While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they can also be a source of stress, as exercise schedules might be disrupted for shopping excursions and rich holiday meals make it difficult to adhere to a particular diet. Staying healthy can be a challenge during this time of year, especially for seniors.
To stay healthy during the holidays, reduce stress and avoid the holiday blues, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Make healthy choices: From rich meals to tempting and tasty homemade snacks, the holidays are a time for many to indulge in food — or overindulge. Try to plan meals with other events in mind. For example, if a big dinner is planned for New Year’s Eve, consider a lighter lunch of salad or soup.
2. Stay hydrated: Drinking water is one way you can stay healthy during the holidays. To make it easier to stay hydrated, have water easily accessible at home and keep bottled water in a purse or bag when running errands.
3. Follow dietary restrictions: Some seniors must follow special diets, such as one that is low in sodium. It can be difficult to adhere to a diet during busy, stressful times, especially if there aren’t any healthy options available. “When people get stressed, they tend to overeat and don’t stick to their diets.” To make it easier to follow dietary guidelines, keep healthy options like fresh-cut vegetables and fruit on hand.
4. Keep exercising: Stick to an exercise schedule, bundle up and invite your family for a walk around the grounds at Kirby Pines If it’s too cold or icy outside, enjoy the decorated halls inside. Visit the Oasis or enjoy the warm pool.
5. Decrease gifts: The holidays can be a financial challenge due to purchasing gifts for many family members. To reduce stress from paying for gifts and shopping, consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift.
6. Rest after traveling: For some, the holidays are a time to travel long distances to visit family and friends. Whether you travel by car, rail or plane, make time to rest before jumping into visiting or shopping.
7. Take a break: Between parties and shopping, the holidays often involve busy days and late nights. If you are planning an all-day outing, carve some time for a nap or a way to relax for a bit, even if it is just to sip tea in a cafe. Little kids, seniors and everyone in between will appreciate it.
8. Stay involved: Be a part of the holidays. For many, that may include helping out with holiday preparations. “Reduce your stress by allowing others to hold the holiday event at their home instead of yours, but stay involved by cooking a favorite dish or maybe help decorate the home.”
With a few preventative measures and a willingness to change some traditions, seniors can stay healthy and follow their diets, while also having fun with their family members this holiday season.