By Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer

The holiday season can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional health. The coming month will be filled with holiday gatherings full of food, fun, family and cheers. Don’t let all the tasting, toasting and family frenzy harm your health. There are a few simple steps you can take to help you stay healthy and reduce stress this holiday season.

  • Relax. Don’t stress the small stuff. Don’t try to live up to unrealistic expectations when it comes to family and the holidays.
  • Make self-care a priority. Remember to schedule “you” time, maybe a trip to the gym or just relaxing for a bit at home and make sure you get enough sleep. This will help keep stress levels low and your immune system stronger.
  • Don’t skip meals. Often people are so busy during the holidays they don’t eat on a normal schedule or purposely skip meals so they can save the calories for indulging at a party. This can lead to over-eating later and poor food choices which equal lots of extra calories.
  • Remember portion control. Pick and choose your favorite treats at holiday parties; you don’t have to try everything. Try to only have a bite or two to curb the craving, not the whole serving.
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy food. Have healthy snacks on hand for a quick bite. You may be tempted with delicious holiday goodies everywhere else you go during the holiday season but your home should be a healthy food zone.
  • Get some exercise. Just because you don’t have time to get to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get in a quick workout. Speed walking through the mall with shopping bags, cleaning, or taking a walk during your lunch break are good ways to get in a little exercise everyday.
  • Keep your plate balanced. Make some room for fruit and vegetables on your plate at holiday parties and buffets.
  • Wash your hands often. With all the extra human contact the holidays bring its important to wash your hands frequently to keep the bad germs at bay.
  • Get a flu shot. Getting vaccinated for seasonal influenza is the single best way to prevent the flu.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Keeping a good sense of humor through the holidays will help you keep your sanity through the stress of holidays. Just keep smiling through this holiday season.
  • If you are ill, stay home.  Or, if you must go to work, keep your distance from your fellow workers.  Do your best this season to spread love, not the bug.
  • Cough into your sleeve.  Spare your hands, in case you feel compelled to shake hands.


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