Jordan Douglas, MS, HHC
During the holiday season, we’re confronted with additional stressors that can compromise our digestive, immune, and nervous system health. Between cold and flu season, holiday gatherings, end-of-year to-do lists, and travel, it can be a lot to navigate. Here are 8 tips to help keep you well and navigate the holiday season with presence and ease:
- Find your micro-moment(s). When can you find a slice of time, just for yourself, each day? Whether it’s a deep breath, a walk, a cup of tea, or reading a chapter of your new book – when can you find a moment (or two!) to slow down, pause, and be with yourself in the present moment? It may be beneficial to plan your moments the day before, or to let them arise spontaneously during the day.
- Try herbal bitters. A small bottle of digestive herbal bitters is easy to take with you on the go, and spritz on your tongue before meals and snacks. Bitters are wonderful for supporting healthy digestion and elimination, alleviating gas and bloating, and reducing sugar cravings.
- Have a meal plan. Meal-prepping and batch-cooking can be tremendous time savers to ensure you’re eating something nutritious and delicious, and eliminating the nightly saga of deciding what’s for dinner. Preparing food in advance also reduces our reliance on convenience, processed, and packaged foods. I’m a firm believer in joy and celebration through food, especially during the holiday season. If you’re attending a gathering where you’ll be indulging in delicious culinary comfort, meal planning offers you’re the opportunity to anchor your day with an equally delicious meal that grounds and meets your nutritional needs. It’s all about balance!
- Stay hydrated. We often drink far less water in the wintertime due to cooler temps, but with indoor heat and outdoor winds, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Hydration is dependent on many factors, but for most folks a good benchmark to aim for is half of your body weight in ounces. Maintaining adequate hydration increases energy, improves digestion, reduces brain fog, and optimizes healthy physiologic function.
- Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D is absolutely critical for supporting immune health and mental health, especially during the winter months when the days are shorter and we’re spending more time inside. Soak up time in the sun when you can, consume vitamin D-rich foods (e.g., fatty fish, eggs, fortified orange juice or breakfast cereals), and consider a high-quality daily vitamin D supplement.
- Don’t skip the zzz’s. Sleep is when we rest, repair, and restore. Ensuring adequate sleep supports healthy immunity, enhances memory and cognitive health, improves mood and mental health, supports healthy weight and metabolism, and increases energy levels. Adequate sleep means not only getting enough hours of sleep (unique to each individual, but typically 7-9 hours nightly), but also enough deep sleep. Experiencing deep sleep allows us to wake up feeling refreshed and restored. See this post for more info on achieving deep sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene.
- Consume immune-supportive foods. Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, selenium, and glutathione – key nutrients that support healthy immune function. These foods include dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, citrus, onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Make time for movement. Our bodies were made to move, in whatever way, shape or form we’re able. From walking and stretching, to running and cycling, to weight lifting and pilates, it’s imperative that we find a way to move each day. Movement increases circulation, boosts immunity, releases tension and stress, and improves our sleep quality.
Need additional support maintaining your well-being during the holiday season? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 30-minute nutrition counseling session.