Healthy Holiday Survival: Critical Dos & Don’ts for Optimal Immune Health

Happy holidays, everybody! I’m sure so many of you are trying to get yourselves ready, get your body and your health in alignment so you can maximize your joy and the season of the holidays. Today I want to share with you a few dos and don’ts that will help you increase your immunity and stave off the normal winter icks and illnesses.

Do: Eat Before Attending a Party

The first do is to make sure you eat a snack or a small meal before you go to a holiday party. This will help you minimize the excess calories and some of the yummy goodies that you might be consuming that might tip the scales in terms of your increase in sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates. And just really also helps give you the energy boost you might need, depending on the time of the holiday.

Don’t: Overdo the Alcohol

Now on the don’t side, I recommend limiting your alcohol consumption to one glass of wine or champagne or one cocktail that has at a maximum one ounce of alcohol and no more than that. And my “do” that couples with this is do make sure that before and after holiday party, where you might be consuming a little alcohol for this festive occasion, that you also add in some dandelion tea to the mix to help support your liver’s detoxification process and the breakdown of the excess estrogen that will come from the alcohol consumption.

Do: Supplement with High-Quality Vitamin D3

Now, I also recommend that you do reach for a really high-quality vitamin D3 supplement. And I love to recommend my Turmeric 3D here at Organixx. This is really great because in the supplement, not only are you getting 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3, you’re also getting some anti-inflammatories by way of turmeric that will help calm the body’s natural inflammatory response, which will enhance your immune response when you need to fight any illness, bugs, or viruses you might come into contact with during the holiday season.

Do: Pair Vitamin D3 with Light Therapy

Another do that I recommend is to reach for your light therapy sources. So these are full-spectrum light boxes that will enhance and balance your circadian rhythm, especially during the winter months. If you live above the Mason-Dixon line, this is really critical. These light boxes actually pair up with taking vitamin D3 supplementation as well because they can help increase your dopamine levels, thereby decreasing winter blues and winter depression. So if you are looking to keep your body balanced in not just your immune state, but also your mood balanced, they’re all interconnected. Vitamin D and light boxes are highly, highly beneficial.

Don’t: Indulge in Sugary Items

Now, on the don’ts, is to avoid reaching for a lot of the sugary items. The holiday season is basically sandwiched between October where we kick off Halloween with lots of sugar and we usually end that whole winter season with Easter and everything in between is filled with lots of excesses of sugar. So I recommend to very, very much restrict and limit your sugar consumption because sugar is one of the most challenging ingredients in a lot of foods that will decrease and reduce your immune response.

So if you’re looking to stay balanced and to keep your immune system healthy, loading up first on your plate with veggies and fresh items, fruits, and whole grains are going to be much healthier for you and your immune system in the long run.

Do: Get Outdoors

Now, other things I recommend because it’s the season of being festive and there’s a lot of great outdoor activities, I recommend getting outside and harnessing your inner child and enjoying some of the winter sports that maybe you haven’t done in a long time, like getting outdoors and skiing or taking up snowshoeing or ice skating. Just being outside in the morning time particularly because that will help balance your circadian rhythm.

Do: Ensure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

I also recommend that you maximize your sleep. So do choose to go to bed close to the time that the sun is setting. Now, in some cases, you can’t go to bed at 4:30 PM, but if you move up your bedtime, that will maximize your immune health. It’ll help you stay balanced. It will lower your cortisol levels. And will enhance your overall mood and immunity.

Don’t: Stop Exercising

Do not avoid exercising. This is really critical. One of the things that we find is a lot of times, during the winter months, people stop exercising outside. They stop running. They stop doing some of the things that they enjoy doing outside because it’s sometimes too cold or they have to bundle up and wear extra gear. So look at alternative choices and exercise routines that can get you outside enjoying this season.

Do: Avoid Wearing Only Comfort Clothing

And what I recommend, my last and final, is to stave off wearing some of the stretchy pants and comfort clothes of the holiday season. This is really tricky because we’re all kind of in that phase where a lot of us have been wearing a lot of comfy clothes and stretchy pants are really quite trendy. But one of the things that I find is if we are wearing clothing that’s not as tight-fitting or that is not our normal wear, that we tend to be less mindful of our fitness routine as well as exercising.

