Happy Holidays Everyone!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year~ again! I hope you are able to celebrate and spread love amongst your family, friends, and communities during this joyous time. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it’s also completely possible to make choices that benefit your health too. Definitely take some time to relax and treat yourself, but don’t become overwhelmed by the sugary treats and boisterous parties at every turn. The holidays aren’t about being anxious or deprived, so following a few simple tips to create a balance in your life can really help- and you won’t feel guilty or behind the curve when the new year starts! These small steps toward healthy living will truly benefit your heart in many ways and keep you feeling your best while you’re rocking around the Christmas tree! Here are a few of my top tips to having a truly happy holidays:

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  1. Avoid overindulging. Just because you’re at a holiday party, doesn’t mean you have to eat all of the food. Trying filling your plate with only the things that you know are your favorites and will give you true enjoyment. It’s not bad to try something new every once in a while, but eating everything that appears festive is unnecessary. Cut back on the sugary treats, listen to your own body, and limit your alcohol intake. Don’t overthink, overdo it, or stress about it- that will take away from all of the festive fun in the first place! It’s not necessary to avoid it all together, but it is good to exercise self-control and balance when you head to your neighborhood Christmas party.
  2. Stay active! Why not start your New Year’s Resolutions now? There’s no reason to wait for the turn of the 2019 when every day is an opportunity to improve yourself and your overall health. Even better, find a friend or family member that you would like to spend some extra time with over holiday break and find a physical activity you can do together! Skiing, sledding, building a snowman, snowshoeing, or just going for a walk are some of my favorites- and they can be a great way to bond and make memories with those that you love. However, remember that exercise is not an excuse to eat more. It should help you find balance and prevent yourself from feeling guilty, but it does not mean that you should overcompensate for the hard work that you just did by eating that entire platter of Christmas cookies.
  3. Allow yourself time to relax. Your heart is hopefully full over the holidays- so much gratitude, love, and laughter to share with those who are near and dear to you. However, these times can also be stressful- cooking, hosting parties, scrambling to find those last-minute gifts. Remember to take time for yourself and don’t overfill your schedule. Sometimes you just need a break! Stressing about your to-do list isn’t the point of the holidays, and it’s never beneficial for your heart (emotionally or physically). Relax by taking a small walk, curling up with your favorite book near the fire, renting a movie, or cuddling a puppy- (my personal favorite). A happy heart = a happy you.
  4. Wash your hands! There are lots of germs out and about during the winter season, and there’s hardly a quicker way to put a damper on your Christmas than coming down with a cold or flu-bug. It seems like common sense, but here’s your gentle reminder to wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth any more than you have to, especially after being in contact with others in a public place. Carry some hand sanitizer and tissues with you when you go out, and if you do come down with an illness, rest up and give your body a chance to recover. Your family and friends will appreciate you not sharing it with them.
  5. Try new (healthier) recipes! If you’re anything like me, you’re not going to avoid Christmas cookies and fudge and peppermint mochas all together this Christmas (the food is one of the best parts!) Like I stated earlier, it’s not necessary to deprive yourself! The goal is simply to seek balance. I love baking over the holidays, and making healthy substitutions in your recipes is easier than you’d think.

Don’t forget to get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association today! Add your voice by simply texting HEART to 46839 right now, or visit https://www.yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few minutes, and you will be part of a powerful movement to make a difference and save lives.

Merry Christmas, Wyomingites!

Forever your Miss Wyoming 2017 and AHA Advocate,

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Cheyenne Buyert

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