10 Things You Can do to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays
The holiday season is nearly upon us, and while this year may look a little different than usual, there are some practical ways to support your health and feel your best! Keeping your immune system strong is more important now than ever, and in a season when sugar, alcohol and other stressors are abundant, there are some simple ways to nourish your gut without missing out on all the joy and lively fun of the holidays.
Here are 10 things you can do to protect your immune system, support your microbiome, and keep inflammation at bay this holiday season, in order to feel your healthiest!
1. Eat a healthy diet - One of the best ways to support your gut health over the coming weeks is to start with the food you eat. By adding in plenty of organic, anti-inflammatory foods, you can provide the bacteria in your large intestine dietary fiber, nourish your microbiome and feel your best. A few great options to keep in mind for example, would be yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kale, and organic whole grains.
2. Drink mindfully - While there may be fewer (and smaller) festive gatherings this year, we hope you will find celebration will surely be in the air, which usually comes with plenty of alcohol. And while enjoying a few drinks is a fun part of the holidays, it comes along with inflammation, poor sleep, low energy, and hangovers! However, even if you overindulge, take your Sugar Shift, which can help mitigate the negative effects of sugar from alcohol. Try swapping kombucha for wine!
3. Exercise - Depending on your geographic location, it can get tough to get outside as the weather gets colder. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy indoor movement at home! From yoga, to online fitness videos, to light stretching throughout the day, there is plenty you can do to work in daily movement, which not only aids digestion and mood levels, but can also reduce stress and increase energy.
4. Simplify your plans - Another way to keep stress at bay? Slow down and savor the season. By prioritizing your self care and saying “no” to plans when you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, you’ll be doing your immune system a big favor (and your gut will thank you). While it may be easier to simplify your schedule this year, there are still many to-dos, gifts to buy and preparations to make. Give yourself permission to slow down and take care of your health this year.
5. Get quality sleep - One of the most essential components of your health is getting enough quality sleep. It contributes to greater longevity, energy, and brain function, and reduces the risk for chronic disease and other health issues. Our gut bacteria has a circadian clock and they suffer when we don’t get enough sleep or we go to bed too late. With the potential for late nights and busy weekends this season, be sure to prioritize shut-eye in order to feel your best!
6. Hydrate - Another foundational element of your health? Staying hydrated! And this is particularly important to ensure throughout the holidays when you’re more likely to be drinking more than usual, as alcohol can lead to dehydration. Be careful about the source of your water: public tap water has a lot of chlorine that can affect your gut. Drinking enough spring water (which retains minerals, but chlorine is filtered out) helps your digestive tract do its job properly, which is also helpful when you’re eating foods that are richer and heavier than usual.
7. Daily gratitude ritual - Studies have shown a distinct connection between positive thinking and physical and psychological health, and practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to cultivate positive thinking. Proactively fortifying a positive mindset is important all year round, but particularly during the holiday season which may bring a roller coaster of emotions, from joy and happiness to sorrow or stress. Having a daily grounding ritual to be in the present moment and journal or meditate on what you’re grateful for is a simple way to make positive thinking a habit.
8. Get your vitamin D - As mentioned above, it can be tougher to get outside as the days get shorter and colder. However vitamin D is essential for avoiding extreme mood swings and keeping your energy levels up. Just a short daily walk around the block can be a game-changer, and if you’re not able to get outside as much as you’d like, consider a vitamin D supplement.
9. Don’t forget vitamin B - Another one to pay attention to is your vitamin B levels, particularly B1 and B2! Many symptoms of a thiamine (B1) deficiency are similar to the symptoms of Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, including fatigue, irritability, nausea, poor memory and muscle weakness. If you find yourself struggling with any of these symptoms in the upcoming months, try adding foods into your diet that are high in thiamine including wheat germ, macadamia nuts, and brown rice, or consider supplementing, in order to maintain immunity and homeostasis in the gut.
10. Take Sugar Shift: We would be remiss to skip this step! One of the simplest ways you can support your gut health, and thus your overall health, is by taking a daily probiotic. A targeted formula like Sugar Shift is ideal this time of year, since it’s difficult to avoid sugar. And by shifting the way your body metabolizes sugar, you can avoid the negative effects of that extra piece of pie or glass of wine!
As we move into the full swing of the holiday season, we hope you feel as happy and healthy as possible. Keep these 10 tips handy, and above all be sure to listen to your body and honor your needs, even on the busiest of days. This is a great time to give yourself the gift of great health and focus on feeling your best, and the microbiome is one of the simplest, most effective places to start. Take ownership of your wellness and DIY your gut health!