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10 holiday health hacks to make spirits bright

We’re still taking precautions to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, but this year’s holiday season looks a little more traditional than 2020. That means gatherings with loved ones, making new memories and feasting on holidays delights. It also means a return to the familiar hustle, bustle and stress of holiday planning and prepping.

Don’t let Instagram and Pinterest be your guides this season. Here are 10 hacks for a healthier and happier holiday.

1. Reach for veggies and fruit. 

An overload of holiday foods can overtax your digestive system and lead to gastrointestinal distress, fatigue and depression. Indigestion and heartburn, which can produce symptoms that mimic heart attack, are among the top reasons for holiday urgent care visits. 

Make space on your plate for the healthy stuff.

  • Start with veggies first at holiday parties and buffet tables.
  • Add extra fruits and veggies to holiday dishes.
  • Stock the fridge with grab-and-go bags of fruit and raw vegetables. 
  • Spice things up with tasty dipping sauces like pumpkin hummus, guacamole or almond butter.

2. Walk it out. 

Between school programs, social events, shopping and Hallmark marathons, your regular fitness routine may take a back burner this holiday season. Even if you can’t make your Cross Fit, and Zumba classes, it’s important to make time to move. A walk outdoors is a great way to boost your oxygen intake, elevate your heart rate, enhance your mood and put a damper on holiday stress.

3. Protect against germs. 

Not to be a downer, but joy isn’t the only thing being spread this season. Don’t let colds, flu and COVID-19 sideline your holidays.

  • Wash hands using soap and warm running water for one chorus of Jingle Bells (20 seconds). 
  • Get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Wear a mask indoors if you’re not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you have a weakened immune system or you’re in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.
  • If you’re sick, skip the holiday celebrations to limit transmission.

4. Substitute healthy alternatives to your favorites. 

You can still satisfy yearnings for those traditional holiday dishes. Opt for healthier alternatives to cranberry sauce (swap maple syrup for white sugar), whipped cream (psst…coconut milk) and fruitcake. (If anyone really does eat fruitcake, pumpkin gingerbread loaf is a delicious stand-in.)

5. Nurture your mental health. 

The holidays aren’t always merry and bright. For some, it’s a season of sadness, loneliness and depression. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety or depression over the holidays, don’t wait to ask for help. 

Indigo Online Care offers screenings for anxiety and depression for adults 18 and older. Simply complete a quick online questionnaire and connect with a trusted Indigo clinician via video to talk about a care plan and treatment options. Just log in or create an account to get started.

6. Give yourself the gift of downtime. 

Make this season all about balance. Along with socializing, it’s important to schedule quiet time to rest, relax and reset. If sweat pants and the sofa sound more appealing than a cookie swap, listen to your instincts. The more you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of (and enjoy and appreciate) your loved ones.

7. Drink more water. 

This time of year, it’s not always easy to remember to hydrate. But when the body doesn’t get enough fluids, that can lead to some unpleasant symptoms like headaches and fatigue. 

Exactly how much water you need varies based on age, weight, activity level and other factors. In general, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends about 13 cups (124.8 ounces) of water each day for men and around 11.4 cups (91.2 ounces) for women. When in doubt about how much water you need, ask your medical provider.

Not a big fan of the clear stuff? Jazz up plain or seltzer water with lemon, lime, orange, strawberries, mint or even a festive cinnamon stick.  

8. Get your sleep. 

He knows when you’ve been sleeping and he knows when you’ve stayed up too late or let the endless to-do list in your head interrupt your nighttime routine. Lack of sleep has been linked to a range of health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and poor mental health. Find out how much sleep you need and some tips on how to improve sleep quality.

9. Eat well—most of the time. 

Don’t try to stick to rigid diets during the holidays. Rather, opt for balance and moderation. When you eat well 80 percent of the time, you can indulge the other 20 percent.  

10. Just say no, no, no. 

Honestly, you really can’t do it all. Make a list of activities and events that are most important to you and call it good. Creating—and sticking to—personal boundaries is one of the best things you can do for your health during the holidays. 

The no also goes for invitations to gatherings that may be out of your COVID-19 comfort zone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance on the safest ways to celebrate the holidays and minimize COVID-19 risk.

Indigo Urgent Care is here for the holidays

During this especially busy time of year, one thing you don’t have to hassle with is health care. Indigo Urgent Care offers refreshingly friendly care every day, 8 am to 8 pm, even on holidays. 

We treat most minor illnesses and injuries and offer fast, reliable COVID-19 testing. And to make care even more convenient for you and your family, Indigo offers online care for adults and kids from wherever you are. Video visits are available 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week and E-Visits are available around the clock.

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