Home – a place where many of us have been spending our time these last few months. With infections spreading, many of us will not attend traditional holiday gatherings or bond with extended family or friends. Unfortunately, with cases rising throughout Illinois and the country, it’s crucial that we limit small gatherings as these are a contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. While celebrating virtually or with members of your own household is an option, it may not cover the long days after you’ve logged off with your loved ones.
Here are steps you can take to manage your well-being while at home during the holidays:
Practice Mindful Eating
Wintertime is notorious for homemade cookies, baked goods, popcorn buckets and other treats. Though snacking may be comforting, these sugar-filled and carbohydrate-heavy foods can create a spike in blood sugar, decreasing your energy levels and potentially lead to weight gain. Instead, enjoy your favorite recipes in moderation and reach for foods rich in fiber, whole-grain and protein as well as fruits and vegetables. Holiday treats are a great way to celebrate, but balance those with healthy foods so you stay alert and have physical strength during cold, dark days.
Take a Multivitamin
A multivitamin contains key minerals that improve your wellness. This can provide you necessary nutrients that you otherwise may not receive from your daily food and drink intake while also reducing your chances of getting sick. However, remember a multivitamin is not a substitute but rather acts as a helping agent. To determine which multivitamin is best for you, connect with your primary care provider.
Just because warm weather is behind us doesn’t mean you should stop drinking water. Hydration improves dry skin, aids your body in digestion and strengthens your immune system. To stay hydrated, aim to carry around a water bottle, brew a cup of hot tea or eat foods that are water-heavy, including apples and homemade vegetable soup.
Move Your Body
It may be freezing outside, but physical exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood during the coldest months of the year. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, moving your body can turn your mood around and keep your body feeling refreshed and strong. There’s also proven evidence that exercise can reduce your chance for developing heart disease, diabetes and depression. From walking, climbing stairs, dancing in the kitchen to jumping rope, try staying active to boost endorphins in your brain and build strength.
While taking care of your physical health is imperative, it’s also important to recognize how you are feeling emotionally and prioritize your mental health. Here are a few ways you can enjoy the magic of the holiday season at home:
Schedule Virtual Family Meals
To unite family together, while staying apart, consider setting up a virtual holiday meal. Socialization allows you to stay connected, vent your feelings and helps with practicing active listening skills.
Embrace Your Creative Side
Several research studies have noted a correlation between participating in art-related activities and positive mental health outcomes. Art can provide a temporary space to create your own world and use your imagination. Whether you draw chalk pictures on the sidewalk, create seasonal crafts or sing your favorite holiday tunes, there are endless forms of artistic exploration, helping you heal from uncertainty and navigate the world’s unprecedented events.
Enjoy the Cooler Weather
The upcoming snowy season offers countless opportunities to lift your emotional health and stay active; building a snowman, hiking, sledding and skiing are activities to consider – all within your own backyard or community. Continue to practice safe-distancing and mask wearing while enjoying the local winter wonderland.
Even though the holidays need to look a different this year, there is still joy to be had. Consider the many fun alternative activities that pose a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 and check in on your friends and family that may be on their own this holiday season.
If you or a family member aren’t feeling well, it’s best to stay home. Please visit our COVID-19 page for more information on the virus and its symptoms. You can also schedule an in-clinic or video visit with your primary care provider online.
If you or a loved one need mental health support, please reach out to our Behavioral and Mental Health team.