Ask The Pharmacist: Healthy Holidays

Dec 12, 2017
Making plans for the holidays? Don't forget to plan for good health. Express Scripts' pharmacist Paul Reyes provides holiday health tips for the season.

Jennifer Article

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to neglect our health and well-being. At the end of the holidays, many of us are exhausted, under the weather and may have overindulged on sweets, adding a few extra pounds to the scale. The holidays are also a tough time for people managing depression, and the stress of the season can often exacerbate depressive symptoms.

Hard as it may be, it’s important to make time for yourself. Here are some tips for staying healthy – mentally and physically – during the holiday season:

Don’t forget about your medications. As a pharmacist, I see this often – busy schedules getting in the way of medication adherence. Set extra reminders on your phone – the Express Scripts Mobile App can help – or have a family member call you when it's time to take your medication so you stay on track. Also remember that some medications may interact with alcohol. Call your pharmacist to learn more about how alcohol could interfere with your particular therapy before you consume.

Keep exercising. Exercise is a good stress reliever, and it will help keep off the extra calories you consume during the holidays. Move or shorten your work-out session if you are pressed for time – don’t eliminate it. And if you must shorten it, try to make it up by walking an extra lap around the mall while shopping or using the stairs. Fitness trackers and smartwatches can help keep you on track with your exercise goals.

Avoid impulse eating. It’s easy to make unhealthy food choices when you’re having fun at a party or do not have time for regular meals. Plan ahead by eating a balanced breakfast and packing snacks, such as grapes or almonds, to have while you’re on the go. A healthy snack, such as a cup of yogurt, before you go to a party can help prevent overindulging on party food. Drinking plenty of water throughout your day can ward off the afternoon crash that leaves you reaching for one of those high-calorie, holiday coffee beverages.

Pay attention to your feelings. The holidays can trigger or exacerbate depression. If you’re feeling depressed, call your doctor for help right away. Also make sure to get a good amount of sleep, and take a few minutes each day to stretch or meditate to help feeling overwhelmed. The Mayo Clinic also has some good tips to help manage depression during this time.

I wish you and your family a very happy holiday. Be well.

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