Wherever you are this holiday season, here are four tips to help you stay healthy.
1. Put yourself on the top of your priority list.
Being nurses, we never seem to have time for ourselves. Make sure you take a moment during the holidays to relax and recharge. Pay attention to what your body, mind, and spirit need; this will allow you to renew and create reserves of energy and peace. Take care of yourself and give yourself a break if you feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
2. Eat what is right for your body.
Food is always a major theme of holidays; therefore, it is easy to experience holiday weight gain. Just because you are on holidays does not mean you should throw away all of your healthy eating habits. Make sure you always have access to fruits and veggies. Do not force yourself to eat everything, but choose what you most enjoy. Also, try to eat slowly as the brain takes about 20 minutes to let you know you are full. Drink plenty of water and cut back on soda as well as sugary and alcoholic beverages.
3. Stay active.
Staying active during the holidays can help mitigate some extra calories you may be gaining from food intake. Try to plan your workout schedule beforehand because it is easier to stick with it when you have it planned than to try to squeeze it in later. If you will be traveling within the United States, check out the USA Track & Field website for running or walking routes in your destination city.
4. Get enough sleep.
It is important that you maintain your sleep schedule during the holidays. Sleep is foundational to preserving our health and as important to good health as what you eat. Getting less than 7 hours sleep a night increases the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, certain kinds of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Getting enough sleep can help balance your metabolism and improve your cardiovascular health.
The holiday season has almost started and there are less than two months left in 2018. This is the time of year when we can get reflective because it’s always surprising how quickly time passes. It seems like only yesterday when we were all formulating our New Year’s Resolutions.
Are you gobsmacked by how many items still remain on your 2018 to-do list?
Nurses are go-getters. They know how to get things done at work. But sometimes they aren’t as diligent about attacking their own personal goals and dreams. There’s no need to despair if you’re not where you want to be with your resolutions, personal to-do’s, or life “bucket list” items. It’s only common sense that nurses have the option of approaching these final weeks in a couple of ways.
One: you can drive on cruise control for the final days of 2018, resigned to the fact that you probably won’t be getting much accomplished after all. You may even be in a holiday mental fog, simply looking forward to enjoying time off from work, as health care environments generally slow down during this season.
Two: you can put the pedal to the metal and accelerate to reach your goals in the final stretch of this year. And if you’ve already reached your targets (good on you!), then you will try to get a jump-start on the coming year.
That’s not much time, but it can be plenty of time to reach many goals. From buying a new winter scarf to applying for an advanced nursing degree, there’s still an opportunity to take action during November and December.
Still, the temptation is there to take it easy and not push yourself during what is already the most hectic and stressful season, with family gatherings and all the emotional drama that entails for many people.
Another common mistake? Looking to the future and dreaming about how wonderful it’s bound to be—without actually doing what’s necessary now to make it happen.
There is no easy way out, though. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
So, take a load off of your shoulders.
Right now, pick up your calendar, a notebook, and a pen. Make a list of what you’re aiming to accomplish. Research proves that lists have power. It can help make you more organized and productive when you “think it and ink it.” Perhaps it’s because writing activates so many different parts of the brain so it’s easier to remember what you want to get done.
Some items on your list are bound to be meaningful while others will be mundane. The biggies on most people’s lists regard daily living (“conquer procrastination”), dream jobs (or how not to go bonkers at work), romantic relationships, health and wellness, family and friends, and the pursuit of happiness.
Some goals are a bit of both—for instance “drink only hot water with lemon or cold water with cucumber slices” could make a major impact on your health if it replaces sugary sodas.
In any case, you’ll feel awesome come January 1st when you’re able to cross off (check off?) your action items, and get a head start on some others for next year. That’s so much better than starting 2019 from a dead stop after six weeks of holiday frenzy or winter hibernation.
See you tomorrow.