Do you ever feel like you’re not able to enjoy the holiday season because you’re too worn out, run down and coming down with one cold after another? While there are some very real reasons why winter can be hard on your health and well-being, there are things you can do to improve your energy levels and avoid sickness so that you can enjoy spending more time with friends and family.
1. Get as much sunlight as you can during the daylight hours. A lack of sunlight is associated with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and vitamin D deficiency, both of which leave you feeling run down and weaken your resistance to disease. Talk to your doctor about using a light therapy lamp and/or vitamin D supplementation if you are unable to get sufficient daylight.
2. Be mindful of allergens. Unfortunately, indoor allergens can be a problem year round, not just in the greener seasons. This can be exacerbated by dusty decorations, live Christmas trees and scented seasonal items like candles and potpourri. It’s a good idea to don a face mask and even goggles when pulling out decorations and dusting them off. Be aware that live Christmas trees can be full of pollen and mold spores – if you wish to use one, limit the amount of time it is in your home and use an indoor air purifier to help remove as many allergens from the air as possible.
3. Pen in time for yourself. You don’t want to be a hermit, but it’s important that you make a commitment to yourself and your family that you’ll get the downtime that you need. Before you start making holiday plans, make “dates” for quiet, at home nights in your planner and consider them just as concrete as commitments that you make to other people. You’ll be able to get the rest you need to enjoy doing the things that you really wanted to do.
4. Baby yourself if and when you get sick. Sometimes we get sick despite eating well and practicing good hygiene. Listen to your body and take it easy so that you can fully fight off the infection. A room humidifier can help keep your nasal passages clear so that you can breathe and get the sleep you need. If it’s possible, take a little time off of school or work so that you can relax and avoid spreading the cold to others.
5. Try shopping online. The deals get better every year and you avoid wasting your gas and energy visiting multiple bricks and mortar stores. It also helps keep you out of crowds, which can cut down on stress and illness. You can also save time by having gifts shipped directly to out of town friends and family.
6. Exercise keeps you energetic. Those first few workouts might wipe you out, but you’ll soon find that exercise helps increase your stamina and energy. On the flip side, you will fall asleep easier and sleep deeper. Do talk to your doctor before you start a vigorous workout program but don’t let health problems keep you from exercising at all. Instead, consult with your doctor and trainer to design a program that is suitable for your current abilities and health status.
7. Don’t drink too much alcohol or caffeine. The first is a depressant, the later is a stimulant. In moderation, neither are terrible for you and might even have some health benefits. However, in excess they can leave you feeling miserable, interrupt your natural sleep patterns and rob you of energy.
8. Drink plenty of water. Mild dehydration can cause headaches, muscle pain and an overall feeling of being groggy or logy. Water is inexpensive, refreshing and can be found almost everywhere. If your local tap water has an unpleasant odor or taste, use a water filter so that you can enjoy all the fresh, cold water you want without spending a fortune on environmentally unfriendly water bottles. Get into the habit of filling a BPA-free water bottle to carry with you everywhere so that you can stay hydrated and avoid the temptation of sodas or sugary coffee drinks.
9. Stick to your regular sleep schedule. It’s easy to drift into late nights and late mornings during the extra time you have off during the holidays. While sleeping in sounds good in theory, it can leave you feeling lazy and without energy all day long, not to mention the pain of trying to reestablish good habits when it’s time to go back to work or school. Stick with your normal waking times as much as possible and keep the late nights to a minimum.
10. Stay humble and grateful. Keep focused on all of the wonderful things that you have and the amazing people in your life. Instead of being irritated and angry about long lines, travel woes and family squabbles, keep things in perspective. A positive attitude goes a long way towards staying happy, enthusiastic and energetic all year long.
By Shannon Hernandez
About the Author:
After serving as a pediatrician for more than 14 years in her home state of Texas, Hernandez chose to devote her time to blogging about her full-time fight against her seasonal allergies. After detailing her struggle, Hernandez went on to conduct high-level research on allergens and the types of products that could be used to combat the side effects.
She now consults industry businesses on the best way to effectively market such products as dehumidifiers and humidifiers to consumers while still finding time to blog about her daily life on topics such as her eco-friendly automobile, her dog Mittens and her two young daughters.