Along with the joy of the season comes an increased risk of catching the latest bug. Increased stress, crowded New Year’s parties and lack of sleep can all contribute to a compromised immune system. This year give yourself the gift of wellness.

Here are some tips to help ensure that you start the New Year on a healthy note:

• Manage Your Stress Levels. Take the time to let yourself relax and appreciate the true gifts of the season. Avoid the excesses that can contribute to stress such as overspending and agreeing to do too much. Try yoga, meditation or breathing exercises to further help to reduce stress.

• Wash your hands often and well. Time spent in malls and at family gatherings increases your exposure to germs. Frequent washing will help to reduce this exposure and your risk of catching a cold or the flu.

• Maintain a healthy diet. Yes, indulgence is often part of the seasonal celebrations, but keeping the sweets and rich foods as special treats rather than main courses will do wonders to keep you healthy. For more hints on how to do this see the article below.

• Stay active. During the holidays you may feel that time is at a premium, but by maintaining your regular exercise routine you’ll find you have more energy and vibrancy to so those things which are important to you.

• Practice safe food handling. Holiday festivities often involve sharing a meal or hors d’oeuvres. To avoid food related illnesses make sure to keep meat and raw eggs away from other foods and cutting surfaces and never leave perishable items unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

• Decorate wisely. Use a ladder, not the couch or a chair, to hang your decor. Keep candles away from curtains and other fabrics. Also keep in mind that trimmings that have been stored in the attic or basement may need to be cleaned prior to use to avoid any allergic reactions from dust.

Most importantly, enjoy the closeness, appreciation and caring that this wonderful season brings!

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