Dec. 12, 2012 >> back to issue

How to Stay Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Holiday LightsThe holidays are a time for family, togetherness and celebration. Everything should go perfectly, right? But if your house is anything like mine, time seems to move twice as fast, and laughter is paired with chaos and the occasional disaster. However, these tips can make holidays go more smoothly.

Manage Your Mental Health

  • Learn the word no. Just because someone invites you to something or asks for help doesn't mean you have to say yes.
  • Don't stress over personalities. Your distant cousin Sally may be nosey, but don’t let her push her opinions on you about your oxygen use or medication techniques.
  • Volunteer your time. It's a good pick-me-up, and PHA can always use an extra pair of hands.
  • To the extent you are able, do some exercise or go for a walk to relieve stress.

Handle Parties and Family Gatherings Safely

  • Eat before the party. You don't have control of the amount of sodium in food if you don't make it yourself.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake. The fluid and calories in alcohol add up quickly.
  • Eat gravy and other high sodium holiday foods sparingly.
  • Control your portions. Don't let 10 months of eating well get spoiled by two months of party food.
  • Pay closer attention to your medication and oxygen tubing. Rambunctious kids, pets and lots of hugs can be dangerous.
  • Don't stand too close to candles or fires to avoid any issue with your oxygen tubing or pump.

Monitor Your Health

  • Plan ahead. If you are traveling, let your PH specialist know.
  • Weigh yourself daily.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date.
  • Resolve to quit smoking.
  • Did your insurance change? Let your pulmonary hypertension specialists know, so they can help you plan ahead.
  • Bring enough extra medication in case you get snowed in or delayed in travel.
  • Don't forget to change your ice packs!

It’s easy to become less disciplined during the holidays, but you can help reduce your holiday stress levels if you follow these tips to have a happy, healthy you!

Be sure to tune in to the webinar on healthy food shopping. Register now

By Crystal Weber, RN, PH Nurse Clinician, Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

This article was first published in Pathlight Fall 2012

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.