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Staying Healthy Over the Holiday Season

December 8, 2015

The holiday season is a happy time of year for most seniors, but it can also be very stressful. People are running themselves ragged to get ready for holiday gatherings and trips, and they’re probably around crowds more often than during any other time of the year. On top of that, the weather is colder - sometimes dangerously so. With all that in mind, it’s really no wonder why people tend to get sick during November and December.

 The holidays are something that everyone should have a chance to enjoy, and that is practically impossible if you’re feeling sick and miserable. Fortunately, staying healthy over the holidays isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be. All it takes is some self-care and awareness of your own body. Following these simple tips can help as well.

Try to Make Healthy Food Choices

The holidays seem like the time to load up on fattening cookies and pie, and while that might be fun you need to maintain some balance by eating healthier foods as well. This is considerably easier when you're in charge of the food choices; just prepare a healthier and more balanced meal if it falls on you to cook Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. If you have the chance to bring food to a potluck dinner or a party, consider a vegetable tray or something similarly healthy instead of a plate of cookies. 

Of course, this isn't to say that there isn't a place for cookies and other desserts. You should by all means enjoy those if you can, but make sure to pace yourself and go easy on them. It takes a few minutes for you to feel full after eating something, and that can make it very easy to overeat. So consider waiting 10 minutes after dinner before you decide to get a second helping or dessert.

Stay Active

Staying active is more difficult for seniors, especially during the holiday season when the weather isn't always ideal, but it is one of the best ways to stay healthy. You don't need to hit the gym or go for a bike ride every day; if all you can manage is a pleasant walk around your block, that's enough. To really get the most out of your walks and limit any weight gain you might experience, try taking a walk after a heavy meal. That will help keep the carbohydrates you've consumed from turning into fat too quickly, and it will keep your energy levels high throughout the rest of the day or the evening.

Stay Hydrated

It's surprisingly easy to get dehydrated during the winter, so make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration is a common reason for hospitalization among senior citizens, so make sure you have plenty of drinking water on hand at all times. This also means going easy on alcohol and caffeine, as both substances can cause you to become dehydrated quickly. Drinking plenty of water can also help curb your appetite.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Holiday gatherings mean being around a lot of people, which is a good way to spread germs. Your immune system may not be as strong as it used to be, so make sure you wash your hands frequently to help you avoid catching a nasty cold or worse. This is also good advice for children as they are often in the same boat as seniors.

Get Plenty of Sleep

The holidays are always a busy time of year, and it's easy to fall behind on your sleep schedule. Have fun and get involved in family gatherings, but don't forget that you still need to rest, especially if you do a lot of traveling at this time of year.

The holidays shouldn’t have to be so stressful. Give yourself some much deserved rest and relaxation by exploring the senior care options from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. At Concordia, our caregivers are committed to helping you make the most out of your golden years. We provide the broadest network of senior care in the area, ensuring that you’ll find the right fit for your individual needs. Take a tour of a Concordia location near you today, and discover how we put our faith and caring in everything we do.

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