Everyone is getting sick. Our hospitals (and hospital doctors like my husband, Don) are overwhelmed. What can you do to stay healthy?
Nothing is 100% protective, but I wanted to share these 6 self-care strategies to help keep you well during this busy time of year:
1) Get enough sleep: For most adults, 7-8 hours a day are recommended. Follow sleep hygiene recommendations:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
- Stay away from screens close to bedtime.
- If you can't sleep after 20 minutes, go to another room and do a quiet activity until you feel tired.
2) Stay Active: Getting at least 20-30 minutes of exercise a day will help you feel and sleep better, in addition to physical health benefits.
3) Don't drink too much: Alcohol is often a central part of holiday parties, but it can lead to accidents, impair judgement, and interfere with sleep. The effects of alcohol impact short and long-term health. In general, women should limit alcohol to one drink/day (or less), and men can have up to two.
4) Follow a healthy diet: It's tempting to overeat when you're surrounded by seasonal treats. Aim for 5+ servings of fruits and veggies a day and limit snacks, desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Harvard Health has more on avoiding holiday weight gain.
5) Stay up to date with COVID and flu vaccines: Flu cases are rising in many areas, and COVID cases are starting to climb in many places too. Vaccines significantly reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID and flu. Keep a close eye on disease activity in your community, and consider wearing masks and avoiding crowds, especially if case rates creep up.
6) Breathe: The holidays are fun… but can be stressful. Take time to pause, take deep breaths, meditate.
Make sure self-care is one of your top priorities!
Please add your thoughts and your own tips below! Also, check out my monthly columns with Public Health Watch (and sign up for their thoughtful and informative newsletter).