Thanksgiving is over, and it’s now socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music and fight the urge to punch Walmart shoppers in the face. It’s official: The holiday season is here.
Health and the holidays have a tricky relationship. With all the food and parties, the average American is going to gain about a pound over the next few weeks. That doesn’t sound like much, but most people never end up losing that pound, though 32% will to vow to next year, according to Nielsen research.
So how can you enjoy the most wonderful time of the year while maintaining your health?
I could write a bunch of tips, like eating something sensible before a party to avoid overindulging or drinking water instead of the 340-calorie eggnog. But I’ll do you one better, and draw some inspiration from the seasonal movies we all know and love. (Disclaimer: I’ve never seen Love Actually.)
Physical Health: Die Hard
Pull-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises because they’re among the most difficult. And here John McClane is, essentially doing them in elevator shafts to crawl around air ducts. That’s impressive bicep, back, shoulder, chest and grip strength, and John didn’t train at all. Remember, he was just at Nakatomi Plaza visiting his ex-wife.
Mental Health: A Christmas Carol
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Being angry is linked to depression and anxiety, as well as heart problems and shorter lives. Think about how much better off Scrooge was once he learned to stop being such a jerk.
Intellectual Health: A Christmas Story
Critical thinking and problem-solving are hallmarks of intellectual health, as well as a really strong persuasive argument. Everyone, including Santa, thought Ralphie would shoot his eye out, but he still talked his parents into getting him a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock for Christmas.
Social Health: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Social health feeds into mental and physical health. Research has shown that social isolation is just as much of a risk factor for illness and early death as high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. Who was more isolated than the Grinch, who was so antisocial that he hated the idea of others having fun? All it took was one human interaction for the Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes in a single day. Really, he was just lonely.
Occupational Health: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold has his flaws. He’s overeager to the point of careless and he sucks at spatial relations because come on, that giant Christmas tree isn’t fitting on top of the car. But he’s a good, conscientious employee and definitely not someone who’d be miserable in his career due to passive complacency. Only a man who really knows his value to the company can turn a crappy Jelly of the Month Club bonus into a raise.
Environmental Health: It’s A Wonderful Life
Environmental health goes beyond the earth and includes our own environments and how we contribute to the world around us. When George Bailey contemplated suicide on Christmas Eve, his guardian angel showed him how much better his community was because he was a part of it.
Financial Health: Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
There’s a meme floating around wondering what the hell Peter McCallister did for a living that he could afford that house and a Christmas trip to Paris for his large family. We never actually meet him, but Uncle Rob is the real breadwinner in that family. He’s got a Parisian flat with a view of the Eiffel Tower and a townhouse on Central Park West that he’s casually renovating from top to bottom. Saving money is another one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and if it’s yours, just do whatever Uncle Rob does.
Spiritual Health: Ernest Saves Christmas
Ernest may be dumb as all else, but you can’t say he’s not a believer. Granted, this movie was about Santa, not God, but still. Santa is kind of a higher power, right? Whatever, this one was hard.
There you have it: Eight different people (or, seven people and a Grinch) to inspire your healthy ways this holiday season.
Should we have included Buddy the Elf instead of Ernest P. Worrell? Did we miss anyone else? Let us know in the comments.
Whatismyhealth © 2017
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