The holidays are here and along with the season comes parties and celebrations, shopping and cooking and an over-filled schedule that can cause you to get run down and at risk for colds, coughs and even the flu.

It’s no wonder that many people find themselves getting sick at holiday time. While the festivities may be fun, the pace that we set for ourselves can be grueling and “take down” even the most hardy amongst us.

The best strategy is to keep from becoming run down in the first place. To stay in “tip-top shape please consider the following suggestions:

Make sure you get enough sleep
It might be difficult what with parties and holiday events but it’s even more important at this time of year to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep provides your body with an opportunity to “re-set and recharge” and helps you to build up your resistance and stamina for the upcoming day.

Eat nutritious food
Holiday parties provide ample opportunities to drink adult beverages and nibble on canapés but party going is not often associated with healthy eating. Nutritious food is necessary to fuel our engines and we can become more prone to illness if we are not eating the kinds of foods that support our health.

It’s okay to say no
You may find yourself with simply too many invitations during this holiday season and in order to maintain your own sanity and well being it may be necessary to just say no. Prioritize your time, consider your options and politely send your regrets if attending a particular party or holiday event will be too much for your schedule.

Don’t overindulge
Many people use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge and eat or drink to excess. Remember everything in moderation is the best strategy and if you feel that you are at risk for over eating or drinking too much at an event, do the following:

  1. Have a healthy snack before attending the event so that you are not extremely hungry
  2. Drink a few glasses of water so that your stomach is full and you are hydrated
  3. Exercise self control and if necessary set an alarm on your phone so that you can check in with yourself every half-hour to self evaluate how much you’ve had to eat and drink

Take care of yourself if you feel under the weather
Don’t push yourself. If you start to feel like you’re getting sick it’s a much better strategy to take it easy for a few days and rest up rather than try to maintain a frenetic pace. Slowing down for a few days may mean that you’ll recover faster and be able to jump back into the seasons festivities sooner than if you didn’t acknowledge the cues your body was sending you.

The holidays are a joyous time but require self-discipline and control in order to maintain your health. And remember, it’s difficult to have a good time if you are feeling ill. An ounce of prevention is the way to go!