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Stay Grateful: Holiday Tips to Keep You Safe & Happy

Health Hub
Author name: Lee Health


thanksgiving graphic

The holiday season means checking things off on your “to-do” list as you plan a memorable holiday season for you and your family.

But none of us plan on getting stressed out during this hectic time of the year. That’s why Lee Health Behavioral Health reminds you that the most important item on your “to-do” list should be:

“Take care of myself.”

Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit will help keep you feeling balanced during the most stressful moments of this holiday season, with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Pay special attention to your health and wellness as you cross to-dos off your list with these tips: 

  • Get enough sleep: 7-8 hours per night.
  • Plan and stick to a budget.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Simplify gift giving.
  • Consume less alcohol and sugar.
  • Start or keep exercising.
  • Avoid “toxic” people and relatives.
  • Try meditation.
  • Do not over-commit yourself.
  • Be careful not to indulge too much in Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday meals. It’s fine to give yourself a break and eat some amazing food—but mix in healthy greens and think about smaller portions. Also, take a walk or bike ride after dinner – great for your health, clearing your head, and spending additional time with family.

Practice being grateful

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to practice gratitude. Experts say it only takes a little bit of practice. You can even start by putting an alarm or notification on your phone to get you into the habit.

Remember to simply stop and look around: Who did you say thank you to today? When you say those words, is it just an automatic response, or do you really mean it? Take a moment to reflect and say it like you mean it.

Of course, sitting around the Thanksgiving table or spending the day with family offers a perfect time to practice gratitude. What are you thankful for? Scan the faces of your loved ones. Think back to the great times you’ve had. Gain some perspective on where you are in life and what has brought you to this moment.

Don’t feel quite ready to verbalize? That’s OK: You can offer a quick thanks and silently affirm the good things you’ve received and the people who have made a difference in your life. Thank your parents. Thank your siblings. Thank your children. As long as you think about gratitude and confirm it in your mind, you are on the right path.

Saying heartfelt words or writing them out in a journal has proven to have many therapeutic benefits – lowering blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, improving your sleep, and helping you feel less isolated.

Taking care of yourself protects your family, too.

Injury prevention matters not just on the holidays but year-round, too. Lee Health Trauma Services, Injury Prevention reminds us that it’s too easy to overlook safety precautions when we’re crossing to-dos off our lists as we rush about and plan, plan, plan. By checking in with yourself, you’ll be more mindful of keeping your family safe. 

Follow these holiday safety tips to help ensure the most wonderful time of the year stays that way.

  • Keep the floor clear of clutter, clean, and dry so you don’t slip or fall.
  • Keep your light strands off the ground, too. Lights and cords on the ground pose a tripping danger and can quickly break if stepped on. 
  • Live Christmas trees should be kept watered. Schedule reminders to prevent them from drying out. Don’t place Christmas trees, decorations, or gifts near fireplaces.
  • Turn off all decorations and lighting, inside and outside, before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Don’t overload circuits or use too many extension cords to avoid fire hazards. Check your smoke detectors and change batteries, if needed.
  • Use holiday lighting only as directed. If lights are meant for indoor use, don’t use them outside. This can expose them to moisture and cause electrocution, damage to property, and/or injury or death.
  • If climbing a ladder, wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles. Also, make sure the ladder is the correct height for what you’re doing and that it doesn’t wobble. Take your time and avoid overreaching.
  • Keep pets and small children away from holiday decorations, especially those that use electricity or pose a choking hazard.
  • Check the batteries in the smoke alarms. Never leave lighted candles unattended.

Specific travel safety tips:

  • If you must stop at night, park in a well-lit area.
  • Carry your car keys in your hand and stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Beware of excess alcohol consumption; don’t drive if you have been drinking.
  • Keep in mind the possibility of food poisoning from holiday meals or treats.

Injury prevention is a year-round task, not just for the holidays.

Throughout the year, Injury Prevention Specialists in Child Advocacy at Golisano Children’s Hospital provide education about unintentional injuries through community classes, one-on-one sessions, family events and at our patients’ bedsides.

The Lee Health Trauma Center offers a variety of informative programs about preventing youth injuries and violence, impaired driving, sports injuries and injuries common to seniors.

Learn more here on how to shine your green light with us!

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