10 tips for happier, healthier holidays


The holiday season is traditionally the time of year when we allow ourselves a little excess.

We eat more than we usually would, those foods are far richer than our regular diet, and we probably take less exercise than normal. In terms of our health, that’s an unholy trifecta. When you add in the pressure we often feel to buy gifts for loved ones, complicated family dynamics and, for some seniors, a feeling of loneliness. It can often be a very stressful time for both our minds and our bodies.

Here are 10 tips to help you have a happy, healthy, stress-free holiday season.

Healthy choices, not rich pickings

All that wonderful, rich food is very tempting – and it’s OK to indulge a little. But ensure everyone can make healthy choices if they choose to. If possible, plan your meals with other meals in mind. If you know you’re having a big lunch with all the trimmings, be sure to have a light and healthy breakfast – and then a light and healthy evening meal. When it comes to snacks, have healthy options available, like unsalted nuts and dried fruit.

Remember dietary restrictions

Many seniors have special dietary instructions to follow. You may need to keep your salt intake down or have restrictions due to diabetes or another condition. It’s important you continue to follow the dietary advice you’ve been given by your GP. That can be more difficult to achieve at this time of year, as you may not be in charge of what ends up on your plate!

Celebrate, but moderate

Many people like a celebratory tipple, but it’s always important to drink in moderation.  Alcohol can react badly with certain medications. It can also impair function and judgement – which could lead to falls or other accidents that might make your holidays memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Drinking plenty of water

Drinking water keeps your body hydrated. This is important for anyone at one of the hottest times of the year but it’s particularly vital for seniors, as not drinking enough water can quickly result in a trip to the hospital to be treated for dehydration. Make sure you always have a  bottles of water close by.

Taking time to exercise

Exercise helps to keep the body limber and burns off any extra calories consumed. It’s important for seniors to keep up your regular exercise routine, while being mindful of the dangers of hot weather and dehydration that come with summer. The kind and amount of exercise required depends on the individual. Even stretches and light exercise around the house will do, or perhaps a walk around the local shopping centre.

Buying fewer and less expensive gifts

Many seniors are on a fixed income and although we all love to spoil our nearest and dearest, it’s important to stick to a budget.  No one should spend several months doing without or being sick with worry about their finances because they were too generous with gift giving. Have a conversation with your family about it ahead of time and suggest some ways to reduce the financial strain of the holiday. A family “Secret Santa” is a great idea.

Rest after travelling

Some seniors find travelling really takes it out of them, especially if they’re flying or taking a long car journey. Bear in mind you may want to rest when they arrive at your destination. Talk to your carer and look for a quiet spot when you arrive so you can rest after your journey. When you are feeling refreshed you can join in the fun.

Be the guest, not the host

Many seniors will have spent many happy holidays playing host to family and friends. If your’e feeling tried and want to take a break this season, why not pass the baton on and have someone else deal with the  kitchen chaos? Better still, have someone help you host to lighten the load. Ask us how.

Taking a break when needed

Spending time with family and friends is wonderful, but it can be exhausting – even for the most fit among us. That’s especially true if there are lots of exuberant children around. A half-hour nap can be very restorative. Even just disappearing to a quiet room to sit in the air conditioning alone for a few moments can help recharge our batteries.

Taking part in all the fun

For all of this, it’s still the festive season, and everyone wants to take part in the fun. Don’t forget to involve them in what’s going on. If you like to cook, offer to help in the kitchen. If you love cricket, ask  to umpire the family’s Boxing Day Test. Whatever it is that brings you joy, be involved.


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