The 411 on women’s health: Tips to have a healthy holiday |

The 411 on women’s health: Tips to have a healthy holiday

The holidays are supposed to be a Hallmark card: a happy family gathered around a table, everyone with smiling faces. But the holidays can be times of great stress. There is so much pressure to be bigger and better and shinier than last year. It is all so materialistic.

Here are a few tips to decrease holiday stress and increase holiday joy, as well as keep it healthy.

Big crowds mean big germs, so wash your hands often, especially after pawing through the pile of WalMart doorbusters. While no substitute for soap and water, here is where a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket can be a lifesaver. And if you are sick, do us all a favor and stay home — if you must go out, wear a mask so you minimize giving the not-so-welcome gift of your germs.

Tis the season for over-imbibing, and that wrecks havoc on so many levels — DUIS, accidents, family feuds. If you have the keys, then indulge in some non-alcoholic sparkling cider or a cranberry spritzer. If you’re not the designated driver, one glass of wine tastes as good as two — sip on it and make it last all night. And hosts, be sure to provide some non-alcoholic options for your guests.

Everything looks so good on the holiday table you want to eat it all. First, try setting the table with smaller plates — you will fill that plate up and your brain will think you are eating more, so you are less likely to overstuff yourself. Take a tiny taste of everything — literally a forkful, but still try to fill half the plate with veggies, a quarter with the main dish (turkey, ham or prime rib, whatever your family tradition is) and the final quarter with the starchy potatoes and dressing. As for pumpkin pie, I find it is even better the next morning for breakfast. If you have to have dessert that evening, try taking a walk between the main course and dessert.

Try to simplify. One or two well-thought-out presents, picked with the person’s interests in mind, are better than a pile of shiny gifts that will sit in the back of the closet, only to be re-gifted next year. My very best presents ever have been the handmade ornaments from my daughter in pre and elementary school, or the family trip my husband and I give each other over a couple of birthdays or Christmases. Because, really, the best gift is spending time and making memories with the people you love.

Happy and healthy holidays to you all.

— Dr. Kelly Shanahan is the owner of Emerald Bay Center for Women’s Health. Her practice is located at 1154 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe, and will be focusing more on health and happiness in the coming year. She can be reached at 530-542-4961.

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