The holidays are among us, and for many people, that means packing up a bag and getting out of town. Unlike your typical vacation, however, holiday travel comes with its own brand of stress and overwhelm.
While many families are delighting in the fact that holiday celebrations can commence as normal (or the new normal) once again, there is an added pressure to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.
Staying in isolation isn’t necessary, but being mindful of your health should certainly be top of mind as the holiday’s approach.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- The most effective ways to boost immunity and stave off illness
- How to protect yourself from emotional and environmental stressors
- Where to prioritize your needs and set healthy goals
- How to get the most out of the holidays while staying true to yourself
10 Tips To Stay Healthy While Traveling This Holiday Season
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into each of these tips…
#1 Support Your Immune System
The number one thing on many people’s minds as we enter into the holiday season is immunity. Now more than ever, a focus should be on boosting up your immune strength so that you can enjoy the holiday season with loved ones without worrying about getting yourself or anyone else sick.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of immune supplements on the market, but some of the most well-researched and potent nutrients come from medicinal mushrooms.
Mushrooms such as cordyceps, turkey tail, reishi, shiitake, and maitake have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries to heal and bring balance to the body. These mushrooms are tried and true and work with your body’s immunity to boost defenses against outside invaders.
While you can certainly start taking medicinal mushrooms when you start to feel under the weather, I always recommend getting ahead of immune insults by incorporating these immunity powerhouses daily. That’s exactly why I chose to include them in my Daily Detox formulation.
Along with mushrooms, a high-quality vitamin C can go a long way for building up your immune defenses against colds and viruses. If you start to feel sick, up your vitamin C dose to keep symptoms at bay.
Another supplement to keep handy during your travels is zinc. This one is especially helpful right at the beginning stages of a cold or infection. Zinc plays a vital role in the health of your immune system, and when your zinc levels are low, you are much more susceptible to getting sick. Start taking zinc at the first sign of imbalance.
#2 Protect Yourself Against EMFs
Electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) are everywhere these days; at home, in the office, in the grocery store, you name it — if there is WiFi or any type of technology around, EMFs are there.
Unfortunately, airplanes happen to be one of the most concentrated environments for EMF exposure. This is due to the in-craft electromagnetic frequencies compounded by cosmic radiation in the higher altitudes.
When you’re exposed to EMF, it can interfere with the natural electrical wiring in your body. This can impact you neurologically as well as immunologically. As a result, EMF exposure leaves you feeling more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed while diminishing your immune defenses.
The good news is, there are things you can do to protect yourself from EMF exposure and neutralize its impact on your electromagnetic field.
A quick google search will provide you with a myriad of tools such as EMF-blocking crystals and stones, magnets for computers and phones, and even plug-ins you can use in your home to protect your outlets.
While all of these devices are excellent ways to mitigate EMF, they won’t do you much good when you’re sitting in a hotbed of EMF on a plane, in the airport, or in any other WiFi-enabled public space. That’s why I never leave home without my Harmoni Pendant.
The Harmoni Pendant works by strengthening your own biofield, the energetic field surrounding your body. Doing so helps to mitigate the impact that EMFs have on your internal environment. Instead of playing whack a mole by trying to protect yourself from various sources of EMF, the Harmoni Pendant acts as your own personal shield.
#3 Prioritize Sleep
One of the first self-care habits that slips to the wayside is sleep when life gets overwhelming. Whether you’re up late shopping for Christmas presents online, or you’re tossing and turning trying to relax when your to-do list is a mile long, the sleep you’re losing is guaranteed to only make things more stressful.
Research shows that sleep deprivation not only increases stress, but it can also increase your appetite by messing with your levels of insulin. Even one night of poor sleep can lead to overeating the following day.
To make matters worse, when you aren’t sleeping properly, your immune system doesn’t get the time it needs to rebuild and strengthen itself. This can make you more susceptible to getting sick and may increase the time it takes to get over colds or viruses.
Prioritize sleep by setting boundaries for yourself with your routines. Left to its own devices, your body’s circadian rhythm would have you in bed, lights out, by 10 pm (11 pm at the latest). Work with your body by trying to get into bed around this time, and even if you can’t sleep, try reading or another relaxing activity that doesn’t involve blue light (no TV, computers, or cell phones).
# 4 Pace Yourself
It’s human nature when faced with adversity to jump into fight or flight mode and just plow through whatever is on your to-do list.
However, if you try to rush through the holiday season, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of the fun and excitement that this time of year has to offer. You’ll also be taxing your nervous system and likely forget things or make mistakes.
The holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself this time of year and allow for things to be imperfect sometimes. If you miss a workout or two or need an extra day to complete a project, that’s okay.
Bringing mindful awareness to yourself and your to-do’s can make the holidays’ festivities much more memorable and enjoyable. This will allow you to feel more calm, and it will impact those around you as well.
To start practicing more mindful awareness, start with a five-minute mindfulness practice each day where you simply sit and pay attention to your breath. You will notice that your mind wanders off frequently; this is normal, just gently keep bringing it home to your breath, and over time you’ll be building your capacity to stay present in your daily life.
#5 Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is crucial for every aspect of your biology. Drinking enough water helps detox, elimination of waste, energy production, cellular health, and much more.
When you feel like you may be coming down with something, it’s the water in your body that assists with eliminating bacteria, viruses, and any other bug that may have you feeling off-balance.
