The holidays are often a time of joyful experiences, but they can also bring about unique health challenges. During the season of giving, it’s still important to take care of yourself; we hope to provide a few tips to stay healthy this winter.
- Talk about vaccination status: Most of the breakthrough COVID cases among residents on Campus have resulted from family gatherings. Before planning your holiday get together, talk with your loved ones about who will be in attendance and be sure they’ve all been vaccinated.
- Be mindful of medications: With winter allergy, cold, and flu season upon us, be mindful of over-the-counter medications, which can have unintended side effects. For example, medications that have sedating or pain mediating effects, such as decongestants and cough syrups, can lead to confusion. Consult your doctor before taking beginning new over the counter medications for cold symptoms, and always being aware of multi-symptom products that treat coughing, sneezing, pain, etc. These medications can contain similar ingredients to medications you are already taking, which can put one at risk of overdose.
- Healthy healing alternatives: Try alternatives to over the counter cold and allergy medications, such as resting, drinking more fluids, saline nasal sprays, and drinking honey in your tea for coughing.
- Winter workouts: It’s easy to fall away from your usual exercise routine during the holidays but maintaining an exercise regime for 30 minutes a day helps boost your mood and energy levels and improves sleep quality. Try to carve out regular time for yourself to prioritize walks and healthy activity even on busy days.
- Seasonal schedule: Keeping a usual medication and sleep schedule, especially if you are travelling, also boosts your immune system and energy levels. Aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day and be consistent in taking your medications on time. If traveling, have an updated copy of your medication list with you, along with your labeled medications and pill organizer. Before you leave for a trip, make sure you have enough medications for the duration of the trip and for the days after you return, so you won’t need to rush to refill medications.
- Holiday food and spirits: Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging during the holidays, but it is important to stick to your regular diet as closely as possible. It’s okay to treat yourself, but eat rich, fatty and sugary foods in moderation and add more vegetables to your holiday plate. This season is also a time when people are more likely to drink alcohol at parties and gatherings. Studies show that regular drinkers have a tendency to over-imbibe during the holidays, while many holiday drinkers who do not drink regularly need to be aware of their lower alcohol tolerance. Be mindful of the risk of confusion and falls when drinking and ask your physician or pharmacist about how alcohol interacts with your specific medications.
Keep these tips in mind and enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season this winter!!