Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time for a Breather?

In this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, many people let it all go: staying up late into the night, sometimes basing entire meals around the leftover Christmas cookies and desserts, out catching the best after-Christmas bargains at the mall and woefully neglecting some of the more nourishing things they can be doing to fortify their bodies against the onslaught of viral infections that are so abundant this time of year. Staying healthy does not have to mean staying “boring”. It just means you’ve decided to make your wellbeing a priority so that you can continue to have fun, rather than end up sick in bed. Here are my top strategies for staying well while still remaining "the life of the party":

1.     1.  Give yourself an earlier bedtime for five of the next seven days, and don’t let anything deter you from it. Set your alarm, schedule a reminder, do whatever it takes to keep this curfew in the forefront of your mind. Adequate sleep assures a strong immune system. It is during times of sleep that our bodies are best able to perform the clean-up functions that eliminate the toxins and germs that accumulate in us throughout the day. Optimal sleep occurs between the hours of 10pm and 6am – it is simply how the human body is wired.

2.     2.  Combine exercise with your urge to socialize. Have company visiting for the holidays? Invite them to your gym, yoga studio, favorite park or walking trail. Many fitness facilities offer 1-day passes – possibly even weekly passes for out-of-towners – that you can offer to your visitors. They may really appreciate the opportunity to work off the cookies and pies, and may even enjoy the encouragement to try something new under the security of having you with them.
3.   3.  DRINK, DRINK, DRINK – water, that is. It is really easy to forget to drink water during times when you are out of your regular routine. Combine that with the diuretic effects of coffees out or extra cocktails, and you’ve got a recipe for dehydration. Remember: a good rule of thumb is to take your body weight, divide it in half. That number (in pounds) is the number of ounces you should aim to drink each day (for example: if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be drinking 50 ounces of water every day. Adequate water in-take assures proper cell function and optimal immune system performance.
4.     Get quiet. From time to time, allow yourself the opportunity to escape to a quiet place for the chance to recharge – even if only for 5 minutes. Taking a physical and mental break allows you to avoid becoming over-stimulated and overwhelmed from too much stimuli in your regularly-predicable environment. EVERYONE in the house benefits from this!

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