Join Our Happy, Healthy Holiday Challenge!

Join Our Happy, Healthy Holiday Challenge!

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Holiday-Challenges-For-Those-With-Chronic-Conditions-722x406The holidays are filled with joy and celebration, but it can also be a stressful time of year, especially if you live with a chronic condition. Whether you’re managing multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, or depression, cocktail parties and buffet-style meals can pose many physical, emotional, and diet challenges, and you may find yourself needing more support than usual. To help you stay stress-free, healthy, and happy all season-long, Everyday Health invites you to join our 4-week Happy, Healthy Holiday Challenge! Remember to use #StressLessHoliday in all of your social media posts. One lucky winner will get a Fitbit Charge HR at the end of the challenge, so be sure to post each week with the #StressLessHoliday hashtag! Check here for the official giveaway rules.

Week 1: Keep Stress and Anxiety in Check

With your social calendar fully booked for the next few weeks, your stress levels may be at an all-time high. Consider logistics of traveling to and from parties, what you can do to prepare (e.g. pack a small emergency bag in case of a flare-up), and plan to bring a dish you can enjoy if you have food sensitivities and want to stick to a healthy eating routine. Also, set aside time for yourself to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

This week’s challenge:Carve out a few minutes out of your day to and de-stress. Join our #HealthTalk on Friday, December 4 at 1 pm EST with our friends at Happify for advice on how to keep stress at bay during the holiday season. Share your tips for de-stressing and managing your condition during the holidays with others on your social media accounts. Be sure to use #StressLessHoliday.

Week 2: Feel Well and Stay Healthy

Long days at the office, traveling, and nights of revelry may leave you sleep deprived, making you vulnerable to colds, the flu, and other illnesses. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep by scheduling a morning wake-up call as well as a nighttime shut-down by turning off all electronics.  Sticking to a nutritious diet and fitness routine also helps. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy your favorite treat—it’s the holidays, after all, but be mindful of your indulgences and include antioxidant-rich foods that help fight inflammation in all of your meals.

This week’s assignment: Create a game plan for staying healthy during the holidays. Think about your sleep, eating, and exercise routine. How will you stay active this season? Join our #HealthTalk with Denise on Wednesday, December 9 at 1 pm EST. Try this fast-basting walk by Denise Austin, too.

Denise Austin's Fat-Blasting Walk

Walking is by far the easiest cardiovascular exercise for most people, and it can also easily be incorporated into a fitness routine for the holidays. All you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes that have good arch support (to prevent feet from rolling inward), and that are flexible so they allow your feet to bend as you walk. And they should never? pinch or rub, even when they’re new. If they do, they don’t fit well. Interval walking is a great way to jump-start your metabolism and get a more effective workout in a shorter amount of time. An interval workout is where you intersperse fast-paced intervals of exercise with moderate-paced intervals.

One of the best ways to get the most out of an interval workout is to mix two-, three-, and five-minute intervals. To determine the intensity of these intervals, think of your effort on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being a very easy stroll and 10 being so hard you can’t carry on a conversation.

You shouldn’t stay at either of these extremes for too long, but you should challenge yourself and be honest with yourself about how hard you’re working.

Try this walking challenge the next time you go out for your walk:

5 minutes: Warm Up (intensity of 5)

5 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace (intensity of 6)

3 minutes: Power walk (intensity of 7)

2 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace (intensity of 6)

3 minutes: Speed walk (intensity of 8)

2 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace (intensity of 6)

3 minutes: Speed walk or jog (intensity of 9)

2 minutes: Walk at a moderate pace (intensity of 6)

5 minutes: Cool down at a moderate pace (intensity of 5)

You can mix things up by varying whether you walk on flat terrain or an incline, or whether you walk inside on a treadmill or outside.

Week 3: Plan Ahead for Parties and Festivities

If you live with a chronic illness, entertaining a group of family and friends for the holidays can be stressful and challenging. Take some of the pressure off by hosting a potluck so each guest brings a dish, or have your party catered, if it fits into your holiday budget. If you’re attending a party, be sure to plan ahead and think of logistics getting to and from the party.

This week’s assignment:Prepare a healthy holiday dish for a party you’re attending or hosting. Swap whole-wheat flour for white, low-fat dairy for full-fat, avocado or extra-virgin coconut oil for butter, and dates, pure maple syrup, or honey for sugar. Share a photo of your holiday dish and tell us how you made it healthier. Remember to use #StressLessHoliday.

Week 4: Set Attainable Goals for the New Year

The New Year is a great opportunity to get a fresh start with setting health goals. Whether you want to lose 10 pounds, stick to an exercise routine, or prepare more homemade meals, now is the time to create a plan for success. Here are some expert-approved tips:

This week’s assignment:Take this week to think about the health goals you’d like to accomplish in 2019. What areas of your lifestyle would you like to improve outside of diet and fitness? Share your 2019 goals with us using #StressLessHoliday and tell us how you plan to achieve them.

Last Updated:11/30/2015
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Date: 10.12.2018, 16:33 / Views: 51342