Le mini guide de survie santé du temps des fêtes

The holiday season is a time of revelry, of getting together (some years more than others), of celebration, and of time with our loved ones. However, this is also a period when our healthy lifestyles tend to take the edge, go wrong or even disappear. Very often we lose our routine bearings, we travel from one end of the province to the other or we chain events to each other. It is for these reasons that I have put together a little survival guide for you to stay healthy during these festivities.és.

Rule # 1: Don't panic: breathe!

Whether it's the gift race, the travel prep marathon, the culinary preparations or the mountain of things to do at work before you leave for the holidays, all reasons seem good to be stressed during the holiday season.

Here are some signs to look out for that indicate you may need to take a few minutes to breathe:

  • Tightness in the teeth or jaw;
  • Accelerated breathing or high heart rate in a sedentary moment (sitting, lying down);
  • Feeling of not knowing where to turn (or being a hen with no head); ;
  • Feeling of alarm or panic for some trivial reason.

In these cases, it is better to stop what you are doing and practice either: 4-4-8 breathing (inhale 4s, hold the breath 4s and exhale 8s) or cardiac coherence for 1 to 2 minutes. If we have more time, we could do a Jacobson relaxation or a 5-10 minute mindfulness meditation session.

Rule # 2: Hold the base

With a little luck, the routine can be maintained for a few days off. Here I am not saying to act as if you are going to work, but rather to stick to the outline of a normal day.

Here are some examples :

  • Keep a relatively stable time for getting up and going to bed. For example, if you go to bed 2-3 hours later, try to get up 1-2 hours later the next day. The principle here is to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night and a fairly restful sleep.
  • Eat at least 1 to 2 meals at the usual time, especially for children.
  • Prepare healthy snacks (raw vegetables, date energy balls, fruits easy to transport, fruit compotes, etc.).
  • Take a minimum number of steps per day (5,000 to 6,000), and if you are lucky enough to take larger steps, aim for 7,000 to 10,000.
  • Take a bottle of water with you to get an idea of how many liters you have drunk in a day.

Rule # 3: Have fun activelyt

Now is the time to party and let go, so why not take the opportunity to have as much fun as possible?

Let your imagination run wild as you build a slide, fort, or snow sculptures. Have the kids around you introduce you to their favorite active game on a console. Frolic in the snow with a contest of angels or have a snowball fight (but remember war is no reason to hurt yourself hehe). Do a few exercises between each round during a game of board game. Host an obstacle course outside or with cushions in the basement (keeping an eye on everyone's safety!) The possibilities are endless, so let your ideas flow!!

Rule # 4: Choose non-alcoholic drinks

As we all know, the holidays are also a time when alcohol consumption is in full swing! However, alcohol will tend to accelerate our dehydration and have a perverse effect on the quality of our sleep. It would therefore be important to limit its consumption so as not to reap all its negative effects.

I offer you some tips to reduce your consumption:

  • Drink a glass of water between each drink. This will keep you hydrated and reduce the chances of a headache the next day.
  • Alternate with a drink with a festive feel
    • Kombucha;
    • « prepared mocktails or non-alcoholic cocktails;;
    • non-alcoholic beers (there is now a huge range, from stout to IPA);
    • non-alcoholic spirits (eg rum or gin);
    • sparkling water with frozen fruit (cranberries, raspberries, blueberries), mint leaves and a hint of lime or lemon.

Rule # 5: Discover new horizons

On a daily basis, it can be difficult to explore new sporting activities or new places. The holiday season, with its travel and holidays, allows us this flexibility.

Here are some of my suggestions for winter activities to discover:

  • Rent a fat bike and ride on snowy trails.s.
  • Learn about Nordic walking.
  • Go for a skate course in the forest or on a canal.
  • Try snowshoeing (or hok skis) or cross-country skiing.d.
  • Go for a snowshoe hike in the mountains.
  • Take a dog sledding course.

If you don't have the soul to initiate yourself into something new, opt instead to explore the neighborhoods or regions you visit. Take a big walk in your in-laws' neighborhood (or a new place near you), go sliding with grandparents, or ski a new mountain. Sometimes a little change of air will make all the difference in rekindling the flame for a sport!


In conclusion, make choices that will make getting back to normal easier and more enjoyable. No need to feel drunk, tired and stressed during this time, you have the option of keeping a minimum of good habits while having maximum pleasure. Take care of yourself and have a wonderful holiday season filled with good things, loved ones and sprinkled with good habits!

Claudia Labrosse
Kinesiologist approved by the Federation of Kinesiologists of Quebec (FKQ)

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