The holiday season can be a joyful one. It can also be a challenging time to live with high blood pressure. With parties, busy schedules and more, anyone’s healthy lifestyle could be thrown off track.
Here are five hurdles that can pop up during the holiday season—and how you can overcome them.
Holiday Challenge: Festive food
It’s no wonder people worry about healthy eating over the holidays. But it is always possible to balance your eating. Make sure to start any event on the right foot. A snack that pairs produce and protein can help stabilize your blood sugar so you walk in satisfied and ready to make healthy choices. Once it’s time for your entrée, build a balanced plate: 50% non-starchy veggies, 25% lean protein and 25% carbs. And if one meal isn’t as balanced as you’d like? Don’t overthink it. The next meal is a chance to start fresh.
Holiday Challenge: Stress
Anxieties can be high during the holiday season. In the short term, this stress can raise blood pressure. Over the long term, stress can lead to making less healthy choices that impact blood pressure. There’s no magic formula to make holiday stress go away. If you notice stress creeping in, think about why. Is there something you can do to feel less stressed next time? Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel this way sometimes. It may also help to try some techniques to reduce stress in the moment.
Holiday Challenge: Missed meds
Has your doctor given you blood pressure meds? Then it’s important you take them as recommended. But as things get busy over the holidays, it can be easy to forget. One way to remember is to set reminders on your phone. You can also tie med-taking to another habit you are less likely to forget, like brushing your teeth or leaving for work.
Holiday Challenge: Cold and flu meds
Holiday season is also winter cold and cough season. Starting to sniffle? Be aware that over-the-counter decongestants can raise blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before you take any new meds or supplements.
Holiday Challenge: No time for blood pressure readings
Taking regular readings can help you manage your blood pressure. Your doctor may have even put you on a checking schedule. So, what to do when holiday chaos gets in the way of your checks? Simply start checking again! It’s never too late to get back on track. The more you check, the more you’ll learn. What better holiday gift to give yourself?