Holiday busyness got you down? These simple tips for healthy holiday alternatives will help you keep the season merry and bright.
- Wrap happily. Wrapping gifts can be a real pain in the back and neck, especially if you’re sitting on the floor. The most comfortable way to wrap is to stand on a mat in front of a countertop.
- Let lips linger. One kiss-and-tell survey showed that couples who smooch frequently are eight times less likely to feel stressed or depressed. Meet under the mistletoe as often as you can for a little therapy.
- Drink (chocolate) in merriment. Eating dark chocolate — in moderation, of course — has been shown to reduce blood pressure in some studies. Heat 3/4 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just before boiling. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mug. Stir in 1 ounce coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate pieces. Let stand for about 30 seconds, then stir to combine.
- Indulge carefully. If you have holiday parties to attend, you know how easy it can be to fill up on cheese puffs and Swedish meatballs. Before you dig in at any event, take a lap around the food table and come up with a strategy. Identify healthier alternatives that you can mostly stick to (such as shrimp, raw veggies, hummus and olives) and pick out just one or two treats you’ll try.
- Make joyful noise. Grab some friends and go caroling, or just pipe up in the privacy of your own home. Studies show the forceful exhalations that come with singing can help protect the upper respiratory system from infection.
- Rest your weary head. The holidays can be overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to rejuvenate with a quick power nap.
- Examine your sole. Holiday shopping can take a toll on your feet as well as your wallet. When you get home, put a towel around one foot, grasp both ends of the towel and pull your toes toward you for 15 seconds, then release. Do this until you feel the soreness slip away. Then switch feet.
- Wander in wonder. Don’t drive to see the best-decorated houses in your neighborhood; walk instead. You’ll reap the rewards of a closer look while squeezing in some exercise.
- Light the night. In the winter months, the lack of sun can make even the cheeriest sorts a little gloomy. Make your home as bright as possible with extra lights and candles. Take a walk outdoors around lunchtime when the sun is at its brightest.