Staying Healthy During the Holidays

It’s easy to eat too much, get lost in the freedom of the vacation, or even sleep and sit around too much during a break from school. Sure, you deserve a good long break, but to prevent getting caught up in the holiday madness, here are a few ways to make the most of your school break and stay healthy while you’re at it:


Don’t Let Holiday Blues Get You Down – If you’re already vulnerable to depression, it’s easy to let those sad holiday songs get to you. Plus, there are already many people who are sad and depressed during this time of year for many reasons. Some people don’t have family to spend the holidays with. Others might be recalling the death of a loved one during this time. Whatever the reason, or if you’re struggling with a reason to be sad this season, try to keep your spirits light by spending time with others who are enjoying the holidays. You might call some of your friends and have a holiday gathering. Or you might make a list of the reasons to stay happy this year. Although the holidays can be a difficult time for some, it doesn’t have to get you down!


Get Enough Rest – On the other hand, if you’re feeling anxious or stressed during this holiday season, one way to beat stress is to get enough sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep can have major implications on a your emotional, psychological and physical well being. And sleep is incredibly significant because of the dramatic changes in growth you’re undergoing as an adolescent. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is food for the brain. Although most teens need about 9 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep, some sleep as much as 12 or 13 hours. Getting the right amount of sleep each night during the holidays can help strengthen your immune system, give you more energy, and make you less vulnerable to stress.


Exercise. A recent study (October 2014) found that exercise not only helps in the treatment of teen depression and anxiety, it can actually prevent it. Exercise is so essential in one’s overall health that it should be up there with the need to eat. If you’re feeling stressed, angry, frustrated, or anxious, go for a run or walk, and see how you feel afterwards. This is especially true during the holidays. Exercise can also help with the health of the brain, including making new neural connections, which alone can facilitate enduring change. Also, keep in mind that during your break from school, you don’t have to run three miles a day to experience the benefits from exercise, simply taking a walk once a day can boost mental health.


Spend Within Your Budget. It may not be surprising to know that most teens don’t have a budget. It’s true that they’re perhaps not steeped in the financial world enough to even think about a budget. However, now is a great time to begin to think about it, especially during a time when there might be pressure to buy gifts for others. Much of the time, the spirit of the holidays gets lost behind the commercialism of buying gifts. However, you could make gifts, create online greeting cards, or simply write a letter to your friends and family. Furthermore, you may want to take the extra time you have during the break to create a financial plan for yourself. Perhaps you’re working or you received an allowance. With income, a thoughtful plan on how to spend your money is worth creating. This holiday season is a great time to begin!


Make Healthy Food Choices. Three healthy meals should include at least 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables, and 4 servings of dairy products. It’s easy to fill yourself with sugar and sweets during the holidays. At the parties and family gatherings, that’s what being served. However, if you can resist the temptation to eat poorly, you’ll find that your mind will be clear, your body will feel good, and your emotions will stay more balanced. Eating well might be particularly important to you if you’re an athlete. Do you best to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any exercise. Water is best but flavored sports drinks can be used if they do not contain a lot of sugar. This will help replace what is lost when you sweat during physical activity. Lastly, if you can avoid soft drinks, sugary drinks, and caffeine, this will also support your emotional and physical well being.


If you’re attending parties and gatherings during this holiday season, the above suggestions can keep your mind clear, and your body fit, and your heart light.