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Published on December 15, 2016

Creating a healthy holiday season

Michelle Peterson, ARNP

Michelle Peterson, ARNP

For many people, the holiday season can be stressful. Shopping, decorating, writing cards, baking holiday treats, making travel plans and entertaining family and friends all add to a list that's already full. 

But according to Michelle Peterson, ARNP, you can help manage holiday stress with the following suggestions and enjoy this wonderful time of the year.

Avoid overeating and drinking

Big family meals and holiday treats of every variety can make overeating and drinking tough to avoid, but there are simple steps you can take to consume in moderation and avoid packing on extra pounds.

Eat something light before leaving for a holiday party so you don't overeat once you get there.

  • For a potluck party, bring a healthy dish to pass.
  • Don't deprive yourself. It's fine to sample holiday goodies, but remember portion size.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation. Don't drive after drinking, and don't ride with a driver who has been drinking.
  • If you are hosting a holiday party, serve creative and enticing non-alcoholic options.

Prioritize tasks

Set reasonable expectations about what you can or cannot accomplish during the holidays.

Ask yourself, "What do I need to check off my list to enjoy the holidays?" If baking treats and sending out cards isn't at the top of the list and you find you don't have time to get to them, don't worry about it.

"It's ok to delegate duties, too," suggests Michelle. "For example, you don't have to cook the entire holiday dinner. Ask other family members to bring a dish for the meal."

Budget, budget, budget!

To avoid the stress of overspending this holiday season, develop a budget. Have conversations with your family about realistic gift giving. Also, don't spend more than you can afford.

"Instead of buying gifts, give the gift of time by offering to clean, shovel snow or help a loved one, friend or neighbor with other projects around their home," Michelle comments. "Other gift alternatives could include baked goods, crafts or a donation to someone's favorite charity."

Care for your body

If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.  Avoid fatigue and a lowered immune system by getting enough sleep and keeping a regular exercise routine.

"The holiday season should be enjoyable," says Michelle, "Take pleasure in what's around you and make the holiday season the celebration it's meant to be!"

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