Maintaining Health During the Holidays

thanksgiving feastWhen the turkey rolls around in November and the oranges, browns and yellows of autumn transition to the reds and greens or blues and golds for Christmas and Hanukkah, for most of us the last thing on our minds is exercising and eating healthy. With tasty temptations around every corner, it’s all too easy (and enjoyable) to indulge. After all, ’tis the season.

Additionally, Mother Nature isn’t nearly as nice in the winter. Our weather transitions from long, warm summer days to short, dark and rainy days. Finally, although the holidays are traditionally thought of as a time to rest and relax, the extra “to-dos” of the holiday hustle and bustle add to the already busy life that most of us tend to live.

Taking all this into account and I think we can all agree, it’s hard to be healthy during the holidays.

Well, while there may be some truth to the above, an alternative perspective is that perhaps health just looks a bit different during the holidays.

I don’t recommend children or adults consume countless candy on a regular basis, but I do think the community connectedness that Halloween brings is well worth the added sugar for a day (the real trick is limiting the treats to just a day). I also don’t think turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie should be a regular meal in anyone’s diet, but sharing a meal with loved ones is worth the food coma that Thanksgiving tends to induce.

And while I can’t say holiday cookies, eggnog or — in the case of my family — tamales benefit our health, I believe there is a lot of health magic in family traditions.

Lastly, staying up until midnight to cheers with champagne every evening to celebrate the start of a new day would not benefit our health (as fun as it may sound), but taking time to reflect, practice gratitude, set goals and celebrate is time well spent on New Year’s Eve.

So, I encourage all of us to fully embrace the holiday season. Let’s connect with our community. Check in on our neighbors. Cook for our friends and family. Give to those less fortunate. Be grateful for what we have. And celebrate the closing of one chapter and the start of another.

After all, ’tis the season.

Maybe it’s not so hard to be healthy during the holidays, it’s just different — health includes much more than just exercise and the food we replenish our bodies with.

From the Kitsap Physical Therapy team, we wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving, a merry holiday season and happy New Year. And if your New Year’s resolution is health and fitness related, we’re here to help you achieve it. Cheers!