From parades, tree decorating and menorah lighting ceremonies to the New Year’s Eve countdown, the holiday season is here, but it doesn’t have to be time off from maintaining your health and well-being. As you take part in winter holiday celebrations, following some simple tips can be a recipe for a safer and healthier holiday season.
The holiday season is a time to celebrate by gathering with friends and family and it often involves eating and enjoying food. Canada’s Food Guide offers some ideas to help you make nutritious choices and ideas for dishes that incorporate plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
When you buy, prepare and store food over the holidays, you can reduce the risk of illness for your family and friends by following simple food safety precautions. Always wash your hands and food preparation surfaces with warm, soapy water. Make sure to separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. Be sure to cook food to safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer.
The holidays can be busy and stressful for many. Physical activity refreshes the mind, can relieve tension and stress, and can release feel-good hormones (endorphins) that make us feel better. Consider creating holiday traditions that emphasize being active with the whole family.
Some people may choose to consume alcohol and cannabis while celebrating the holiday season. While the safest option is to not consume these substances, you can reduce the risk of potential harms by using in moderation and understanding the health and safety risks. Check Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health and Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for information to help you decide when, where, why and how to consume either of these substances.
If you do drink alcohol and/or use drugs, designate a sober driver, call a taxi or use a ride share service to protect yourself and others on the road. Never drive when you are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, and do not allow your family members or friends to drive while impaired.
When preparing to gather with friends and family, remember that COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continue to circulate in our communities. To reduce the risk of becoming ill and to protect those closest to us it is important that everyone uses multiple layers of protection such as staying up to date with vaccinations, staying home when sick, washing your hands often, and consider. wearing a mask in indoor public places, especially if you are at higher risk of severe infection or are in close contact with someone at greater risk.
For more information on staying healthy and safe during the holiday season visit smdhu.org.