By: Alyssa Miele

The holidays are a time for fun, food, and family. But in the midst of all the chaos, it’s easy to neglect our health — both physical and mental. We all have a ton going on, but without taking the necessary steps to stay healthy, we won’t be at our best to complete the tasks the holiday season demands of us. Let’s take the time to make health a priority this winter with these ideas.

Two girls participate in MLK Day activities.

1. Plan a holiday themed outdoor excursion.

It may be chilly outside, but you can still bundle up, get outdoors, and get your body moving! Love ice skating? Downtown Pittsburgh is home to the Mass Mutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place. It’s an affordable place to have some active holiday fun the whole family can enjoy!

chocolate covered fruit
Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

2. Pick healthier desserts

It’s great to treat yo’self during the holidays, but you can do so in a healthier way by switching out some of the holiday cookies for dark-chocolate-covered fruit at your next holiday gathering! It still does wonders to satisfy the sweet tooth while also providing you with nutrients such as antioxidants. If you still want cookies, you can find healthy recipes on sites like Pinterest!

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

3. Watch a silly holiday film.

Laughing is SO important for your mental health. Throw on some holiday PJs; brew a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa; pop a few bags of popcorn; and invite your family for a movie night. Relax while sipping your warm beverage and watching your favorite holiday or romantic comedy with the people you love most. Belly laugh until the stress of the holiday season melts away like the marshmallows in your hot cocoa!

Women In Nature

4. Take a stroll after the big meal.

It can be really tempting to plop on the couch after a big holiday meal, but try to fight the urge to do that and go for a family walk around the neighborhood instead! You’ll get to spend time with family while also taking steps to be a healthier individual (no pun intended)! Walking after a meal increases blood flow which aids in digestion and doing any sort of exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you happier!

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Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

5. Take time for yourself.

They say the holidays are all about surrounding yourself with family, but sometimes we need some alone time. You can do this in any way that feels right for you, but my personal favorites are reading a feel-good book’ getting up early to walk a few loops around the lake by my house; or taking an extra-long, hot shower. Take some time for yourself this holiday season to recharge and give yourself the energy needed to put your best foot forward when interacting with your relatives.

The main goal of the holiday season is to spread joy. To do that, we need to be happy and healthy ourselves, and these are just a few ways to achieve that. What steps are you taking to keep yourself healthy this holiday?