So those are some tips for you to help improve your immune system, maximize the benefits of the holidays, as well as enhance some of the micronutrients like vitamin D that are going to be in deficiency during the winter months.

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Holiday Hacks: 27 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Editor’s Note: This article was written and first shared pre-Covid, so we recognize that the holiday season is a little different this year. But even if your holiday gatherings are significantly reduced in 2020, these tips can still apply.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a routine of eating well, exercising, and making time for activities that keep you emotionally and mentally well… and then the holiday season arrives and all your healthy habits seem to fly out the window.

If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone. To help, here are 27 tips to keep the holiday weight gain and stress at a minimum this year, while helping you feel as good as possible going into the new year.

Helpful Tips Before the Holidays Hit

group of people at party clinking wine glasses#1. Rather than accepting every single holiday invitation that comes your way, pick and choose carefully. Politely decline all but the most important invitations with the people who mean the most to you.

At this ultra-busy time of year, quality is more important than quantity. For example, if you receive invitations to more than one work-related function, choose the one you most want to attend.

#2. Make a commitment to yourself to eat as healthfully as you can during the holidays. Of course, this is also a time for enjoying your favorite holiday foods. Just ensure that you only indulge when you really want to. Do it mindfully, and in moderation.

Make sure to include plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, and very few refined, sugary, or prepackaged foods. Completely abstain from eating fast food. All of this will have a positive impact on your waistline, your emotional health, and your energy levels.

#3. Forget trying to be perfect. The house really doesn’t need to be scrubbed from top to bottom in preparation for the holidays. Clean and tidy, yes, but not perfect from wall to wall. Presents do not have to be perfectly wrapped – after all, they are going to be torn to shreds in seconds anyway! No one is going to judge you (and if they do, do you really don’t want them as friends?).

This year, try to let go of caring what others might think of your home and decorating skills and just enjoy the season.

#4. This is a good time of year to appreciate others. If someone for whom you feel gratitude is in your daily life, you don’t have to buy them a present (unless you want to and can easily afford it). Send a quick message or call them to let them know that you appreciate them and all the things they do for you. They will enjoy being told that they are appreciated and you will make their day.

#5. Limit time with difficult family members. Most of us have a person in our family who seems to make it their personal goal to push all our buttons. If that sounds all too familiar, make a plan ahead of time for how you can limit your time with them.

If avoidance isn’t an option, a good strategy is to plan in advance whether or not you will respond to any comments that make you feel angry or hurt. A good option might be to resolve to keep the peace, and not let their bad attitude affect you. Just smile and politely ignore them (or at least their hurtful words).

#6. Schedule in some reflective time, such as meditation or prayer, and don’t ditch the yoga or stretching routine. Taking some quiet time for yourself during the holiday season is helpful on so many levels, and will definitely increase your inner peace.

Healthy Holiday Tips – Before a Party

#7. Do a quick but intense 5-15 minute workout prior to the party. This could be a brisk walk or running up and down smiling woman walking up stairsstairs. The workout will not only help you to feel good and look great, it also raises your heart rate and offloads a few calories before any party indulgences.

#8. Have an organic green juice or smoothie before going to the party (such as this heart-healthy smoothie or this green detox smoothie), so that you will not be starving when you arrive. This will also give you a wide range of healthy and protective antioxidants and phytochemicals as a good base for whatever else you consume at the party.

Holiday Hacks – At the Party

#9. For every cocktail, glass of wine, or beer you drink, have a glass of filtered or sparkling water. This helps to slow down the intake of empty calories and keeps you from getting tipsy too fast.

If you add a squeeze of lemon or lime or a drop of a citrus essential oil to your water, you will also be supporting liver detoxification along the way.

