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This year, make it a goal to deck the halls without ending up in an emergency room! Believe it or not, thousands end up there each year due to overzealous (dangerous) decorating. Try the following tips for a few ways you can be proactive about staying healthy and happy this holiday season, no matter how elaborate your decorating and celebrations may be.

1. Manage Your Stress with "Me Time"

For many, the holidays are a time of fun, merriment and celebration-- including the opportunity to spend time with people that you might not see very often. Adding these events to an already-busy schedule as well as finding gifts for everyone on your list can increase your stress and cause you to "stretch" yourself beyond normal limits. Be sure to make time for play and relaxation this holiday season by rewarding yourself with down time between activities. Spending a few moments alone can give you a chance to reset and prepare for the next holiday event.

2. Avoid Common Holiday Injuries

The season brings with it an increased focus on holiday safety. Make sure to use a sturdy step stool or ladder (none of those squirrelly-looking chairs or stacks of boxes) to steady yourself when hanging lights and other decorations. Also, the winter months often see an uptick in the number of residential fires -- to protect yourself, make sure your smoke detectors are working and loaded with fresh batteries. If someone of any age gets a gift like a bike or skateboard, safety gear such as helmets and pads are crucial when trying it out.

3. Stay Up to Date on Vaccinations

The flu and colds can spread almost uncontrollably throughout a home, workplace or school. Be sure that your entire family is up to date on this year's flu shot to help stop the flu from making the rounds.

4. Practice Moderation & Healthy Substitutions

The holidays don't have to mean a season of unhealthy indulgence. Practice moderation by eating fresh fruit as a sweet and delicious substitute for candy, as well as a substitute for that second helping of pie. You can also try a little fruit before any dessert to lower your chances of overeating. Try to limit your intake of salty, sugary and fat-laden foods- usually, just a bite or two can quell those cravings!

Consider modifying your favorite holiday recipes in ways that reduce their fat and sugar content without affecting the flavor. And if you want to get even more creative, try swapping a dish out with a new healthy favorite!

5. Stay Active & Hydrated While Having Fun

Exercise is often one of the first things that goes by the wayside during the busy holiday season. Make a family commitment to be active at least 30 to 60 minutes every day -- and make it fun! Dance to your favorite music or venture out for a walk around the neighborhood to check out the holiday lights. And don't forget to drink plenty of water to keep your body fueled and to reduce hunger cravings (you can often feel "hungry" when you simply need water!).

6. Don't Miss Out on Zzz's

Getting enough sleep is crucial to staying healthy during the holidays. Make sure to go to bed and wake up at regular times. Don't buy into the common misconception that you can catch up on the sleep you miss on the weekends or at another time. Instead, make getting enough sleep a priority every night. Maybe that means accepting the "okay" gift-wrapping job as opposed to magazine-worthy (because it will be ripped to shreds anyway), and saving time in meal prep with the help of potlucks or your neighborhood deli/grocery.

MedPost is here when you need us during this busy season -- just check MedPost.com for holiday hours. Whether you need flu shots for the family, or treatment for an illness or injury, our variety of urgent care and wellness services can help safeguard your holiday health.

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Urgent Care Association of America