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How to Maintain Healthy Habits During the Holidays

While the holidays are often the time of year for joy and family gatherings, they’re also when healthy decisions tend to go on vacation. This can be the result of stress, travel plans, busy end-of-the-year work schedules, juggling kids, consuming more alcohol at parties, coping with seasonal affective disorder or depression, as well as a host of other potential factors. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick checklist of healthy habits during the holidays to keep in mind, and suggestions for how to maintain them.

(Brief) Exercise Routine

We know trying to cram in a cardio workout may not be in the cards, but even a brief five-minute walk can help you stay active, reduce stress, boost your mood, and — depending on the weather — get you more vitamin D. Doing this a few times throughout the day, says Johnson & Johnson, has been shown to “[counter] fatigue and cut food cravings more than a single 30-minute exercise session.”

Stuck with desk work around the holidays? Here are some self-care tips you can use to stay limber and reduce fatigue.

Snacks

Will power can certainly meet its match when it comes to treats at holiday meals, particularly when sharing time with friends and family who are also indulging. Instead of reaching for those, try to plan healthy-eating fallback foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These less sugary options will make you feel full sooner and for longer, and help you avoid additional calories at that.

Stress Management

Holiday travel in 2022 is expected to exceed last year’s numbers, in spite of increases in both fuel prices and flight cancellations, notes Travel + Leisure. That can lead to a lot of headaches, both from highway congestion and airport layovers. While one alternative is to spend this time at home, you could also plan your trip on days that aren’t statistically the busiest, or even on the same day as the holiday itself (e.g., Christmas). 

No matter what day you choose to start your trip, how you travel, or when you finally arrive, we suggest trying out the additional recommendations the Mayo Clinic has on how to alleviate those high-stress moments: make time to get adequate rest, try deep-breathing exercises or yoga, refrain from too many alcoholic beverages, and avoid information overload (e.g., stop scrolling the news on your phone — again).

Communicable Disease

High travel areas can also lead to the spread of disease. RSV and flu experienced higher-than-normal case counts early this season, and there are still the latest COVID-19 variants to be mindful of. With such a surge in illnesses, it’s more important than ever to take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe, including getting vaccinated, wearing masks when appropriate, and minimizing time in large groups. For further information concerning how to stay protected, we recommend visiting the CDC’s website.

Sleep

We mentioned it above, but it’s important to reiterate: a full night’s rest is essential for your well-being. While a lack of sleep is already an issue for many people outside of the holidays, it can be particularly difficult to maintain a healthy sleep schedule when you’re dealing with travel and family gatherings. Seven to eight hours is still the recommended range per night. To stay on track, it’s a good idea to limit your alcohol consumption, as too much of it can affect sleep cycles, leave you feeling more tired, and prompt you to eat foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Telephone Nurse Triage

While we wouldn’t wish this for you or those you know, there will be many people who will need emergency services or have health-related questions during the holidays. That’s why triage nurses can be critical to patient wellness, as they can evaluate symptoms over the phone and advise those patients on which type of healthcare providers they should see. This can ensure that those who need immediate care know to go to the ER, and vice versa. Nurse triage services have consistently demonstrated better health outcomes and reduced provider costs.

Are There Healthy Habits We Missed?

Do you have any go-to healthy habits during the holidays that we should have mentioned? Let us know! Plus, if you’re looking for ways to improve your organization’s ability to manage patient phone calls, we can share the latest solutions for triage protocols, nurse triage software, outsourced nurse triage, and more. You can learn about them on our website, or contact us to discuss a program. 

Most importantly, we hope you and your team have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

About TriageLogic

TriageLogic is a URAC-accredited, physician-led provider of top-quality nurse telehealth technology, remote patient monitoring, and medical call center solutions. Founded in 2007, the TriageLogic Group now serves more than 12,000 physicians and covers over 25 million lives nationwide.

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