holiday foodWith all the extra sleep, food, and stress, holidays can really sabotage your health. We’ve got a few ideas about how to stay healthy through the festivities.

Keep your sleep schedule

If you’ve just gotten out of school, it’s tempting to stay up all night and sleep until noon. Resist the urge! As boring as it sounds to stick to a normal sleep schedule (of 7-9 hours, hopefully!), you’ll be more refreshed than if you snooze for 14 hours. Your body works on a cycle (circadian rhythm), so changing your sleep pattern actually makes you more tired, even when you’re getting more sleep than usual.

To get extra sleep within your normal schedule, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier and getting up 30 minutes later. And nap!

Stay active!boys ice skating

It’s easy to spend the holidays in a food coma on the couch, but getting active can be more fun! You don’t even have to work out (although you could). Instead, rope your family and friends into fun activities–backyard football, local iceskating, hunting, or even Wii Sports. The possibilities are practically endless. Even a little bit of movement will help your body process all the extra food you’re eating.

Eat smart

We’re not really going to say you have to eat healthy during the holidays–because who can resist holidays sweets and special dishes??–but you can do a few things to eat smarter.

  • Eat what you love. Survey the options and eat just the stuff you really, really love, skipping dishes you just like.
  • If you have to go to a lot of parties/events, focus on the fun and activities. You don’t have to eat food (or at least not a lot of it) at every event.
  • If you’re traveling, pack your snacks. Nuts, trail mix, and other healthy snacks will be more satisfying than the gas station food. (And think about all the great stuff you’ll have for the holidays! You don’t need a $0.99 sugar fix when you can have homemade sweets.)
  • Don’t fast before the big meals. Instead, try to eat regular meals. If a big family meal is at a weird time (like 2 pm), snack when you would normally have your lunch. That way you’ll enjoy the meal, but not stuff yourself.
  • Think about what you eat. Instead of mindlessly consuming calories, think about whether you really need that serving/treat/second (or third or fourth) helping. Food comas actually aren’t that pleasant.

Schedule appointments

Holiday breaks are a great time to schedule appointments! You don’t have to miss school and it’s easy to schedule follow-up appointments, if necessary. Schedule your ortho appointments, regular checkups, or other appointments during the holidays.

Holidays can be a fun time, especially if you take care of yourself. Stay healthy during the festivities this year!