As the holidays engulf us, there are so many wonderful traditions that we partake in with our families. There's sledding and gift-giving, cookie exchanges and traveling cross-country to be with family. In all the excitement, it is so easy to forget the importance of keeping you and your family healthy! Sure, it's the time of year where we find ourselves fervently wishing for a white Christmas, and the prospect of flying to visit grandma seems like an adventure, but there is a myriad of obstacles just waiting to throw you a curveball! The last place we want you to end up over the holidays is in bed, so take a look at our tips on how to keep your household healthy!
Wash your hands: This one should go without saying, but we'll just shoot you a quick reminder! Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of infections or illness. Make sure you are scrubbing your hands every time you use the restroom, touch any dirty surfaces, prepare food (especially raw meat!), or come into contact with anyone else who is sick. (via Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
>> Read more: The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Wash Your Hands
Stay away from treats: We understand that you are busting your butt to prepare for the holidays, but overindulging on sweets as a "reward" for your hard work isn't going to do you any favors! Learn how to conquer your cravings by clicking here, and check out our 39 Favorite Snacks Under 100 Calories to hold off your appetite!
Get check-ups and vaccinations: We know the last thing you want to do before the holidays is drag your kids to the doctor, but a quick visit for a routine check-up and flu shot could just save you a trip to the office or ER on Christmas Day! Check-ups and vaccinations are an easy way for you to protect against potential sicknesses or infections. (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
>> Read more: Get the Skinny on Adult Vaccines
Give your house a good cleaning: In order to protect your family against allergens, you'll need to arm yourself with your duster and vacuum! Especially if your family goes all out with the natural decorations like a Christmas tree, wreaths, or winter greens, it's essential that you keep your home clean and tidy to ward off against any allergies or fungal infections! Check out our 10 favorite healthy household cleaners here. (via Web MD)
Get plenty of rest: Sure, there's a lot to do to prepare, but one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of sleep. If you forego an afternoon nap just to finish writing the last of those holiday cards, you run the risk of weakening your immune system and making yourself more susceptible to the flu or a cold. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night so that you can enjoy the holidays! Click here to stop holiday stress before it starts!
Don't skip meals: You may feel that the easiest way to avoid packing on those 10 pounds before January is skimping on food, but experts say that could be your undoing! Showing up at a holiday party that you've been fasting for all day could be a catastrophe! Even if you intend to just munch a little, you may end up overeating. Plus, drinking on an empty stomach could give you a buzz much more quickly than you expected! (via Real Simple)
>> Read more: Key to Weight Loss: Metabolism Maintenance
Focus on fun, not food: Many of us associate the holidays with a hoard of tasty temptations, but it may be time to focus on a different tradition! Try to incorporate some new activities into the holiday itinerary, like sledding, decorating the tree, caroling, or going on a wintery hike, in order to lessen the impact of those pies, cakes and cookies! Focus on family, rather than food! (via Reader's Digest)
Wipe away germs: If you are planning on traveling, make sure you tote along a packet of disinfectant wipes! Airports especially are notorious cesspools for all kinds of germs. Studies have actually revealed that there are traces of the flu virus and MRSA on airplane tray tables, so make sure you scour those seats before settling in! The same goes for any busses or trains too! (via Health Magazine)
>> Read more: 8 Natural Ways to Fight Off Cold and Flu Bugs
Work out: You may already have a set workout schedule, which is awesome! Stick with it! But for those of us who like to wait until the new year rolls around before committing to a new fitness regimen, it's time to get off the couch and hit the gym. Studies have shown that adults typically put on a pound or more of weight during the holiday season, and that weight tends to stick around longer than we'd like to admit. So start the season off right by adding a little exercise to your day! To learn more about motivation, click here. (via Reader's Digest)
Watch your alcohol intake: Toasting the new year with a glass of champagne is no big deal, but alcohol consumption during the holidays tends to skyrocket out of control. Alcohol slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which can mess with your blood sugar. Plus, the calories can really add up, so make sure you aren't overindulging! For 10 tips to help you avoid holiday over-drinking, click here. (via Reader's Digest)
The holidays are no excuse to let ourselves go, ladies. A little extra effort in avoiding unnecessary indulgences and maintaining proper personal hygiene can go a long way in warding off any holiday catastrophes.