12 days of holiday health blog post

The 12 Days of Holiday Health

December 14, 2020
Author: The Healthy U Crew

Health tips from VIU nursing students

Even though this year might look different due to COVID-19, the holidays should be a time to do some of the things you enjoy and spend time with loved ones, even if many of those interactions will have to take place virtually this year. Because staying healthy through the holidays can be challenging, here are 12 tips to stay healthy this holiday season.


Maintain Connections

Stay connected with loved ones and friends even if it can only be done virtually or over the phone. Reach out to people who increase your happiness levels or do something nice for others (send cards, emails or simple gifts by mail).

Set Limits for Spending

Decide on a reasonable holiday spending budget and choose small, meaningful gifts. If you cannot afford to buy presents, don’t! You can make your gift – who doesn’t love homemade holiday cookies? – or give the gift of time, such as offering to do something around the house for a family member in your bubble. 

Focus on Mental Wellness

Think about what the holidays mean to you. You can practice self-care and spirituality that has meaning to you such as meditation, yoga, prayer and spending time in nature. Remember that you are not alone – reach out to friends, family and mental health services as needed.

Eat Mindfully

Lots of delicious foods are typically available over the holidays. It’s okay to indulge, but it is important to try to avoid overeating. Try using a smaller plate – you can always go back for seconds! Choose to eat healthy foods like vegetables and fruits first, and, most importantly, practice self-compassion and body positivity.  

Limit Alcohol Use

Limit alcohol consumption and avoid drinking and driving. Use ride services if you are going to indulge while eating out, make sure you and your roommate figure out a designated driver. 

Exercise Regularly

Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (around 20 minutes per day). Find activities that you enjoy (walking, weightlifting, yoga, etc.). To follow COVID-19 restrictions, try participating in an online workout class at home. There are many accessible videos on YouTube, with a variety of different workout options.

Prevent Illness

Book an appointment to get your flu shot, remember to wash your hands and if you are feeling sick, stay home please! 

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is a very important part of health. Try to aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. To help meet this goal, try to go to bed at the same time every night in a cool environment and avoid phones/screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Lastly, keeping daytime naps under 20 minutes helps to promote longer sleep at night!

Make a Difference in Your Community

Although it is important to take good care of ourselves, doing simple acts of kindness for others can increase our own self-esteem and sense of self-worth. This can be as simple as paying small compliments to members of your community, donating any unwanted clothing to your local shelter, volunteering or donating money at your local charity.

Practice Gratitude Daily

At the end of each day, think of three specific things you are grateful for. This can be as simple as “today I am grateful for my home, the sunshine and my cat.” Our minds tend to focus on the one bad thing that happened in our day, but we can rewrite this narrative.

Make New Year’s Resolutions

When making your resolutions this year, start with small, realistic goals. Accept that your goals may change and that is okay!

Follow COVID-19 Restrictions

COVID-19 is still affecting our community, so it is important to follow public health regulations (like social distancing, wearing a mask and abiding by travel restrictions). Remember, we are all in this together!


Healthy U Cowichan is a group of nursing students working in the community and based out of VIU’s Cowichan Campus. If you have any further questions or health-related ideas you would like to see on the next blog post, please feel free to contact the Healthy U Crew at healthyucowichancampus@gmail.com.

●      Vancouver Island Crisis Line: https://www.vicrisis.ca/crisis-lines/

●      Find a food bank: The Full Cupboard Vancouver Island | Foodbanks BC

●      Nanaimo Food Bank: https://www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org

●      Cowichan Valley Food Bank: Cowichan Valley Basket Society - The Duncan Foodbank  

●      Alcoholics Anonymous Nanaimo: http://nanaimoaa.org/meetings/

●      Alcoholics Anonymous Cowichan: https://cowichanaa.ca/?page_id=14

●      Healthy Eating Tips: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/healthy-living/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-basics

●      Mental Health Resources: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/mental-health-substance-use/resources

●      Harm Reduction Services: https://towardtheheart.com

●      Covid-19 Information: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data

●      The Calm App: https://www.calm.com

●      Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com

●      Help Seeker https://helpseeker.org

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