Heart Health

Keep Your Heart Safe During the Holidays

As the year draws close, we must review our 2022 accomplishments and plan for an even better 2023. The holidays are undoubtedly joyous occasions; however, they can also be sources of tremendous stress and anxiety - leading too often to heart-related issues or worse. Studies have shown that this period from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day is dangerous for heart health and can lead to stroke or heart attack. To foster healthy longevity during this critical calendar period, let us heed some easy tips on behaving before, during, and after holidays!
Before holidays
1. Beat Holiday Stress 
It's no surprise that the holiday season can be stressful. Between work, traffic, holiday shopping, late-night gatherings, financial issues, illnesses, and family obligations, it's easy to get overwhelmed. For optimal well-being during this period, proactive planning is key! Preparing your schedule in advance helps manage activities so that you stay calm by all there is to do. Additionally, taking intentional breaks for yourself will help nourish overall vitality throughout the holiday season. Some ideas that help you relax and destress - are getting a massage at home, spending extra time doing your favorite exercise routine, watching a movie, booking an overnight staycation in town, or exploring nature nearby.
2. Get Enough Sleep 
Getting enough sleep is essential for good health all year round, especially during the holidays when our days are often jam-packed with activities. Try not to stay up too late partying or shopping; instead, make sure you get 7-9 hours each night, so your body has time to rest and recharge for the next day. Try taking a nap in the afternoon when things slow down and allow yourself some extra rest before tackling a new task or event later in the evening. 
3. Don't Wait Until January To Start Your Exercise Routine 
The holidays can be hectic, but start your exercise routine before the new year. Staying active during this period can help you control your food choices, reduce stress, and keep you energized throughout the festivities. If you have limited time, consider squeezing in short bursts of activity, such as a brisk walk around the block or a few minutes spent stretching between party preparations. 
During holidays
4. Eat In Moderation 
It's easy to get carried away with festive meals at this time of year but try to keep portions under control by eating slowly and mindfully instead of stuffing yourself with large amounts of food. It's also best to avoid eating late at night as it can harm your health if you have existing medical conditions such as heart problems, digestive issues, or diabetes. If preparing a traditional celebration meal for yourself or your family, look for healthier ingredients like lean meats or fish and add plenty of vegetables into the mix. Boiling or baking foods instead of deep-frying them can also reduce unhealthy fats that may increase your risk of developing heart disease over time.  
5. Limit Alcohol Intake 
Alcohol consumption is another factor that can affect physical and mental health during the holidays, so try not to go overboard when celebrating with friends or family members. Taking too much alcohol makes you likely to have holiday heart syndrome, also known as alcohol-induced atrial arrhythmias. It is caused by excessive intake of alcohol on holidays and other festive occasions. The underlying cause of this medical condition is an irregular heartbeat brought about by high levels of ethanol consumption. Consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day (for women) and two alcoholic drinks per day (for men). Opt for lower-alcohol beverages such as light beers or wine spritzers over full-strength brews, as they usually contain fewer calories than traditional beer varieties.
After holidays
6. Financial Wellness
Try to manage your expenses better as you prepare for holiday festivities. It is crucial to check your financial status before, during, and after the holiday season. Also, creating a budget will help you track your spending throughout the year. This way, you can avoid overspending during the holidays and create financial stability in the long run.

7. Balance Your Life
Prioritizing what is essential should be a focus when planning for the upcoming year. Many individuals need to remember their well-being while preparing for the holidays! Taking some time out of your schedule to relax or practice self-care activities can help reduce stress levels which in turn helps maintain physical health. Additionally, seeking professional help, if needed, can decrease anxiety levels and increase emotional well-being. 

8. Plan Ahead
Planning will give you more control over how events play out during such a hectic season. For instance, meal prepping could save you last-minute trips to the grocery store or eating unhealthy takeaway meals due to lack of preparation. Furthermore, having an idea of what needs to get done before or after the holidays will give you peace of mind knowing all tasks have been completed without feeling overwhelmed by them closer to the date itself. 

9. Medical Check-Up
Make an appointment with your doctor as early as possible to have a physical check-up and set goals for your health and fitness going into 2023. The results from your check-up can help you plan the correct physical activities, food intake, medications, and supplements for optimal health throughout the year. 

With 2023 in sight, safeguarding our cardiovascular health should be top of mind as we approach the festive season. Taking preventive action allows one to enjoy joyous moments without compromising heart well-being. By following these easy tips, we can foster healthier habits going into next year, which will lead us on our path toward success! 

Happy Holidays everyone!

Respectfully yours,