Between work, family, social gatherings and all of the delicious (yet often times not the healthiest) food during the holiday season, it can often feel overwhelming to prioritize your health. Even though you may have a gym membership and a neighborhood farmers market, sometimes going home to watch Netflix or ordering in sounds much more enticing. As healthcare communications professionals, we are constantly developing messaging related to healthy living and we are up to date on the latest health news. However, are we following our own advice or that of others? Probably not all the time, and for many of us, the holidays are an especially stressful time when it is difficult to do the things we know we should be doing.

There are simple steps that all of us can take – and can encourage our friends and family to take – to ensure we are staying healthy during the much needed holiday break and into the New Year.

Healthy Eating
Fast food, sugary treats and caloric beverages unfortunately surround us everywhere we go. However, the CDC recommends an approach to improving your eating that is easy to implement, especially for those of us who are constantly on the go: REFLECT on your eating habits/triggers, REPLACE your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones and REINFORCE your new eating habits. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating boring – finding healthy versions of your favorite not-so-healthy snacks or recipes is a great way to stay on track.

Mental Well-Being
1 in 5 Americans are living with a mental health condition, yet mental health is often not addressed by family and friends. During the holidays when you are with your loved ones is an ideal time to have an open and honest conversation about your mental health. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) tips for how to discuss mental health with loved ones.

Exercise
If you are looking for more motivation to work out at the end of a long day, remember what research has revealed: working out in a group or with a partner enhances your motivation, the length of your workout and creates healthy competition, encouraging you to keep up with your peers.

While the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (ODPHP) Physical Activity Guidelines still recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic workouts per week (that’s about 21 minutes-43 minutes per day), the guidelines recommend moving and stretching throughout the day to help you reach this goal. Walking around while on the phone (or “exercise snacking”) is already helping you get in your daily exercise!

As Arianna Huffington said, “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.” We’re making a commitment to take some time this holiday season to focus on our health and make some achievable resolutions for the New Year. We hope you’ll join us!