APU Health & Fitness Original

Maintaining Physical and Mental Health during the Holidays

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By Susan Hoffman
Edge Managing Editor

Since early 2020, we’ve been combating the COVID-19 pandemic and the various health, workplace and social problems it has caused. For many of us, “lockdown fatigue” has set in, causing us to feel lethargic and stressed.

However, this holiday season is a good opportunity to improve your physical and mental health. Even though we must still abide by COVID-19 limitations, there are still great ways to have fun and integrate small, healthful habits into your daily routine.

Related link: How to Get and Stay Motivated to Build a Healthy Lifestyle

Tips for Improving Your Physical Health

Getting regular exercise is beneficial in many ways. According to MedLine, regular exercise can help you:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Manage your blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Quit smoking
  • Improve your mood and reduce stress
  • Keep you mentally sharp
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve the quality of your sleep

If you’re tired of the same old workouts and want a new challenge, consider doing a holiday-themed workout. Also, try a walk around your neighborhood (or in a shopping mall) just to admire the holiday decorations and get some low-impact exercise. Another option is to take a morning or afternoon to explore some hiking trails near you and enjoy nature.

It’s also important to follow a healthy diet to supplement your exercise routine. Ideally, aim for healthy snacks and a good balance of carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, and healthy fats during those holiday meals.

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Tips for Improving Your Mental Health

The holiday season can be stressful at times, especially if it’s hard for you to get together with family and friends due to COVID-19. Here are some ways to alleviate that stress:

  • Stimulate your brain. Try out a different holiday recipe, play a holiday-themed game, or experiment with a new holiday arts and crafts project.
  • Set aside a special time to de-stress and recharge. Even if you’re swamped with gift wrapping, shopping, sending cards, and cooking, take a few minutes to rest. Use this time to enjoy a hot drink or listen to holiday music. Better yet – watch a holiday-themed movie as a “reward” for completing all of your holiday tasks!
  • Reach out to others. Thanks to technologies such as Zoom and FaceTime, a video chat with your relatives and friends can decrease feelings of isolation and stress.
  • Consider volunteering. Serving as a volunteer can raise your spirits and broaden your friendships. Your act of charity doesn’t have to be with a formal organization, however. Think about simply volunteering to help a neighbor who needs an extra hand by making a meal to drop off at their home or doing some yard work for them.

Safeguarding your physical and mental health can go a long way toward making you feel good. Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!

Susan Hoffman is a Managing Editor at Edge, whose articles have appeared in multiple publications. Susan is known for her expertise in blogging, social media, SEO, and content analytics, and she is also a book reviewer for Military History magazine. She has a B.A. cum laude in English from James Madison University and an undergraduate certificate in electronic commerce from American Public University.

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