How to stay healthy this Christmas

This year, the festive season is looking very different to Christmases past, with the office party consigned to 2019 and Covid restrictions limiting where we can go and who we can see. 

While the priority is undoubtedly to stay Coronavirus-free and help reduce the risk to your family and friends too, there are a number of other ways to ensure your best health this Christmas. Read our top tips for winter wellbeing to see you through the remainder of 2020 and into the new year: 

2020 vision

Eye care may not be at the top of your winter health agenda but, as the days turn frosty, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your peepers. Eyes are highly susceptible to wintry temperatures, with cold weather and strong winds likely to cause dryness and, in turn, soreness and discomfort. In addition, you’re more likely to keep windows closed at home and turn the heating up, decreasing humidity levels.

According to ophthalmologist Alistair Lockwood of Feel Good Contacts, there are a number of things you can do to combat dry eyes, including maintaining a healthy diet. This may sound difficult amid all the treats we’re tempted to tuck into at Christmas, but fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines can make a refreshing change from all that turkey! For vegetarians and vegans, omega 3 is also found naturally in nuts and seeds such as flaxseed and walnuts, as well as plant oils including flaxseed, soybean and canola oil.

Alistair also recommends regularly resting your eyes (especially if glued to hours of Christmas TV!). Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

A dry run

It can be tempting to drink more alcohol than usual in December in the best of years, let alone one as challenging as 2020. In times of stress – such a global pandemic – we can find ourselves drinking more and, if on annual leave, even starting earlier in the day. 

Charity Alcohol Change UK has a Coronavirus help and support hub full of practical tips on managing your intake and topping up your mental health, which can help reduce that need to reach for the bottle opener. The organisation also explains the link between alcohol and poor sleep, and offers support if you’re worried about a loved one. During the Christmas break, make sure you drink plenty of water in between each alcoholic drink or check out these festive alcohol-free drinks from BBC Good Food. 

A Covid-free Christmas

Sadly, with rates of confirmed Coronavirus cases rising exponentially in Wales and across the UK, the planned five-day window to see loved ones in your social ‘bubble’ has now been reduced to just Christmas Day. New national lockdown measures introduced from midnight on Sunday mean that households can now only form a bubble with one other household, plus an additional single person who lives alone – and only on December 25. 

Other than on Christmas Day, travel is not permitted in, out of or around Wales unless it is essential, such as for education, childcare, providing care or working when you cannot work from home. The lockdown will be reviewed in three weeks. If you must leave home for essential purposes, keep washing or sanitising those hands, maintain a social distance and wear a mask in public spaces to reduce the risk as much as you can to yourself and those around you.

Yuletide emergencies 

There are a number of precautions we can take to help prevent a ‘blue Christmas’, with this NHS Wales guide to staying healthy and avoiding emergencies. Should a health crisis occur, 999 is the number to call in a life-threatening situation, otherwise use the 

NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker for symptoms including Coronavirus, falls, chest pain, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea and more, or call 111 for further advice. 

The NHS 111 symptom checker can also be used for dental emergencies such as toothache, swelling or dental trauma, while you can find the appropriate dental helpline number for your health board area here. 

Advent adventures 

Maybe it’s cold outside, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the fresh air. Winter walks are the perfect way to burn off those extra calories and you can liven up your route by heading out after dark to see the Christmas lights in your locality. Stargazing on a crisp winter’s night can be fun for all the family, while you could also turn your garden into a winter nature reserve and attract some new friends! 

Your Plutus health plan

Don’t forget that our health plans give you cash back each time you visit your optician, dentist, physio and many other health professionals, or attend a routine health appointment. We’re open until (and including) Wednesday, December 23 and, although we’re largely working from home at the moment, our customer care remains at its excellent standard. Just phone 01633 266152 or email and we’ll answer all your questions. 

We look forward to reopening on Monday, January 4 2021 and, in the meantime, would like to wish all our customers a healthy and happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.

From the Plutus Health team x

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