Holiday Wellness Series Part 2: Physical Health

christmas - physical health.jpg

Last post we talked about supporting mental health over the holidays. Some strategies to combat holiday depression and anxiety were: stress management, practicing gratitude, mindfulness and meditation, herbal medicine and supplements. Read on below on how you can support your physical health over the holiday season. 

Supporting Immune health

The immune system is definitely put under more stress throughout the holiday season due to quite a few physical reasons. Here are some of them: 

  • Cold weather (no surprise here) 
    • Use warming herbs and beverages (ex. teas) to help equip your body or "Wei Qi" against "Wind Cold" or "Wind Heat Invasions" or in other words the external cold environment. In Traditional Chinese Medicine cold temperatures and climates are referred to as "Wind Cold" or "Wind Heat" as they come on quickly and suddenly like the wind, 
      • Warming herbs/spices are things like: Cinnamon, Ginger, Garlic, Onions, Cayenne and Chilli Peppers
        • Equip yourself against the cold weather times by ensuring that your immune system is up to par with these strategies: Vitamin D supplementation along with  Echinacea, Vitamin C and Zinc usage when you are actually sick (see my previous immune health post on this here)
  • Poor diet: 
    • High sugar diets and higher alcohol intake have been shown to decrease immune cell parameters (reduce white blood cells and natural killer cells that are some of your body's  first defense mechanisms against the outer environment)

Preventing holiday weight gain

It can be difficult to avoid holiday weight gain when you are constantly bombarded by holiday parties, foods and more. There are several strategies that can be implemented for one to use throughout the holidays:

  • Pre-party snacking:
    • Before going to a holiday party have a healthy snack with protein in it such as hummus with vegetables, mixed nuts and fruit or nut butter on fruit (ex. banana or apple). This will ensure that your blood sugar is stabilized and that you are full going to the holiday event and that you won't go overboard on possible unhealthy snacks full of sugar, trans fats and more 
  • Incorporate simple workout and exercise routines into your day
    • Take the stairs at work or when possible 
    • Park your car farther away in parking lots so you can walk farther 
    • After a meal encourage family/friends to go for a light walk

What are some of your favourite holiday tips to support your physical health? Stay tuned for the upcoming post on Gluten and Dairy-free holiday recipes/baking!