15, Dec 2020
The holiday season is about spending fun and quality time with your loved ones.
With the U.S. continuing to see record numbers of COVID-19 cases, you may ponder what steps to take to protect yourself but still enjoy the holiday season with a sense of normalcy.
There are certain steps you can take to lower your risk while of contracting the virus while you celebrate.
It is recommended to host small, outdoor or virtual events to keep you and your family safe. Consider limiting in-person gatherings to immediate household members with 6 feet of social distancing maintained.
Consider hiking or family walks as the main event with everyone masked.
As an alternative to face-face gatherings, connect with friends and family by phone or virtually using video conferencing technology to "share across the miles."
You may consider ordering dessert for long-distance loved ones to savor the bites together in real-time.
Even if you meet in-person with family members, it is essential to reduce your risk and keep others safe by getting a flu vaccine, wearing a face mask properly, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds each time, and keeping surfaces clean and disinfected.
It is critically important to stay home if you are not feeling well.
Because of the increased risk, the elderly population and those with chronic illnesses and/or underlying health conditions should avoid in-person gatherings as much as possible.
Avoid crowded transportation hubs such as in airports if planning to travel. Be cautious and vigilant, especially during the 14 days prior to getting together with loved ones.
With added levels stress and uncertainty because of the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more challenging than normal to focus on nutritious foods, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Many of our usual holiday festivities will look very different this year. Plan new activities focused on virtual connection, movement and fun — and not just around sitting and eating.
You might try to be a little more creative to ease stress and incorporate movement this fall and winter.
If there's one positive thing 2020 has delivered, it's a mindset of flexibility and resilience amongst us all.
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Some strategies for this holiday season are to focus on the positives, such as proper diet, daily aerobic exercise, reduced anxiety and depression, and better sleep.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet helps manage the chronic health conditions you may already have.
Traditional holiday foods are often high in calories, saturated fat or added sugars.
You can still enjoy them by choosing a few of your favorites, eating them in small portions and balancing them out with fruits and vegetables full of disease-fighting nutrients.
Slice up raw veggies and keeping them bagged in the fridge as snacks for future grab-and-go.
You just might find a creative holiday favorite dessert by grilling or baking instead of frying them, or even swapping out the heavy cream for lighter versions.
Start the day right with a veggie-rich omelet. Try a special holiday-themed bowl by stirring dried cranberries and cinnamon into oatmeal.
The morning meal represents a prime opportunity to boost your diet with produce.
Never skip breakfast to avoid being hungrier later in the day, which leads to overeating unhealthy foods.
Sleep-deprivation results in eating mindlessly and craving high-fat, high-sugar foods. Having an early dinner and finishing out the evening with a good night's sleep can also go a long way in achieving a happy and healthy lifestyle. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep.
Between sedentary activities such as working behind a desk all day, writing holiday cards or watching movies, take periodic breaks for a quick stroll in your neighborhood. Walking is always an excellent way to squeeze in more activity into your day.
Sign up with gyms or your fitness instructors for holiday exercise challenges, such as doing a certain number of push-ups and squats each day or dance to the tunes of the "Jingle Bell Rock."
Clearing space in your day for activities is a critical way of managing stress.
Create new holiday memories with walk-and-talk dates with your family and friends. Take a bike ride past holiday lights to add a festive mood to your day. Doing these will help boost your health and well-being.
A few simple things can help keep you safe and healthy this season:
Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Dr. Mitra is accepting new patients and can be reached at 321-622-6222 or email@example.com. Call now to plan for happy and healthy holidays.
Dr. Sue Mitra and her staff strive to offer their patients the best care, advice and services available in the medical field with the goal to keep patient healthy & happy.
Dr. Sue Mitra is board certified in international medicine. She is seen here with a Cologuard, which is a noninvasive colon cancer screening test. (Photo by: Tim Shortt/Florida Today)