Holidays

Ways Seniors Can Stay Healthy and Happy This Holiday Season

While the holidays are generally a happy time of year, it can be stressful and isolating (especially this year) for some. If you find the holidays are hectic and stressful, then know you’re not alone. The good news is there are plenty of ways you can stay healthy and happy this year! Making a few lifestyle changes and planning for the upcoming season can make all the difference in how you feel.

Follow along as we explore ways seniors can stay healthy and happy this holiday season!

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Wash Your Hands Often

We should all be washing our hands properly and regularly all year round but especially during cold and flu season. Key tips for washing hands effectively include washing your hands at least a few times a day including after every trip to the bathroom, as well as after being in public places where you’re exposed to many germs.

Some best practices include lathering your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinsing your hands, and thoroughly drying your hands with a clean towel or air dryer. Practicing these steps is important because germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects causing the spread of viruses and bad bacteria.

 

Schedule Visits with Loved Ones

Whether you feel isolated every year around the holidays or particularly this year given the current climate, there are ways you can prevent the feeling of isolation. For starters, if this is allowed according to the current guidelines in your city, you could schedule a socially distanced visit with the people you love. This can be done outdoors such as going for a walk or enjoying each other’s company in a park.

If visiting with family isn’t allowed or you don’t feel comfortable, you can also schedule a virtual visit through video chat. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if using a device or app is difficult for you!

Stay Up-To-Date on Vaccines

Many of us were vaccinated at a young age but did you know staying up to date on your vaccines well into our later years is just as important? Vaccines provide us with immunity from diseases to help keep us healthy. Seniors are particularly at risk for certain diseases thanks to a change in the immune system as well as living situations such as assisted living.

There are several vaccines seniors should consider. These include the influenza vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, shingles vaccine, hepatitis A and B vaccine, as well as a few others. That said, not all seniors should get the same vaccines so make sure you speak to your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of each.

Take Care of Your Immune System

Our immune system has an imperative job of protecting us from harmful diseases like the flu and that’s why taking care of it is so important. Cold and flu season is also in full swing during the holidays which is even more reason to strengthen it.

There are several healthy habits that can boost your immune system and decrease your chances of contracting contagious and chronic illnesses. These include getting the flu vaccine, eating a healthy diet, staying active, and, getting plenty of rest. And whatever you do, try and stay away from these habits that hinder immune health.

Manage Stress

Being stressed from time to time is completely normal but chronic stress is not. If you feel stressed during the holidays it’s time to make some changes.

Some signs and symptoms of stress include jaw and mouth pain, hair loss, bizarre recurring dreams, stomach problems, muscle twitching, headaches, and more. Be on the lookout for these symptoms and make sure you get your stress under control as soon as possible.

Some great ways seniors can reduce stress is to follow a routine (even during the holidays), focus on one task at a time, take time for yourself, keep your home clutter-free and organized, and use a calendar to keep track of important dates.

Stay Active

There are many benefits of regular exercise for seniors from reducing your risk of falling to warding off chronic diseases and maintaining your independence. Unfortunately, inactivity increases with age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, “By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.”

The good news is you can stay healthy this holiday season by staying active. You can do this by going for a daily walk, trying at-home exercises, or you can Step up to these easy exercises for seniors. Just make sure you speak with your doctor before starting a new workout regimen.

Decrease Gifts

Are you feeling financially stressed? Or do you find gift giving overwhelming? If that’s the case then maybe this year you should decrease the number of gifts you give. After all, it’s the quality time spent with those you love that matters most!

This year, why don’t you give a non-material gift like an experience. This can be a coffee or dinner date, volunteering your time together, a spa day, or a cooking class. The options are endless and may alleviate a lot of the stress of gift-giving.

Eat Healthy Meals

Eating healthy meals even during the holidays is an important part of staying healthy and it will help prevent holiday weight gain. The holidays are also often busy but make sure you stick to your regular meal routine to ensure you don’t overindulge.

You’ll also want to control your food portions during holiday dinners and make sure you don’t overload your plate. Some people find it helpful to use a smaller plate which forces you to control your portions.

Make sure you load up on lots of fresh fruits and veggies, plenty of fiber, and adequate protein. For more ideas check out these everyday foods all seniors should be eating!

Get Adequate Sleep

The holidays can be both exciting and stressful which may wreak havoc on your sleeping pattern. That said, getting adequate sleep is essential to staying healthy during the holidays. Not only will it help prevent weight gain but it’ll also ensure you have enough energy for your daily activities.

It’s worth noting, healthy adults require about 7 to 9-hours of sleep per night. If you need help sleeping then check out these sleeping tips for seniors!

Drink in Moderation

Not only do we enjoy an abundance of delicious food and treats during the holidays but we also enjoy many different drinks. From eggnog and hot cocoa to wine and fancy alcoholic drinks, the options are endless.

Unfortunately, many of these drinks are loaded with refined sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that aren’t good for us. While we aren’t suggesting you forgo these drinks altogether we do recommend that you enjoy in moderation to stay healthy. Don’t forget to drink water — it’s free of calories and hydrates your body!

Enjoy Hobbies and Recreational Activities

Last but surely not least make sure you partake in hobbies and activities that you enjoy doing. You can enjoy them solo or grab a friend or spouse and do them together.

Some great healthy winter activities include indoor swimming, baking and cooking, crafting, joining a book club, and so much more! Taking time for yourself will make you happy, especially during the holidays.

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.

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