Courtesy of Spence’s Pharmacy, 

Chestnuts roasting by an open fire, jack frost nipping at your nose. . .

Everyone knows how the song goes, but there is not one mention of the stress the holiday season can bring. How can you maintain your balance through it all, let alone stay healthy?

Consider these five tips for a healthier holiday:

  1. Beat the bugs. Add “flu shot” to your to-do list, unless of course, you’ve already gotten one. Also, wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds each time. Germs can easily transfer from hands to nose and mouth, not to mention from you to other people. Bring disinfectant wipes with you whenever you travel. Wipe down armrests, tray tables, and even air vents and seatbelt buckles. Drink plenty of fluids while traveling (shoot for eight ounces every hour); moist airways are less susceptible to viruses and bacteria.
  2. Stay active. Regular exercise is most critical during the winter months. It is just not calorie intake that contributes to weight gain. Hitting the gym or even getting active with outdoor winter sports will help you control your weight and the holiday blues. Consider asking your pharmacist or physician about supplements that can help with stress and overall health.
  3. Relax! Don’t let holiday hysteria overwhelm you. You need downtime, and plenty of sleep to relax and relieve stress. Try a 15-minute chair massage at a local salon or shopping mall massage kiosk. Along with relaxing muscles, massages may lower levels of stress hormones and boost white blood cells, which can protect against infections. Be sure to prioritize YOU in the midst of the busyness.
  4. Include healthy food in the celebrations. Pack healthy fruit, nuts, or low-fat string cheese to snack on as you travel, and offer healthier options, like veggie trays, at holiday gatherings. It may not have the same appeal as pecan pie or candied potatoes, but healthy options may keep you from overindulging.
  5. Check your meds and vitamins/supplements. Check your supply of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins. Your pharmacist can go over this list with you. Make sure you have what you need before traveling.