#10. Try to eat mindfully. Carefully choose what you want to eat beforehand and then stick to that. Don’t stay too close to the food table, grazing continuously. Once you’ve eaten, don’t go back to the food table unless you are truly hungry.

#11. When filling your plate, choose cut vegetables, fruit, and nuts over fried foods, chips, or other carb-laden foods. This will help fill you up with healthier options that actually provide your body with nutrients.

#12. When it comes to dessert, choose special homemade treats over store-bought goodies that you can get anytime. In other words, if you’re going to indulgence, make sure it’s for something that’s worth it.

#13. If you have the opportunity to do so, get up and DANCE! Not only will you be benefiting your body with movement, it’s fun and helps to offload stress.

#14. Don’t stay at the party so long that you miss out on several hours of precious sleep. Decide beforehand when you would like to leave, and then stick to that time as closely as possible so you can get to bed as close to your usual time as possible. Be aware that for every hour of sleep you lose, it can take several days to catch up. Also, loss of sleep during this time of year impacts your immune system and can put you at a higher risk for catching colds and flu.

#15. Before hitting the hay, take some digestive enzymes. This will help your digestive system better cope with all the extra food and beverages you’ve just consumed. You’ll likely sleep better and will be less likely to wake up with a “food hangover” the next morning. Not familiar with what digestive enzymes do? Click here to read more.

Health Tips for the Morning After

woman drinking from blue mug#16. Add a scoop of collagen powder into your morning coffee or juice – your joints, digestive tract, skin, nails, and hair will all be better for it. An added bonus is that if you had alcohol to drink the night before, collagen supports liver health and detoxification plus so much more.

#17. If you’re feeling a little bloated or unwell from your indulgences, drink a cup of peppermint or ginger tea. Peppermint and ginger both aid digestion, help ease an inflamed gut, and assist with any nausea.

#18. When you’re able, have another green juice. The wide range of nutrients will help your liver and kidneys with detoxification, give you some instant energy (which is great if you stayed up too late), and an immune boost as well.

#19. Take some probiotics if you had a little too much to drink. Alcohol consumption can have a bad effect on beneficial gut bacteria, so for the next few days be extra diligent in supplementing with a good quality probiotic.

#20. Follow this tip from the French. After overindulging with rich food, the next day they will have soup laden with fresh vegetable and herbs, and lots of water. This is an excellent way to counteract the excesses from the day before and your gut and liver will thank you for it.

#21. If you aren’t feeling too shattered, go for a walk, but drink a glass of water first. Drinking alcohol can dehydrate you, and intense exercise will do that as well. A gentle walk combined with a big glass of water is much better for you in the long run after a big night out than a hard gym workout.

If Holiday Stress Hits Anyway…

#22. Lock the bathroom door and take a hot epsom salt bath. Drip in a few of your favorite essential oils along with a cup full of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), light a candle or two, and take a mini holiday to calm the nerves. The magnesium in the epsom salts is beneficial for sore muscles and has a calming effect on the nervous system.

#23. Revisit tip #5.

#24. Do some or all of your shopping online. This will save wear and tear on your nerves, your car, and it is easier to stay business woman sitting on floor with eyes closed taking a breakon budget.

#25. Get more sleep.

#26. Realize that at any moment you have the right to say “no” when things get too hectic. Exercise that right whenever you need to.

#27. Take a breathing break. Just four or five minutes will make a difference and you can do this exercise anywhere. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and set your phone or watch timer for four minutes. Now breathe deeply: in for a count of five, hold that breath for a count of five, slowly exhale for a count of five, and hold the exhale for a count of five. Got it? In for five, hold for five, exhale for five, hold for five.

Even just a couple of minutes of this breathing exercise will lower your blood pressure, alter your brain waves, and help to calm you.

There you have it – 27 tips and ideas for how to stay healthy during the holidays. Pick and choose the suggestions listed above that make sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest. Just do the best you can when you’re not at holiday events to stick to your healthy habits, even if you have to pare them down.

The most important thing is to enjoy yourself over the holiday season, don’t get drawn into the idea that you have to say “yes” all the time, and remember that less is usually more.

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