How to Stay Healthy During the 2020 Holiday Season
During a normal year, the holidays can be stressful — but add in the additional complexity of a global pandemic and you have a recipe for some serious stress. When you’re trying to decide how to handle the upcoming holiday season, it can be confusing trying to navigate family obligations and COVID restrictions. How do you ensure that you stay healthy and safe while getting festive? Well, we’ve compiled some of our best tips to keep you as healthy as possible during these uncertain times. Keep reading to learn how to make the best of your 2020 holiday season.
Step 1: Prioritize Your Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to your overall health and well-being. When you sleep, your body is able to recuperate from your daily stresses and frustrations. Sleep is also when your body repairs itself, from your muscles to your skin to your brain cells. And, studies have suggested that getting enough shut-eye helps you sort through complicated emotions and supports your mental health.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll likely experience short-term problems like grogginess and fatigue. But long-term sleeplessness can actually be quite serious. A chronic lack of sleep can lead to health problems and lower your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep and get enough sleep, try out the tips below:
- Avoid Stimulants Within 6 Hours of Bedtime. Stimulants like caffeine stay in your system for around six hours. So, before you reach for that second cup of coffee, make sure that it still gives you plenty of time to wind down before bedtime. In addition to stimulants, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol, too. Alcohol may initially make you feel sleepy, but it can lead to interrupted sleep patterns. As a result, you won’t stay in the deepest, most restorative sleep stages and instead, you’ll only get light sleep.
- Don’t Doomscroll Before Bed: It’s tempting to stare into your phone screen when you’re in the dark trying to fall asleep. After all, the internet is a limitless abyss of distraction and wonder. However, your phone and computer screen emit blue light, which is a kind of UV light that can disrupt your body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Instead of looking at your phone, consider picking up an old-fashioned book and reading that until you fall asleep.
- Invest in a Great Mattress: Your mattress can make or break your sleep environment and the quality of your sleep. Consider choosing a memory foam mattress or a hybrid mattress that contours to your unique shape. This is especially important if you’re waking up sore and stiff — those are signs your mattress is too old and needs replacing.
- Put on Some Pleasant White Noise: White noise from a fan, an app, or a white noise machine can provide just enough noise to help you drift off to sleep.
Step 2: Learn to Say “No”
If you’re feeling run down and burned out, it’s important to know when to say, “no”. Try to delegate your tasks at work and at home so you’re not putting too much on your plate at once. Prioritize your day with a to-do list and give yourself some time in the morning to decide what has to be done that day and what can wait.
Make sure you give your clients realistic deadlines and ask for extensions if you need them.
Step 3: Pay Attention to Health Mandates
Health mandates during the pandemic exist for a reason: to keep the number of coronavirus cases down. If you’re traveling to see family during the holiday, make sure you make safe choices. It might be a good idea to get a COVID-19 test before you see your family, so you can have some peace-of-mind you won’t get more vulnerable members of your family ill.
Avoid large gatherings if possible and avoid being indoors with others for long periods of time. Wear masks whenever possible to protect both yourself and others around you. Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds each time. And make sure that you use sanitizer when it’s not possible to wash your hands.
Step 4: Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
The holidays are a cause for celebration and there are many reasons to raise a glass this time of year. However, excessive consumption of alcohol can inhibit your immune system and lead to hangovers. Try to limit your alcohol intake to two glasses a day or less if you’re a woman and three glasses a day if you’re a man. These limits are based on average biological data — you might find that you tolerate fewer servings of alcohol. Whatever the case, know your limits and avoid overindulging. Remember, at the end of the day, alcohol is still a toxin in your body.
Step 5: Stay Active
With all the different parties and events around the holidays, it can be incredibly difficult to continue your exercise routine. But this isn’t the time to give up on being active. Exercise during the holidays is a great way to relieve stress while helping your body grow stronger and healthier. You might even want to increase the frequency of your exercise if you can.
Need some ideas for increasing the amount you exercise? Here are a few tips.
- Start Walking with Your Partner or a Friend. Walking is low-impact so it’s easy on your joints. Try walking for at least thirty minutes. If you can get your partner or a friend involved, he or she can help keep you accountable.
- Join a Rec League. Have you wanted to play soccer or tennis again recently? Consider joining a rec league to get back into a schedule and incorporate some athletics into your life.
- Buy a Bike. Not only is a bike a great way to exercise, it can also be a way to go run errands or get your daily latte. It’s both a form of exercise and transportation.
Takeaways: Staying Healthy During the 2020 Holiday Season
Although the wintertime season is full of fun in the form of parties and events celebrating the holidays, this 2020 season is a little different. To stay healthy in the middle of a pandemic can be a challenge, so remember to slow down and take the time you need to take care of yourself. With these tips, you’ll have a better chance of staying healthy and happy, no matter what the rest of the year brings.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365 Business Tips as well as runs a personal blog, Mixed Bits Media. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.