With seemingly endless to-do lists and holiday parties laden with junk food, the holiday season leaves many feeling stressed and unhealthy. Taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness and focus on maintaining healthy habits that can prevent chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease can relieve some of that stress.
Here are some daily activities to help navigate the stressors of the season and avoid unhealthy habits many encounter this time of year.
Get Enough Sleep
Adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night. Sleeping less than seven hours per night is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and poor mental health, as well as early death.
Adults need at least 150 minutes a week, or 22 minutes a day, of moderate to intense aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week to remain fit. This can be done through group activity, inviting family and friends to go for a walk, run or jog.
Rethink Your Drink
Sugary beverages slow people down and are often high in calories. Consider drinking water, which will keep you hydrated. Never drink alcohol and drive and don’t allow others to drink and drive.
Don’t Drive Drowsy
For longer trips, consider swapping seats with a responsible driver or stopping to rest. Practicing good sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time each night and avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, can also ensure you remain alert when driving.
Prevent the Flu and Other Diseases
An annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against the flu. But the simple act of consistent and correct hand-washing reduces respiratory illnesses by 16 to 21 percent, and the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23 to 40 percent. People should wash their hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, especially before eating.
Try to select healthy options like fruits and vegetables instead of salty or sugary treats. If you decide to indulge in high calorie foods, balance your diet by drinking plenty of water.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention