Howie’s Healthy Holiday Hints

This new subtle but significant list brings together highlights of several offerings on the web. These tips can help you feel good all year round.

Keep the perspective that this is a season of many emotions and of sharing, where you can have mixed feelings and express them, reach out for help or to help, be realistic about traditions changing, stick to a budget, say “no” if that is what you believe is true.

Consider yoga to help balance your mind, body and spirit. You can explore ways to breathe and relax, turn your focus inward, tune out some of life’s noise and move in a gentle way that honors your body. Be true to yourself by first observing without judgment what you are feeling and not immediately reacting. And remember to breathe. This may help you enjoy people and events more.

Set goals that are attainable. If you have some event to organize or gifts to acquire, create a calendar for 4-6 weeks out. Planning can help make a process fun and inviting to others. Then make a checklist for a week away and then the day before to help ease into your event.

Family and social time invites child safety awareness. This can range from breakables to consumables. Be clear if children are welcome to events. If hosting, have healthy child food options.

If you are returning to a stressful location, bring some positive piece of home with you. This can help ground you as to where you currently live. Set up in advance someone to share and bounce your feeling off of. People do not readily change; keep expectations of this to a minimum.

Regular exercise is essential to keep from gaining weight. It is also helpful in maintaining a calm head and a happy heart. A regular pattern of activity, whether it is 15 minutes or more prolonged exercise, can create better tolerance for the stressors.

Drink water about 1 hour before social events. It has been found that dehydration can mimic hunger. Also, have a light snack before a gathering. This can help your body to better manage alcohol as well as your appetite.

Alcohol can disrupt your sleep. Having multiple drinks to ensure a night’s sleep disrupts your body’s natural mechanisms. The result of irregular sleep patterns can lead to low blood sugar, dehydration and bad moods.

Avoid making food the center of attention. Use a small plate. Don’t loiter near the food. Use the “Rule of One” when selecting food. If you eat some trashy food, forgive yourself and only have one piece.

Explore what are now called “Super Foods”. These foods fight infection, enhance the immune system and fight disease. The good news is there are lots of them, and are listed online. One curious comment from Dr. Oz , a syndicated consultant, was that he prefers Vitamin D to C in fighting off infection. Other foods to consider that help the immune system are green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, probiotics, the element Zinc, vitamin C, elderberry extract and glutathione.

If you haven’t done so already, get your flu shot and physical exam. Wash hands to prevent the spread of germs. Wear a seatbelt. Donate to charity.