This week's guest blog comes from Dr. Thorin Gault in Cornwall, ON. He has some great timely advice on how to stay healthy over the holidays.
A reminder that the office is open over the holidays with reduced hours. Please call ahead 613-761-1600.
Don't Let Your Health Take a Holiday
Whether we like it or not, the holiday season has begun. The lights and trees are starting to go up and soon it will be time for parties, treats, libations and visiting with family.
As all of this fun is happening one of the biggest challenges many people face is that they tend to get sick and cannot fully enjoy all that the season has to offer. It is not a coincidence that flu/cold season tends to start now and I know that chiropractors also see more back and neck pain ‘emergencies’ at this time of year than any other.
When you combine more junk food (which starts with Halloween), a decrease in sun exposure and fresh air, staying out late, more alcohol than usual, and increased financial and family stress you have a recipe for failings in our health that often show up as illness and pain.
So, how do you enjoy the holidays and not end up out of commission? Can you indulge and still stay healthy? The answer is yes if you are smart about it.
The key to staying healthy over the holidays is to continue to do the good things while you indulge in the ‘treats.’ What that means is that while you indulge a little, be sure to continue to keep the habits that make you healthy all year round. Unfortunately many people let it all slide this time of year and end up paying for it.
So, if you know you are going to eat some junk, make sure you are loading up on fresh produce and high quality meat as well. Drink lots of water. If you know you will be out late, schedule some naps and a few quiet nights to minimize the effects. Don’t drop your exercise program. Schedule walks or mediation sessions to be sure your stress levels are handled.
Personally, as the holidays approach I pay even more attention to doing the good things so that I can have lots of fun, stay healthy and go into the new year floor running. Here are some of the steps I take.
Diet is crucial to staying healthy and while I am a self professed sugar addict and love baked goods, I make absolute certain I am eating lots of healthy food each day. Breakfast is a great way to start. I also make sure I load up on green veggies (as well as a green drink supplement) and meat at meal times.
While obviously it is better to get our nutrients from food, supplements really are essential to maximize our health – especially during the winter months. Everyone can benefit from high quality vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotic supplementation at this time of year. I also supplement vitamin C, magnesium and zinc and have seen wonderful results since doing so.
Physical exercise is a great way to stay healthy over the holidays, yet so many people let this slide. I use the extra time off of work to make sure I am physically active on a daily basis over the holidays (it is now a tradition in my house to do a squat session on Christmas day). It does not have to be complicated or elaborate, especially if you are travelling. Go for a hike, do some bodyweight exercises, visit a gym in the town you are in. It doesn’t matter, just move! It will keep you healthy.
Despite my Nordic appearance I really don’t like being outside in the cold and this is a challenge because fresh air is very important to our health. Shovel some snow, go skating, build a snow man, walk to the coffee shop. Get out and breathe the air.
Because it is impossible to eliminate or ‘fight’ stress at this time of year it is important to make sure the effects of that stress are not physically accumulating towards a crisis. I meditate daily which helps with this and my biggest weapon is the Neuro Optimization chiropractic care I receive for myself. I much prefer to stay on top of things instead of waiting until I have an emergency on my hands.
Start now to ensure you have a fun AND healthy and happy holiday season. Commit to the good so that you can indulge in some ‘bad.’
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.