giving gifts that encourage wellness can help you share a healthy lifestyle with others.
Tip: While you’re at it, tell them about Amwell for when they need a doctor’s medical advice on-the-go!
Fasten seat belts
If you’re rushing off to a holiday event or packing up the car with food and gifts, try not to let safety take a backseat. Remember to buckle up whether you’re driving or riding.
Tip: Make sure your children are buckled up in safety seats, booster seats or with seatbelts appropriate for their height, weight and age.
Try out new recipes
If the desserts and comfort foods are piling up, try out some new healthy recipes. Cooking can be a fun way to get the whole family involved.
Tip: Some quick and easy substitutions for healthier options include swapping butter or oil for applesauce and using non-fat milk or light dairy over the full-fat versions.
Rest (if you do get sick)
The holidays are hectic. Whether it’s New Year’s Eve or the day of a family party, take time to lay low if you do catch a bug. Pushing yourself to stay out when you’re sick will not only spread germs but can also slow down your recovery time.
Tip: Take it easy or stay home if you don’t feel well enough to attend gatherings.
Try out some of these tips so you can stay healthy over the holidays. And if you do find yourself feeling less than merry, tap into care in minutes on Amwell. We’re here for you 24/7 so you can get back to the festivities faster.