It is the most wonderful time (and food) of the year. Every holiday season, family and friends gather around elaborate dinners and party tables, usually confronting an abundance of rich and savory treats. Annual favorites like sugar cookies, candies, egg nog, or maybe a pie made from grandmother’s secret recipe are sure to revive–or create–warm holiday memories.
Everyone has their own cherished holiday snacks and traditions, and overindulging also is a customary part of the celebrations. But if you are not careful, those excessive delights can come with a personal price tag. According to the National Institute of Health, the average person gains almost two pounds during the holiday season. Furthermore, in an American Psychological Association study of 36 men and women, participants gained 500 percent more weight in the weeks surrounding the holidays compared to the rest of the year. In some instances, added holiday pounds can represent more than half of someone’s annual weight gain. Furthermore, that extra weight often stays on, well into the future.
But this year, take the opportunity to make your 2020 “Get in better shape” resolutions easier by starting now. It is possible to be both happy and healthy during a demanding holiday season. It just requires a little extra bit of caution, preparation, and self-control.
Make your own healthy-eating game plan
When you go to a holiday party where you anticipate potential excesses, try a few proactive preventive measures. For example, bring your own healthy dish to eat, have some light snacks ahead of time to avoid an empty stomach, and force yourself to moderate your food portions. Such basic strategies can make a lasting difference in shaping your seasonal consumption.
Focusing on long-term self-control can pay huge dividends, too. The holidays often present tempting treats on a daily basis, but you are never required to eat them. After all, the holiday season lasts a long time, and understanding the right and wrong occasions to indulge will help you maintain a healthy balance through the rest of the year.
Be wary of more than just food
While eating is the most blatant target for extra seasonal pounds, there are plenty of other factors to consider when protecting your health during the holidays. Research published in the Journal of Obesity has found that seasonal distractions of shopping, planning, decorating, and socializing make it substantially less likely for many people to stick with a regular exercise routine.
There also is the pressure of holiday-related stress. Given relentless seasonal obligations and responsibilities, you might experience a shortage of sleep — and sanity. This year, make sure to find time for yourself. Stress is a well-known contributor to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers; it also can lead to temperament changes and affect family harmony. Taking a break for a few moments of quiet relaxation now and then can help you successfully decompress.
Winter and the holiday season present other possible health hazards, especially for older adults. Did you know that over 100 American men die of heart failure every year while shoveling snow? When going out in the cold, remember to dress in layers and keep your hands and head covered. Those precautions can help maintain your body’s ability to fight off viruses and infections. When driving in bad weather, it also is advisable to carry a blanket and emergency kit in your car, just in case, and keep your gas tank full.
Add long-term planning to your post-holiday “To-do” list
The suggestions above are smart advice for promoting your physical and emotional health during the holidays. However, no amount of portion control, preventive steps, and exercise will stop the aging process forever. Ideally, we can stay fit and delay the inevitable, but mortality catches up to us all someday.
That is why it is so important to have your personal affairs in order now. To protect your assets and property for your family’s future, you need to have contingency plans in place for your later-life decisions. That means you should obtain the necessary important legal documents, including a Power of Attorney, health directives, a will, and other safeguards.
The experienced elder law attorneys at Cordell Planning Partners can provide insightful guidance to help you understand your options and make plans to protect you and your family –and help to assure happier holidays for years to come.
Cordell Planning Partners even offers free educational workshops, where we explain a range of estate planning strategies and other critical legal steps, all in terms that are easy to understand.