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Thriving Through the Holidays: Six Tips for Older Adults

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Maintaining a focus on personal health and safety is especially important at this time of year. These six tips can help you have a more enjoyable, healthy, and injury-free holiday season.

Nourish Your Body:
Maintaining energy levels while nourishing our bodies requires a balance between indulgence and eating healthily. Portion management is key, as is eating only until you are satisfied rather than full. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein are essential parts of a balanced diet and should be consumed moderately during the holiday season. “Eat what you love in moderation,” suggests Jody Engel, a nutritionist and registered dietitian at NIH.

Hydration Matters:
It’s easy to lose track of how much water you are drinking during the busy holidays. Adequate hydration is essential for sustaining energy, increasing alertness, facilitating digestion, and protecting brain health. If you consume alcohol, drink plenty of water before, during, and after. According to Healthline, alcohol “causes your body to remove fluid at a much quicker rate than other liquids.”

Stay Active: Moving and staying active year-round is especially important during the colder months. Plan time for exercise, such as light yoga or strolling through the mall. When venturing outdoors, protect yourself from the elements by layering your clothing, and keeping your mouth and nose covered. Be mindful of icy paths to avoid falls by wearing appropriate footwear with non-slip soles. Also, consider aids like a cane or walker when needed.

Relax and Recharge:
During this potentially stressful time of year, it’s important to prioritize self-care and effective stress management for our mental and emotional well-being. Setting reasonable goals for the use of our resources (time, money, and energy) is crucial. We can decrease our stress by scheduling downtime and by practicing mindfulness including relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation and listening to music.

Mind Your Medications:
Our daily routines can easily be sidetracked during the busy holidays. It’s important to remember to maintain your medication schedule and doses as prescribed by your doctor. Using a pillbox with compartments for each day provides a visual reminder to take medication and avoid taking two doses at once. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a family member or friend if needed.

Protect Yourself: Many infections spread more rapidly over the holiday season. Other health risks, such as COVID-19 concerns, can be addressed by encouraging vaccinations, practicing hand hygiene, staying home while sick, and avoiding close contact with others who are in your close space.

The key to a safe and enjoyable holiday is balancing fun with self-care. By following these six tips to stay healthy and safe over the holidays you will thrive and enjoy the season with peace of mind, knowing you are safeguarding your health and well-being.

Happy Holidays!

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