Iâll be celebrating Christmas with my family in a few days and although Iâm really looking forward to it, Iâm going to be fighting a real battle that could put my health at risk.
Holiday Stress Getting to You? Me Too
Due to poor planning and other commitments this season, Iâve gotten virtually no shopping done. Iâll be battling crowds with a bunch of other tired folks, coughing and sniffling all over the place. Stress will be high and patience will be low.
Next, Iâm off across town for a few days, where my family and I will be packed into my parentsâ house. Donât get me wrong; I totally love it. But the quarters are a tiny bit tight. There will be a bunch of people around and weâll all be practically sleeping in a pile!
Thankfully Iâve experienced all of this before and have a holiday survival guide to help keep me healthy in the face of immune system-busting stress. And because âtis the season, Iâd like to share it with you:
My Holiday Stress Survival Guide
Youâve only got so much power here, but a few things can really help. The first is to know exactly what youâre looking for and have a plan of attack. This way you donât get caught window shopping and wasting time. The less time youâre at the mall, the better. I also try to go early in the morning before the crowds show up. Lastly, I try to shop in standalone stores instead of malls. Crowds seem to be less intense and a little more respectful!
When I go to my parentsâ place for a couple of days I bring my sneakers so I can get out for a walk or a jog. This is a great way to relieve a little bit of holiday stress, burn some calories, and help metabolize some of the sugar (thereâs a lot of maple syrup flowing at my family Christmas table).
Immune-Boosting Breakfast Foods
Because there are so many people to feed, the cooking gets split up. Iâll handle the breakfasts as well as a side dish or two for the feature dinner, and Iâll pick foods that boost immunity, fight inflammation, and keep my family full and energized (so stress doesnât kick in!). Because there are a lot of people in close quarters, and most of the grown-ups are a little run down, eating nutrient-rich foods that help boost the immune system are really helpful. Some of the foods Iâll use for breakfast include:
- Protein-rich egg whites
- Vitamin-rich whole eggs
- Fresh fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries, sliced apple, pear, pineapple, and kiwi
- Whole-grain oats
- Hot peppers
- Whole-grain blueberry pancakes (my own mix) and sugar-free syrup
Sneak in the Healthy Snacks
There will also be no shortage of junk food options and booze around, so I also make sure I pack and stock the fridge with fruit and veggies. Snacking on these items saves all kinds of calories, while protecting against energy and mood fluctuations.
Have Two Drinks of Water for Every Alcohol Serving
Drinking as much water as possible is also a priority to keep me feeling good and healthy, and Iâll try to maintain an alcohol-water ratio of 2:1. It might sound lame, but it definitely makes Christmas morning with the kids a little easier to handle!