SAN DIEGO, December 9, 2014 — Christmas is a most beloved holiday season which is celebrated worldwide.
With its origins in Christianity as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, many non-Christians also celebrate Christmas by participating in the celebratory festivities, parties and gift-exchanges.
Enjoying special holiday get-togethers with family and friends will likely require additional thought, planning, time and attention, whether as a participant or host.
The traditional holiday fare for get-togethers and parties tends to be high in calories, fat and sugar.
Also, holiday celebrations often include an abundance of alcoholic beverages with seasonal offerings such as hot-buttered rum or spicy eggnog, and are high in alcohol content and calories.
Holiday gift baskets are easy to ship to those dearest to us who are far away, and these popular Christmas gifts are usually filled with seasonal chocolates, candies, cookies and other delights which are high in fat and sugar.
As invitations to attend parties and events are sent by thoughtful hosts, there is likely an abundance of them to choose from, creating both opportunity for fun and for additional stress–it can be daunting to select which events to attend and which ones to send regrets.
With the joy of the Christmas season come the additional stresses of managing time, coordinating schedules, choosing foods and beverages, selecting appropriate attire, waiting in lines, purchasing people-pleasing gifts, navigating crowded streets and managing traffic.
With so very much to accomplish before Christmas Day, it could easily become difficult to maintain physical balance, emotional well-being and overall good health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer “Holiday Health and Safety Tips” as helpful suggestions for maintaining good health throughout the Christmas season:
-Wash hands often to avoid getting colds and flu.
-Consider getting a flu shot unless medically indicated not to.
-Stay warm and dress in layers if in a colder climate.
-Manage stress by maintaining balance in wok, home and play.
-Get proper rest.
-Travel safely and always wear a seat belt if driving.
-Do not drink and drive.
-Be smoke free.
Practice safety at home by being mindful of burning candles and fireplaces, hot grills and powered generators.
Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at home.
Handle and prepare food safely, always washing hands before and after preparation and being certain not to cross-contaminate cooked foods with uncooked foods.
Eat healthy by limiting portions, fats, salt and sugar, and always adhere to any prescribed dietary restrictions.
Stay physically active and prevent the distractions of the holiday rush from getting in the way of an exercise regime–it is recommended to be active for at least 2.5 hours each week.
The holidays are also a time when depression and sadness could be at an all time high.
Sadness could clash with gladness as memories of Christmases gone-by and thoughts of loved ones far-away or who have passed away crowd the emotions.
Additionally, increased consumption of alcoholic beverages oftentimes lead to a depressed state, as does over-consumption of sugar-containing products.
Reach out to those who are trusted and ask for their support to help navigate any emotional ups and downs experienced this holiday season.
Contact a healthcare professional immediately if depression or sadness is becoming untenable or if there are thoughts of suicide.
Celebrating and sharing the promise of the Christmas holidays can truly be a most glorious experience, and an ideal time for expressing gratitude and love for all that is good in life.
By thoughtfully planning Christmas celebrations with good health in mind, it can be a time for experiencing the peace, joy, and emotional balance which is truly the greatest gift of all–the gift of well-being.
As the year comes to a close at the end of this holiday season, it signals the promise of an entirely new year which is waiting to unfold!
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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