- Gather your family health history
The fact that families are getting together to celebrate the holidays makes it a great opportunity to get up to date on your family’s health history. Find out what health issues and diseases your parents and grandparents may have and at what age they were diagnosed. Knowing the same for siblings and extended family also is helpful. The same goes for mental health and substance abuse. This information might not be great dinner conversation but it could quite possibly save your life if you know you’re at risk for certain health concerns and can be screened early.
- Cut back on sugar
Start small and cut back on the amount of soda you drink per day. Keep in mind it’s not just cookies and soda that carry loads of sugar. Start reading food labels, especially on things such as salad dressings and granola bars. Many common foods, especially “convenience foods” have more sugar than you’d expect.
- Eat breakfast
Eating breakfast can help with weight control and provide other health benefits. Stay away from the sugary cereal and fill up on steel cut oatmeal, egg whites and fruit – you’ll stay fuller longer. Studies show that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than people who skip that first meal.
- Catch your Zzzz’s
Everyone knows that lack of sleep can make you cranky. However, getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep also has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression. To ensure you get the best sleep possible, set aside your smart phone, tablet and other personal electronic devices an hour before bed. Stick to a sleep routine and make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary.
- Move more
We all know that sitting for long periods each day is unhealthy, but how do you actually incorporate movement into your day? Start by rethinking get-togethers with friends. For example, you can still meet for coffee but grab the coffee and hit the park to walk and sip. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away in the parking lot or incorporate after dinner walks to give the whole family some exercise and time together.