Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cookie's Tips to Stay Well Through The Holidays

Written by Rio Salado College Intern, Matt Loper

With the holidays around the corner, some might be worried about how to keep a strong mind and body with the extra stress and food that this season can be known for.

Cookie Potter, coordinator of wellness education for Rio Salado College, shares some holiday wellness tips. She says that if you are going out of town, having visitors, or looking for some time off work, that eating and exercise routines can be easily interrupted, but there are ways to make sure you don’t let things get out of hand.

While traveling, make sure to stretch to help your body better handle the stress and long hours of sitting. When scoping out hotels, looks for options that have fitness centers or you can look for gyms around the area you can go to.

“I look for local yoga studios, and I take a class,” Potter said.

Travelers should also prepare for contact with large groups of fellow travelers that can take a toll on the immune system.

“You want to make sure before you even go on your trip, you’re boosting your immune system,” Potter said.

If you are staying home or expecting visitors, you can still make plans before the holidays come to make sure you keep your fitness where you want. Planning ahead of time will make it easier to accomplish your goals.

If your holiday season includes family gatherings and parties, over eating can be a big concern.

Potter suggests having a healthy snack right before heading to a party so that you aren’t too hungry. She also said that sometimes you might feel hungry, but your body could be asking for something else.

“Sometimes you think you are hungry but you are really dehydrated,” she said.

Planning ahead how much you are going to eat and setting limits for yourself can make it easier to say no to second or third helpings. Writing goals down for eating and exercise is a good way to hold yourself accountable and help you avoid seasonal setbacks along with added stress and anxiety.

Regular stretching and relaxing can help calm the worried mind and bring some peaceful moments into a hectic time. If you are feeling stressed, it is important to give your body a boost with some strengthening nutrients.

“Because the holidays can be stressful, I think about vitamin supplements,” Potter said.

For those who may feel sad or lonely, one of the best ways to kick the holiday blues is to help someone else in need.

“Get out and volunteer,” Potter suggested.

For those who may find themselves without plans for the holiday, service is an option as well, and you can even bring the relatives.

So whether you are facing traveling, family, massive amounts of calories, or looking for a chance to give to others, make sure that while you are taking care of everything that needs to get done, take care of your well-being.

This article can also be found in the December 22 edition of The Tempe Republic.