With the holidays right around the corner (Holy Toledo! Christmas is in 11 days!) everyone is hustling and bustling around trying to accomplish an inhuman amount of tasks in record time. The last thing that any of us needs right now is to get sick. Not only will it put a major cramp in our productivity, but it’s just no fun to be sick during the holidays!
Lucky for you, I put together a quick list of things that you can do to help avoid getting sick this holiday season!
(Psssst…wanna know how I know what to do? Because I didn’t take my own advice… and I just wound up sick this week. Boo!)
5 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick Over the Holidays
1. Wash your hands!
We’ve all heard this one a million times, and that’s because it’s true! Washing your hands is the number one way to avoid spreading germs this holiday season. Personally, I am not a fan of the antibacterial hand sanitizers, but they work in a pinch. I much prefer good, old-fashioned soap and warm water. Either way, make sure you wash your hands often, and especially before you eat!
2. Get your sleep!
Being run-down and exhausted comes with the territory this time of year. Like I mentioned above, we are all trying to do a ridiculous amount of things over a 2-3 week period, and if you don’t slow down, your body will slow you down with illness! Trust me… I know. =( Shoot for a minimum of 7 hours a night, although 8-9 is better for most people. And naps by the fire count, too!
3. Stay hydrated!
Unfortunately this does not mean with wine and beer. It means with pure water. Being dehydrated can be a “tipping point” for getting sick, so make sure you stay hydrated. Keep in mind there is a lot of debate over how much water is appropriate for an individual, so let thirst be your guide, and drink accordingly. If you have absolutely no clue how much water to drink, I have found about .5 oz per lb of body weight to be a good starting point. You may want to drink more if you’re extremely active, sweat a lot, or you are in a hot climate, and you can probably get away with less if you’re relatively sedentary, eat a lot of water-rich foods, and/or you’re in a cool climate.
4. Take your vitamin D!
Yes, that is D, not C. Vitamin D, which is actually an extremely powerful prohormone, has a dramatic effect on cell and gene function. While there are conflicting studies regarding whether or not optimal Vitamin D levels actually help prevent colds/flu’s, in my experience, I’ve noticed a huge difference. I used to be in my Doctor’s office 3-5 times a year with some kind of cold. Over the last few years since I have optimized my Vitamin D levels, I’ve been sick approximately once a year. I’ve also noticed that if I start feeling a little funky, mega-dosing Vitamin D, taking some zinc, and getting a lot of sleep will generally nip my funky feeling in the bud immediately.
Keep in mind that the government recommendation of 600 IU’s a day is just enough to prevent rickets, and is nowhere near optimal. If you’re deficient you may need up to 10,000 IU’s a day for several weeks/months to get up to optimal levels (you’ll need less to maintain). However, since Vitamin D toxicity is possible, check with your Doctor and get your levels tested. 5,000 IU’s a day is generally pretty safe assuming you don’t get much sun exposure.
5. Avoid sugar and refined carbs!
OK, so let’s get real here. Is this one even possible to do over the holidays? Probably not. But you know what you can do? Consolidate the eating of sugar and refined carbs. Yep, that’s right. Limit them to just a few select days (maybe your holiday party at work, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve) or something of the sort. Allow yourself to indulge in delicious treats on a couple of days, but make sure the days in between are filled with lots of grass-fed meats, fish, vegetables, and healthy fats. Not only will your immune system thank you, but your waistline will too! And as long as you’re diligently following the other 4 tips listed above, you should be good to go!
Follow the above tips and you should enjoy an awesome and healthy holiday season!
6. (BONUS TIP!!) Don’t stress!
I just thought of this one, but it’s so important. The holidays can be a super stressful time for everyone. We are often crammed in a house/room with our immediate and extended family for long periods of time with very little relief and everyone has expectations of how they’d like things to happen, and everyone has weird hangups from holidays past where so-and-so didn’t get them a nice gift, or Cousin Millie ruined the 6th night of Hanukkah by getting too drunk and yelling at everyone, or Grandma’s mad because you didn’t use HER family’s casserole recipe, or what-the-eff-other things people like to be upset about. I am kinda at the point now where I go and have a good time and engage, and don’t set too many expectations for how the days will go, and if people start to stress me out and act all crazy I just remove myself and go chill and let the other people freak out about whether we put the shrimp cocktail out at 1:30 or 1:45. =)
Things go a lot more smoothly this way, and the less stress you’re under, the less likely you are to get sick. So R-E-L-A-X and when you watch other people start to get whacked out over little things, just be glad the holidays only come around once a year. =)
Do you have any tips to avoid getting sick during the holidays? If so, share them below!