While you may be running around and out of your regular routine this holiday season, keeping a 32-ounce bottle of water with you at all times will make a world of difference. Even if your hydration is generally excellent, it’s easy to forget to keep your water intake consistent when your days get busier.
Aim for at least six glasses of water per day, and if you can get more in, that’s even better.
#6 Eat Mindfully
Going right along with #6 above, eating mindfully can bring much more pleasure and self-control to your indulgences.
When you “check out” while eating, you not only abandon your digestive cues, but you also miss out on enjoying the delicious foods and drinks that you’re consuming.
Mindful eating may sound a lot easier than it is, but it’s a practice that you can train over time — like working out a muscle in the gym. Start by committing to one mindful meal a day; it can even be a snack. Enjoy your food slowly, using all of your senses to take in the pleasure that your meal is offering.
Pay attention to the smell of the food, notice the texture in your mouth, does it make a sound as you chew? What are the different flavors that it offers? It can be helpful to put your fork down between bites so that you stay with your current bite without loading up your utensil for the next one.
For extra credit, take three deep belly breaths before you begin eating — this will take your brain and body in parasympathetic mode, allowing you to feel more calm and focused as you eat.
#7 Beware Of Sugar
During the holiday season, you’ll likely be hit with more sugar-laden landmines than you typically come across. Perhaps it’s candies in the office, gifts sent from friends, a dessert tray at a holiday party, or those once-a-year treats that make an appearance at your grocery store or favorite bakery.
Although it tastes delicious going down, consuming too much sugar has a wide range of health detriments — not the least of which is its impact on immunity.
In fact, research shows that consuming fructose, in particular, may increase inflammatory molecules in your body, damaging immune cells and weakening the immune response.
To make matters worse, when you consume a diet high in sugar, it gets your brain chemicals going on a rollercoaster ride that often leads to more cravings, blood sugar crashes, and ultimately excessive sugar consumption.
You may find that most of the year, it’s easy to stay away from sugar, but come the holidays, it takes heroic efforts to put the cookie down. The reason for this is due to the impact that sugar has on stress. Research shows that consuming sugar can dial down your stress response and make you feel more relaxed. The problem is, the sugar solution is short-lived and once it wears off, you’re right back at square one.
To mitigate this inevitable cycle, be mindful of your sugar consumption during the holiday season and find other more productive ways to deal with stress. You don’t have to forgo enjoying sugar altogether, but try to enjoy it in moderation.
#8 Make Smart Alcohol Choices
Alcohol, just like sugar, seems to come into the picture with a lot more gusto during the holiday season than the rest of the year.
The good news is, there are plenty of healthier alcohol choices out there.
While moderation is certainly key when it comes to enjoying alcoholic beverages, there are a couple of choices that will impart health benefits along with a nice little buzz.
Red wine is a great source of antioxidants, particularly the polyphenol known as resveratrol. Research shows that polyphenols provide health benefits to your heart due to their protective impact on the walls of your blood vessels.
Resveratrol may also lower LDL cholesterol oxidation, one of the primary pathways that lead to heart disease.
Other health benefits associated with moderate wine consumption include reduced risk for diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancer.
Not a wine drinker? No problem. Research shows that dark beer also contains polyphenols which have similar health-promoting benefits to red wine.
#9 Release Expectations
Using mindfulness is an excellent way to be more present with your loved ones during this season. This year more than ever, we must have patience and compassion for every person in our lives; we’ve all been through a lot.
Along with compassion and patience, it will do you a world of good to release expectations around the holidays.
There is no need for the perfect dinner, the perfect present, or the perfect anything. Letting go of the need for things to work out just the way you want will give you space to enjoy how things actually are. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important when things start to get hectic, but staying present and enjoying the small moments is what life is really about.
You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to connect to yourself and others when you just let things be without trying to change anyone or anything in your environment.
#10 Practice An Attitude of Gratitude
Remember what this season is all about — loving, sharing, connecting, laughing, and letting the people in your life that are important to you know how much you care.
This should be a time of year where you slow down and take a deep breath, allowing yourself to feel grateful for all that you have. It’s an excellent time to start a gratitude journal, jotting down five to ten things you’re grateful for each day to remind yourself of all the good things that are happening.
Bring more peace, joy, and generosity into your life by paying attention to what really matters. This will send your nervous system a big signal that all is well, which will impact every system in your body –including your immune system.
Many people notice that once they start a gratitude practice, it becomes much easier to notice other things in their life that they are grateful for. Just like a bad day at work can start a downward spiral of negative emotions, a gratitude practice can start an upward spiral.
When it comes to boosting immunity, the number one thing you can do for yourself is to build a strong system with superfoods like the medicinal mushrooms found in Daily Detox.
But staying healthy this holiday season is about much more than taking your immunity supplements and staying on top of your lifestyle regimen. Although these factors certainly cannot be ignored, they are only one piece of the puzzle.
Changing the way you look at the holidays can make a significant difference in how you experience them. Instead of getting carried away by what you think things should look like, replace perfectionism with gratitude.
Cultivate more awareness of every little joy that this season brings by becoming more mindful and aware of your own emotional state, what you’re consuming, and how you’re showing up for friends and family.
All of the emotional self-care you do during this time will directly impact your immune system and keep you healthy and happy as you move into the new year.
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