Dr. Campbell: How Christmas can be good for your health

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Today is Christmas Day and many of us have plans to eat, drink and be merry — and we should!  While overindulgence can provide you with far too many calories, there are some things you can do to make Christmas good for your health as well!

1. How can Christmas Day boost your health?

We can actually use the joy of the holidays to boost our well-being and mood.

2. What can we do to make it healthy and give ourselves the emotional boost we all need for better health?

  • Sing: according to Swedish researchers, singing helps to control our breathing and regulate our heartbeat and pulse. Warbling alone is good, but singing in a group is even better. The benefits are similar to yogic breathing, which has a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
  • Give and Receive: when we give and receive gifts our brains release feel-good chemicals including dopamine and oxytocin. This certainly improves mood!
  • Gather with Friends and Family. The average family only spends 36 minutes of quality time together (without distractions) a day. Make today a day that we all improve this time.
  • Catch up on sleep. With the hustle and bustle of our lives, taking a day to catch up on sleep and a short sleep after lunch can reduce stress, help ­cardiovascular function and improve alertness and memory according to some researchers.
  • Take a Walk together. Exercise can help manage the extra calories of Christmas Day lunch or dinner!
  • Play Games. Its not just for kids. A little competitive game is good for adults too!
    Unlike watching TV, playing games as a family forces us all to be interactive and engaged — even making eye contact

3. What should we avoid on Christmas Day?

Enjoy the spirit of the season. Leave confrontation and important life discussions for another day. Relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. Limit alcohol and practice good portion control.

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