The annual end of the year holidays are here. Although this is a fun-filled time of the year for many, the holidays also come with a fair amount of concerns. If you’d like to enjoy the holidays with less stress this year, consider some of the following tips to stay healthy during this time of year.

Due to ongoing pandemic concerns, this year you may want to avoid gift spending for hours in crowded stores, or some of the more crowded festivities. If you are a senior who is living on a fixed income you may feel worried about overspending on gifts or you may feel obligated to offer your guests an expensive dinner. You may also be considered about changes to your eating habits during the holidays – and wondering how to keep up a healthy diet.

The good news is that with some prior planning you will be able to maintain your health and overall well-being. You may be able to gift shop without overspending, and you will know how to prepare family meals that are healthy and cost-friendly. The following five tips can help you make this holiday season one of the most memorable relaxing and healthful seasons ever.

Five Ways to Keep the Holidays Healthy

1.  Your Personal Wellbeing:
Prepare yourself for the current flu season that typically comes during the holidays by getting your annual flu shot. Because the influenza strains change from year-to-year, getting your flu shot will help to protect you from catching this illness when you are with other people. Another good protective measure is to get your COVID-19 vaccinations and the booster shot. Medicare covers your annual flu shot and your Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. While we are still dealing with the coronavirus, we now need to be vigilant against all of the virus variants. Ask a family member or a caregiver to take you to a medical clinic or the doctor’s office if you are not able to drive there yourself.

Be kind to yourself by maintaining your regular exercise program, taking all of your prescriptions on time, staying well hydrated, and continuing to get a good night’s sleep. You can truly enjoy the holidays when you are taking of yourself.

2.  Gift Giving on a Budget:
We all love to see the pleasure that our loved ones get when they open our gifts. But, gift-giving can be both time-consuming and expensive. Ways to reduce the stress and the cost of gifts are to set and stick by a gift spending budget, to start shopping early, to watch for sales, and to consider making your own gifts.

You can avoid being in close contact with strangers by doing your shopping online. Not only will the gifts be delivered to your home, but you will have plenty of time to wrap the presents. If you are not physically able to personally wrap presents, you can ask a family member, a caregiver, or a close friend to help you with this chore. Don’t worry about asking for help because people enjoy helping others whether it is during the holidays or at some other time of the year.

3.  Meal Planning:
Holiday parties tend to have lots of offerings that are loaded with sugar, calories, and alcohol. If you are the one who is planning a holiday meal, you have the luxury of making healthy choices for yourself and your guests. You can offer a selection of healthy snacks, sliced fruit, and low-calorie pastries. Your meal can include plenty of fresh vegetables, lean meats, low-calorie cheeses, and a low fat dessert of fruit. For example, strawberries can become Santa hats with the right online tutorial! Beverages can be low-calorie, sugar-free, or prepared with a sugar-free sweetener. Your meal can be heart-healthy, able to maintain good blood sugar levels, and budget-friendly.

4.  Socializing:
Many seniors have been practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The holiday season brings the opportunity for social gatherings. This means being in close contact with family members, friends, and strangers. Being fully vaccinated is one way to help protect yourself from catching or potentially spreading the virus when you are at a social function. Wearing a mask when socializing indoors with anyone who is not vaccinated is a good preventive measure. A mask is a good personal barrier if you are going to be at a crowded social event where there may be poor ventilation. It is totally acceptable to wear a mask when socializing outside of your own home.

5.  Avoiding Hazards:
Decorating your home for the holidays may be a yearly tradition, but getting those decorations out of storage raises the risks of lifting heavy boxes, tripping over other storage items, and falling on the stairs. One way to avoid these typical hazards is to pace yourself. Carefully pull out boxes, watch where you are stepping or reaching for items. Plan your lifting and carrying so that you are able to take your time with each errand. You can fully enjoy the beauty of your efforts when you are safe and healthy.

Slips and falls are too common when you live in a cold climate where there is often snow, sleet, or ice on the sidewalks. One way to maintain your stability when going outdoors is to wear cold weather boots. If you have mobility issues, remember to use your walker, cane, or rollator when outdoors. You can ask a family member or a caregiver for an arm to hold onto if you are worried about falling when outdoors. It is also better to be safe than sorry.

Bottom Line
You can enjoy the holiday spirit and remain healthy when you prepare ahead. Take the time to protect your health by pacing yourself with all of the activities, getting your annual flu shot, getting your COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, eating healthy, and enjoying all of your personal interactions with your loved ones. Take lots of pictures so that you can revisit all of the happy memories.

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