CareNow® - December 27, 2017

While the holidays are full of fun and festivities, they can also be extremely stressful. This stress can result in a number of negative consequences such as sickness and weight gain. However, by taking care of yourself this time of year, you can ensure you’re the best version of yourself possible—allowing you to do more with friends and family!

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Stress Relief Tips

People have a tendency to set high expectations for everything to be perfect during the holidays and then feel stressed out when everything doesn't go as planned. So how can you avoid the extra stress that comes with the holiday season?

  • Uni-task when possible

Taking on too much at one time is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. Whenever you have something enjoyable on your to-do list, such as baking cookies or putting up decorations, take a moment and focus on the task at hand. Give yourself a break from everything else on your to-do list and enjoy the moment.

  • Create a playlist

Everything's more enjoyable with music — especially holiday music. In fact, studies have proven that music can reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure and even take away anxiety. So the next time you're feeling stressed, crank up that Bing Crosby and relax.Go for a walk

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise and get some vitamin D by going for a stroll. Get up and move for at least 5-10 minutes and let yourself forget about everything you have to do.

  • Find your happy place

Are some of your best memories from this time of the year? Being around family is wonderful. Find your happy place this holiday. Try not to stress too much and bask in the holiday joy. It’ll make the holidays that more enjoyable.

  • Unwind

Having family around can be stressful. It’s important that you take some time and unwind once everyone has left your home. It’s okay to be lazy for a little bit. If you end up feeling exhausted after the fun holiday celebration, take some time for yourself. Catch up on sleep and do whatever it is that makes you relax the most.

Keeping Your Weight In Check

Many people allow themselves to overeat this time of year. Whether it’s the stress of the season or the abundance of gatherings, most people tend to lighten up on their diets. There’s no reason to restrict yourself, but you should keep an eye on your eating habits to ensure your weight doesn’t get out of control during the holiday season.

  • Drink plenty of water and eat right

We cannot stress the importance of drinking plenty of water. Water is essential to keeping your cells healthy and rejuvenated. By staying hydrated you can stave off infections and viruses.

It’s also crucial to eat the right way. By this we mean you should eat slower and eat smaller portions. Eating slowly will aid the digestive system and help you control portion sizes. If you eat too fast, the digestive system won’t be able to keep up and food will not break down properly. Also, your stomach cannot keep track of how much food you have consumed, so you are more likely to overeat. Slowing down will allow your stomach to tell you’ve eaten enough.

  • Make sleep a priority

In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to skimp on sleep. Your body provides a lot of self-maintenance, but it needs rest to get the work done. Poor sleeping habits lead to poor habits in your everyday life. Start getting the sleep you deserve. You’ll feel much better and it will make staying healthy that much easier.

  • Exercise

While nutrition and rest are great, you can’t forget physical fitness. Even just 30 minutes of activity will go a long way. You can even break up your exercise into two to three segments. We recommend taking a 10-minute walk everyday as one of your daily exercises. Get up and get your body moving and your blood circulating.

 

Avoiding Sickness

It’s that time of year again. It’s not unusual to wake up with a sore throat, suffer from congestion or even catch the flu during the fall and winter months. If you come down with a sickness tis year, it’s essential to know as much as possible about the illness so you can recover as quickly as possible.

  • The common cold

Although colds can strike at any time of the year, they peak during winter. Over 1 billion people will develop a cold each year in the United States. Symptoms vary depending on the strain, but usually include nasal congestion, scratchy throats and sneezing.

There’s no surefire way to combat the common cold, but plenty of rest and fluids, paired with decongestants and cough syrup, will definitely help. Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can also help add moisture to air and loosen congestion.

  • Seasonal allergies

It’s easy to confuse the common cold with seasonal allergies, but there’s a big difference between the two. While there is no cure for seasonal allergies, here are a few winter health tips you can utilize to keep them at bay.

  • Take your allergy medicine every day
  • Get plenty of vitamin C
  • Avoid the outdoors especially when it is dry and windy
  • Shower after you’ve been outside to remove pollen
  • Don’t hang laundry outdoors
  • Seek consultation with an allergist

If you notice your throat feeling sore during high-pollen seasons and you are also experiencing sneezing, then seasonal allergies may be at fault. 

  • Runny nose

Commonly associated with the common cold and seasonal allergies, a runny nose is ultimately harmless, but can be annoying. If you’ve got a runny nose, it is likely caused by allergies, a cold, sinus infection or the flu.

The best type of over-the-counter cold medication for a runny nose is an antihistamine. This type of medication relieves symptoms like sneezing, runny noses and itchy watery eyes. Some of the most popular options are Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec. You can also apply a warm compress over your forehead and nose to help alleviate sinus pressure and congestion.

  • Congestion

Nasal congestion is caused by a variety of things. During the winter, it’s usually a result of allergens or a cold. Congestion occurs when your nasal passage becomes irritated. The membranes in your nose create extra mucus in attempt to flush out the irritant.

Here are a couple things you can do to lessen the effects of congestion:

  • Get plenty of fluids.Staying hydrated is one of the most well known ways to beat congestion. According to WebMD.com, you should always try and drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water every day. Drinking enough fluid keeps you hydrated and prevents your throat from aching.
  • Don’t sniff it back in.Don’t hold the mucus in! If you are able to get it out, do it. You’ll have less pressure in your head.

If you’re looking for a quick way to knock out that stuffy nose, try the following:

  • Get into a hot shower and breathe in the steam. Try placing a wet washcloth directly on your face for maximum effect.
  • Try an over-the-counter saline spray.
  • Sleep with a humidifier next to your bed.
  • Put an extra pillow under your head at night.

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If you're looking for more healthy tips and up-to-date medical information, check in on the CareNow® blog regularly. At CareNow®, our independent practitioners provide a full range of urgent care services.

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Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.