The holiday season often means travel for many of us, but it doesn’t have to wreck your health.
Before you head to airports, trains, or automobiles, consider these easy steps to stay healthy and give yourself an excellent chance to enjoy family and friends during your celebrations:
- Get Plenty of Sleep
It’s easier to get sick when you’re run down, so don’t skimp on your sleep while traveling. Road trips can be exhausting. Listen to your body and get rest when you need it.
- Don’t Skip Breakfast
It’s called the most important meal of the day for good reason. Don’t start your vacation day on an empty stomach. Reach for healthy options like fruit, oatmeal, or cereal.
- Drink Plenty of Water
It’s easy to lose track of water intake (and get dehydrated) when you’re traveling. Begin your day with a large helping of water and carry a full bottle with you when you head out.
- Cut Back on Alcohol and Sweets
It’s easy to overdo it when you’re at a holiday meal or exploring a new city. It’s OK to sample a sweet or drink alcohol sparingly. But you don’t need the extra calories or disrupted sleep. Moderation!
- Pick Healthy Foods
Calories are everywhere during the holidays. It’s easy to load up on fried food, sweets, or creamy dishes. Mix in healthy salads, fresh fruits, and vegetables as much as you can.
- Update Your Vaccinations
At least two weeks before your trip, make sure you’ve updated any vaccinations you need – COVID-19, flu, shingles, etc. Check with your provider to make sure you’re up to date.
- Stay Active
Walk whenever possible. It’s easy to find the sofa after a large meal at Grandma’s house or a fancy restaurant, but a stroll afterward can help digestion. Explore new places on foot, and if you’re seeking a workout, seek out a park, forest, or outdoor activity.
- Wash Your Hands
Sounds simple, but viruses haven’t gone away. Washing your hands throughout the day will help protect you, especially in high-traffic areas like an airport, amusement park, or a crowded family gathering.
- Pack a First Aid Kit
Include simple supplies like acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) for pain or fever, anti-bacterial wipes, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, and an anti-diarrheal. If you’re bringing personal medication, pack it in your carry-on rather than checked luggage, just in case your bags are lost.
- Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Plan ahead to minimize stress. Create a loose itinerary, and if there’s a certain place you want to visit, buy tickets beforehand. Download a meditation app, which can walk you through the basics of staying collected during times of stress.