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With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about gifts, meals, family, and fellowship. However, in all of this excitement, it is important not to forget about health. The following are a few tips to keep in mind to stay healthy as you navigate this wonderful holiday season.

1. Be Mindful of Hand Washing

As the weather turns colder and people start piling into more places together, germs tend to spread. While you are shopping and spending time with others, you are likely to be touching items and surfaces that others – many who are sick – have touched. Simply washing your hands frequently and being mindful of washing hands after touching common items like shopping carts can help to keep you healthy.

2. Don’t Put Off Your Doctor Visits

With the hectic nature of the holidays, it can be tempting to push off doctor visits until January. Visiting the doctor and receiving preventative check-ups, screenings, and vaccines may help to keep you healthy and can help you catch conditions early, however. Since preventative services are covered by health insurance, you may not even have to pay anything out of pocket.

3. Practice Food Safety

Every year, many people become sick with food borne illnesses. Cross contamination between raw and cooked foods, improper hand washing techniques, and storing food at the wrong temperatures or leaving it out allows bacteria to grow. Avoiding food contamination and refrigerating food quickly after everyone has eaten can help to prevent food poisoning.

4. Beware of Overindulging

Overindulging is one of the main ways that individuals put their health in jeopardy over the holidays. Over eating can add pounds to your waistline and make you feel sluggish, so you may be less likely to exercise. Overindulging in alcohol can compromise your immune system, impair your judgment, and even cause alcohol poisoning in certain quantities. Practice moderation for good health.

5. Prioritize Sleep and Don’t Overextend Yourself

In the effort to juggle meal planning, shopping, children’s vacations, and all of the other demands that the holidays bring, many people overextend themselves and borrow from their sleep time. Prioritizing sleep can give you the strength and clarity that you need to not just get through, but enjoy the holidays. Observe self care by saying no to some requests and carving out time for relaxation and sleep.

This holiday season should be a time of celebration and joy. Take care of yourself and your health so that the season is truly wonderful.