It’s highly likely that you’re gearing up for a big Thanksgiving holiday weekend. You might be traveling. You might be hosting family in your home.
Whatever your plans, they are probably very different from your typical routine.
Though holidays are often fun and exciting times, they are also often a perfect storm for sickness.
We eat food we typically don’t. We go places we typically don’t. We pack extra activities into our schedules that we typically don’t. Is it any wonder that many families find someone sick around the holidays?
Holidays don’t have to equate sickness, though. Implementing a few extra healthy habits before holiday activities begin, and being careful in a few areas while you’re enjoying the festivities can go a long way in reducing your chances of sickness.
Our family often travels across the state during holidays. And pretty consistently, a child would get sick there or shortly after returning home.
I started to dread the semi-annual trek for holiday visits, but then something key came to my attention. I wasn’t being proactive enough!
I’ve found these seven steps to be very helpful for us during the holidays. They should also offer some great ideas to get you started as you prepare for a healthy holiday season or any time of extra activity and stress.
Choose Sweet Treats Wisely
There are so many yummy indulgences tempting us at holiday parties! I think that it is really important to enjoy the season and not worry too much about keeping perfect eating habits. This can be especially important with children!
Going overboard can cost us, though.
We’ve found it helpful to allow our children (and ourselves) one treat at each party. I try to encourage them to choose treats that don’t have artificial colors and are homemade. Sweet drinks are off-limits for our family as a personal preference.
We scope out the selection and carefully make our choice, then savor each bite after a good meal.
Bring a Healthy Addition
Most family meals need everyone to bring a dish or two to share. I often like to bring a healthy addition that I know everyone will enjoy. Things like homemade rolls or desserts (made with real food ingredients and less sugar) are a real treat to everyone!
Load Up on Probiotics
This step has been the biggest help for our family!
When we eat more sugar than usual, get less rest, and are just under more stress from holidays, our gut flora can become imbalanced. Since our gut and our immune system are connected, that often leads to sickness.
A few days before we travel (or a week before if I’m really thinking!) I try to be sure we take an extra probiotic supplement. We already drink water kefir and use milk kefir in smoothies, but the extra probiotics have really made a difference.
Consider Some Supplements
Depending on your family’s situation, you might find additional supplements to be helpful during busy holiday times.
- Adaptogens are herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress. Astragalus is a very common, safe, and effective adaptogen. It is often taken as an extract.
- Liver support can help our detoxifying organ. Milk thistle is a great liver support, as is dandelion. Dandelion can be enjoyed in a tea and milk thistle taken as an extract.
- Elderberry stimulates the immune system and helps fight off viral infections. It is often taken as a syrup.
- Garlic, though we may not think of it as a supplement, is a wonderful antimicrobial food! Enjoying extra garlic in your meals is a great way to supplement, though of course you can purchase prepared garlic supplements, too.
- Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3s and beneficial fatty acids. It’s helps calm inflammation in the body, too.
My favorite places to get these herbs and supplements are through my affiliates Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, and Vitacost. If you use my Vitacost referral link, you can get $10 off your first order of $30 or more!
Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils don’t just smell nice. Many offer unique antimicrobial properties! The scents also help with mood and stress levels.
You certainly want to be sure that the oils you choose are safe to use in your particular situation, especially if you have infants and children or are pregnant.
Lavender oil is one of the safest oils to use, but lemon, lime, and and sweet orange are great choices to diffuse, too! These oils will also offer antimicrobial properties and help clean the air of harmful microbes.
Don’t Forget to Rest
I know. Sleep. The obvious answer.
But it’s true. It’s so easy to neglect to rest when we’re busy with holidays, but it just can’t be overstated. Our bodies, and especially little growing bodies, need sleep to recover and recharge for a new day. When they get run down, we just can’t fight off infection like we need to.
Watch Your Stress Levels
As enjoyable as holidays can be, they can also bring a hefty dose of stress. Certain family relationships may be strained. Loading and unloading children into vehicles to drive all over creation isn’t easy. Expectations may be too high for a just-right meal.
Be gentle on yourself and give yourself grace for the extra activity. Don’t be afraid to leave a party early or simplify your plans if needed!
What helps you stay healthy during busy or stressful seasons of life?