5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays


This is the third post in my blog series for those dealing with cancer or other illness. To read the first post, click here.

In the hustle and bustle of Christmas, we tend to focus on tasks and getting all those last-minute things done on our “To Do List.”  We often lose sight of the truly important things like taking some time to reflect on our relationship with God and with others. 

For those who are diagnosed with cancer and other long-term illnesses, we are tempted to stop everything and just focus on the disease. It is fine to have a little pity party or withdraw for a time. However, life does not wait for us — not for cancer, not for our attitude to improve and not for total healing. We have to reach a balance of pushing ourselves to keep going yet knowing when it is time to rest and let others help.

Here are five practical reminders for us to remain as healthy and positive as possible:

Sleep – Make sure you are not staying up too late trying to get those last minute things done. It is better to go to bed on time and perhaps start the day a little earlier with more energy to tackle extra tasks. Remember, rest is such a key part of recovery.

Water – During this season, there are so many yummy drinks to taste. Just make sure you are getting the required amount of water. Carry a refillable bottle in your car, keep one on your desk, and remember to drink!

Exercise – This may take just a little thought shift (and of course depends on where you are in your health journey). It is reasonable to expect that your usual routine may have to be adjusted due to travel and family gatherings. Be creative. How can you include family for a group walk or other outing? Get your exercise done early in the day before anything else takes that spot.

Diet – Be attentive to what is going in your body. It is okay to have some special holiday indulgences but save those calories for the treats that truly do bring you pleasure. Make sure you are fueling your body with good nutrients to keep it going strong.

Mindfulness – Take even a few minutes to quiet your mind; focus on God and read scripture. Take deep breaths when you begin to feel stress and, again, access what the important things are for today.

During this season, I encourage you to continue to focus on the activities you really enjoy and to know that it is okay to let some things slide. This may not be the year that you have a huge tree or bring out all those boxes of decorations but make time for what is truly important. When we take care of ourselves, we are able to share more of ourselves with others — and that is what this season is all about!

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