The holidays give us the opportunity to celebrate in the company of those we love the most, and indulge in things we don’t get to that often. Delicious meals, decadent desserts and all kinds of drinks are what make this season everyone’s favorite. But these are also what makes it a dreaded period for many people. If you’re not careful, you can easily get distracted from your usual routine and diet, and if that happens, the pounds start piling up and it will take you ages to get back on track – maybe even 5 months!

Health is, however, of the utmost importance even during the holidays, and while it might look impossible to stay healthy with all the temptations around you, it is more than possible if you keep a few rules in mind. Here’s what you have to remember.

Try not to overeat

You might think this advice sounds way too logical, but you’d be surprised what a big problem overeating is, especially during the holiday season. Eating slowly helps prevent overeating, as you will start to feel when you are about to be full – and that is when you should stop. This does not mean you won’t be able to enjoy all the delicacies; eat less of starchy foods to leave more room for other side dishes, and choose carefully what you load your plate with. You don’t have to try absolutely everything that’s on the table.

Don’t drink too much alcohol

Alcohol is not only unhealthy, but it is also full of calories. It might come as a surprise, but it actually contains almost as many calories as fat! It even makes your body burn less fat than it normally would, so unless you are one of those people who never gain a pound no matter what, you should seriously limit your alcohol intake. For women, 2-3 glasses a day and for men, 3-4 glasses at most is what’s recommended.

Limit your sugar intake

With all the delicious Christmas desserts and sugary drinks, it’s no wonder we eat way more sugar than we should during the weeks of holidays. You should, however, keep your sugar intake under control, not only because of weight concerns but also because it increases your risk of several diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, among other things. In addition, it can wreak havoc on your teeth too. So, limit the sweet things you eat and schedule a checkup with your Wollongong dentist just to be safe.

Strengthen your immune system

Winter can wreak havoc on our immune system as it is, but the holidays only make it worse. A lot of people crammed in a small space, some of them potentially already coming down with a cold, makes it easy to get infected. So, make sure you try to keep your immune system in top shape, by getting enough sleep, eating foods that boost your immune system and taking in plenty of vitamin C, B6 and E. Besides, habits like washing your hands often and using antibacterial gel when you’re out and about will also help you keep viruses and infections at bay.

Keep moving

You shouldn’t entirely neglect your exercise routine during the holidays. Getting enough movement will not only prevent you from accumulating those excess pounds, but it also benefits your immune system. In addition, you will be so grateful to yourself when you don’t have to go through the struggle of taking it up once again after a break! Even if the cold (or hot, if you live in sunny Australia) weather prevents you from going on your usual walks or bike rides, some indoor equipment or as little as a yoga mat will do just fine.

Minimize stress

“Holiday stress” is real, and if you are, for instance, a busy mom trying to balance work, household chores AND Christmas preparation, you probably know this well enough. Stress can weaken your immune system, not to mention that it will ruin the much-awaited holidays for you. So, be realistic with what you have time for and what needs to wait until the next year. Delegate some of the housework and preparation to your family members. It’s also a great idea to take a day or two just for yourself and relax. The weeks before Christmas are usually so hectic that you probably haven’t done that in a while.

As much as we love the holidays, sometimes the price we pay for those few weeks of indulgence is just not worth it. Try to be conscious of how much and what you eat and drink, set aside some time for exercise and relaxation and keep your immune system strong, and you will have no problems staying fit and healthy even during Christmas and New Year.

Jasmine Anderson is a lifestyle and beauty blogger based in Australia. She is an incurable daydreamer, who finds inspiration in little, everyday moments. Spending time at her cozy home office with her two cats, writing her blog, is her favorite thing in the world.