By Maria Jauhar, M.D.

When we are thankful, we like to show it. So, as families and loved ones gather this holiday season – from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day – why not show how much we’re grateful by focusing some of that holiday glow on our health?

When you think of it, the pause that comes with the holidays, the break from routine could be an annual reminder to take care of what’s precious. It’s strange but true that the everyday often crowds out higher priorities. Like teen or young-adult children’s checkups. Or even your own.

Shift Family Health from Defense to Offense

Getting though the holidays without the added pounds, learning to recognize and mange the stress that can come from holiday expectations, staying safe as we travel – all these are important, and we’ll deal with them in greater depth in later blogs.

For now, we’d like to introduce something more unusual. Let’s have the holidays remind us of the proactive practices that can protect our families and loved ones for many years to come.

Put Time and Togetherness to Good Use

Taking small children for regular checkups is part of many household routines. And we put checkups back up on the priority list later in life, when age reminds us we’re not immortal. But a big span in the middle of our lives – our most active, demanding years – may be characterized by letting the checkups slip.

If that’s true of your teens or young-adult children, or even of yourself, why not let Thanksgiving signal that it’s time to get your checkups on the calendar?

To give thanks is one thing. To show thanks is even better.

Not All the Blocking and Tackling is on TV

Let’s not forget the basics as we make our holidays a reminder of how grateful we are for health. Eating well, exercising properly, managing stress and above all quitting cigarettes – these are the blocking and tackling of avoiding preventable illness.

Proper eating and stress management are so important that we’ll talk about them more specifically in upcoming blogs, as the holidays progress. For now, let’s just say it’s not the holiday foods that threaten our weight control. It’s the recipes. For example, turkey and sweet potatoes would make almost anyone’s healthy eating list, but stuffing and brown sugar are just as likely to be things we want to limit. Portion size is another opportunity to touch all the holiday bases without tipping the scales.

What We Do – the Most Important Factor in Good Health

And here’s an important point about preventable illness. Even the greatest threats to our families’ health can be minimized by what we do. Even our risk of heart disease and cancer, where heredity does play a role, can be reduced significantly by healthy habits and regular monitoring from a family physician.

To schedule an appointment with us at Island Family Medical Center, call 912.897.6832 or use our online appointment request form.