Five tips for staying healthy over the holidays

A woman and children baking in a kitchen, surrounded by holiday decorations
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Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
23 December 2020

This year has taken its toll on everyone. As we look forward to celebrating over the holidays, it’s important to remember to look after ourselves and each other. Virgin Pulse has some great tips for staying healthy during the holidays…

Stay connected

This year, the pandemic has made seeing and spending time with loved ones difficult. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53% of adults in the US reported worsening mental health in 2020. 

Make it a priority this year to reach out to friends and family. Many people are uncomfortable talking about mental health so it can be difficult to know who might be struggling. But reaching out to others can not only give their mental health a much-needed boost, but also your own. Pick up the phone.

A man sitting in an armchair on the phone, with a Christmas tree in the background
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 Get moving

Your body loves to move – and for a number of reasons. The benefits of exercise reach far and wide and support your immediate sense of wellbeing. Crucially, it reduces your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 

But, let’s be honest, motivating yourself to exercise during the winter, when days are shorter and temperatures are colder, is a struggle. There are still plenty of ways that you can stay active at home though – cleaning, dancing, DIY projects and playing with the kids or pets will bump up your step count each day. 

Make room for holiday favourites

The festive season tends to bring many seasonal treats and traditional dishes with it. And that’s OK – give yourself permission to indulge a little. It’s just about finding the right balance.

Eat slowly and savour each bite, especially when it comes to calorie-dense foods. Include as many vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains into every day as possible, these will help fill you up and avoid overeating when it's time for your holiday feast. 

You could also swap in some healthy ingredients to create a more nutritious dish – for example, you could add mashed cauliflower to your normal mashed potato recipe to boost the nutritional benefits. Use this 2020 Holiday Nutrition Toolkit from Virgin Pulse for more ideas.

A woman carving meat at a table surrounded by family
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Be mindful of holiday stress

2020 has already been stressful – and it’s easy for the holiday season to pile it on too. In fact, research shows more than half of us get stressed during the holidays.

Take some time to practise mindfulness and reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Take a look at Virgin Pulse’s tips and strategies to help you cope with stress through the holidays, from how to practice SBNRR (stop-breathe-notice-reflect-respond) to learning about the nine most common stress triggers people face during the season. 

Get some sleep

Sleep is vital to your overall wellbeing. This year, it might not be partying all night that’s stopping you sleeping but stress can also impact the quality and amount of sleep that you’re getting. 

To combat this, develop a good bedtime routine, switch off your devices and prepare yourself for a deep slumber. Virgin Pulse has a suite of useful tips from Dr Matthew Walker on sleep, ranging from how to fall asleep fast to what to absolutely avoid during the evening.

Visit Virgin Pulse to find out more.