We’re going to be upfront with you here: Baseline health is not trendy or exciting. It’s run-of-the-mill stuff. But that doesn’t make it easy to maintain during the holidays. So we pulled together the three most important areas. If you can get these in order, you’ll be cruising through your holiday in a really healthy way!
1. Boost your sleep
It may seem like sleep is the cure for everything these days—from weight loss to Alzheimer’s— but getting sleep right really is as important as the hype. Adults need six to eight hours every night to maintain good baseline health—the kind that gets us through flu season unscathed.
But it’s important to note this means “at least” six hours and “not more” than eight. Getting too much sleep isn’t good for us, either.
Naps can reduce our “sleep debt” from a busy week or weekend.
Lower lighting or candles in the evening can encourage us to feel sleepy and get to sleep easier on nights we stay in.
A consistent wake-up time (within one hour or so) can help us offset the disruptions to our circadian rhythms caused by getting to bed too late and can help us make sure we’re not overdoing it, either.
2. Boost your movement
When we think of the holiday season and exercise, we’re usually talking about some kind of guilty motivation. We’re “working off the pie” or “making up for all the cocktails.” But baseline health isn’t about undoing the “bad” (aka fun) stuff. It’s about making sure we get enough physical activity so our body can keep doing what it needs to do to keep us healthy.
Exercise helps everything work more efficiently by using muscle actions to pump fluids and blood through our bodies. It doesn’t even have to be a “workout,” per se, just daily movement to offset all the sitting from visiting.
Harness the benefits of an after-dinner walk.
Try a family game of touch football, capture the flag or a snowball fight!
Indoor activities work, too. Low-key games like bowling and mini-putt are an excellent way to boost your daily movement.
You don’t have to “go hard” to maintain baseline health, you just have to keep moving!
3. Boost your fun
Turns out, a vibrant social life is strongly correlated with a healthy immune system. Researchers in multiple studies have found that loneliness and social isolation suppress various parts of the immune system.
So be sure to spend time with people you enjoy doing fun stuff. Make those phone calls. Read and reread those holiday cards. It’s a simple but a massively important part of staying healthy this holiday!
Video credit: TravnikovStudio, Shutterstock
Photo credit: Victor Freitas, Unsplash; Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock; Ekaterina79, Thinkstock; estherpoon, Thinkstock; Air Images, Shutterstock