I may be a self-proclaimed lover of Spring and Summer, but I always look forward to this time of
the year. The weather is cooler and although you never know if you’ll need a sweater or a t-shirt, at least there is some relief from the humidity. The leaves have changed and started to fall. The excitement of the New Year is coming, but first, the holidays. I enjoy fulfilling holiday traditions and making memories with friends and family. As a mother of two young girls, these years, the holidays are extra magical. As exhausting as things like the Elf on the Shelf can be, the effort is worth it when you get to see the joy it brings to a child. I am hopeful that this holiday season we continue to feel a return to normalcy and will have fewer distractions than in recent years. As one of your local Family Medicine Physicians, please allow me to share some advice for staying healthy through the holiday season.

The Practical
First, don’t neglect your self-care through the holidays. It is easy to overfill your schedule, but make time for rest and get good sleep. Have a plan for your nutrition and try not to over-indulge. Fill your plate with vegetables and eat slowly to ensure you know when you are full. Consume sweets and alcohol in moderation. Prioritize physical activity and get outside as much as possible. Monitor yourself for illness. If you feel unwell, get treated appropriately and take the necessary time to recover. Oh yeah, wash your hands.

The Personal
Next, let’s go into the part of the holidays that’s not always talked about. Although it’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, the fact is, sometimes it’s just not. The holidays are stressful, may come with unrealistic expectations, strain our finances, and highlight grief, loss, and loneliness. If you’re not particularly looking forward to the holidays, know that you’re not alone. Face these negative aspects head-on, but don’t face them alone. Be open and reach out to friends, family, leaders in your faith, or your physician – it’s what we are here for. It’s ok to simplify the holidays, and although cliche, focus on the true meaning of the holiday.

Doctor’s Orders
Lastly, as a primary care physician, I can’t miss an opportunity to counsel you on health
maintenance. If you have chronic medical problems, make sure these are well-controlled going into the holidays so that they don’t put a damper on your plans. Make sure you have enough medicine to get you through – don’t get caught with empty bottles when the pharmacies are closed! Make sure you are up to date on your checkups, age-appropriate screenings, and vaccines. If you’re not sure what is recommended, your PCP is happy to help!

I wish you a very joyous and healthy holiday season. It is my prayer that your blessings abound,
that you feel the love of those around you, that you have plenty on your table, and that your troubles are
lighter than usual. God Bless!