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Holding a Christmas present.

Gift Ideas for Healthy Living

This holiday season, spread some cheer with gifts that promote healthy living. No matter who you’re shopping for, here are some fantastic options to help with fitness, nutrition, mental well-being, and more.

Fitness Resistance Bands ($15-$20)

Resistance bands are a versatile and affordable gift for fitness enthusiasts. They provide a full-body workout and can be used anywhere, making them a practical choice. A study available from the National Institutes of Health shows that resistance band training can improve muscle strength and flexibility in adults.

A woman doing yoga.

Yoga Mat and Accessories ($20-$30)

Yoga is a fantastic way to promote mental and physical well-being. A high-quality yoga mat and accessories like blocks or straps can enhance the experience. Yoga has been linked to various health benefits, including stress reduction and improved flexibility.

Healthy Cookbook ($15-$25)

A cookbook featuring nutritious recipes is an excellent gift for those looking to improve their dietary choices and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Better yet, recipes can be made together with family or friends.

Essential Oil Diffuser ($20-$30)  

Essential oil diffusers promote relaxation and mental well-being. Aromatherapy has shown promise in reducing stress and anxiety levels. Combine the diffuser with a set of essential oils for a calming gift.

Fitness Tracker ($30-$50) 

While some fitness trackers can be expensive, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available. These devices help monitor physical activity, sleep patterns, and more. One study found that fitness trackers can improve physical activity levels and overall health.

A woman holding a water bottle.

Reusable Water Bottle with Infuser ($15-$20) 

Staying hydrated is essential for good health. A reusable water bottle with an infuser allows the user to flavor their water naturally with fruits or herbs. 

Nutrient-Rich Superfoods ($10-$20)  

Gift a selection of nutrient-packed superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa, or matcha tea. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, contributing to a balanced diet and improved health.

Guided Meditation or Yoga App Subscription ($20-$30)  

Many apps offer guided meditation and yoga sessions. A subscription, when used regularly, can help reduce stress, improve mindfulness, and support mental health.

Handheld Massager ($20-$30)  

A handheld massager can help relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. Massage therapy has been associated with reduced pain, stress, and anxiety.

A couple opening Christmas presents.

It’s The Thought That Matters

You don't need to break the bank to show your loved ones that you care. These ideas offer practical ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Remember, the best gift is one that aligns with the recipient's interests and needs. Whether it's supporting their fitness journey, encouraging relaxation, or promoting a nutritious diet, help them start the new year in a fun and healthy way.

AltaMed Can Help

AltaMed is available to help you or a loved one start a journey toward healthier living. Before starting a new fitness or wellness regiment, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. Learn how to get started with AltaMed or call us at (888) 499-9303.

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See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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How to Manage Holiday Stress

Most of us have some stress in our everyday lives. Whether it’s anxiety from work, family drama, or worries about our health, there’s plenty of stressors to contend with. The holiday season, for all its magic, also comes with plenty of pressure. There’s the shopping, the travel, and the need to spend time with all the important people in our lives.

More serious types of anxiety, too, can resurface this time of year. Painful feelings like grief about the past or loss of a loved one, or unresolved trauma caused by people we’re expected to see, can be difficult to navigate. For people who can’t be with their families, feelings of lonliness often accompany the holidays.

No matter the cause, feeling stressed is normal and learning how to cope with it will serve you not only through the new year, but for many years to come.

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The Body and Stress

Your body releases hormones whenever you’re stressed. It is part of the fight-or-flight response that has developed over millions of years. You become more alert, your muscles get tense, and your pulse increases. The stress is meant to help you handle the situation. Staying stressed, even after the underlying cause has been dealt with, can lead to chronic stress which causes health problems like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Menstrual problems
  • Anxiety

Anxiety is what happens when the stress becomes out of control. You are in a constant state of worry. Symptoms include:

  • Changes in appetite, energy, and motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling angry, frustrated, sad, scared, or worried
  • Headaches, body aches, stomach problems, or rashes
  • Nightmares
  • Use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • Worsening physical or mental health
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Keys to Managing Holiday Stress

It’s important to recognize and take control of triggers that may lead to stress, especially during the holidays. The Mayo Clinic offers many helpful tips to help identify and stress and develop coping skills:

  • Maintain healthy habits — To keep up your energy and spirit, make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating as healthy as possible, and staying active. There’s lots of tempting treats this time of year, so make sure you have a plan.
  • Make a budget — Before you start buying gifts, set a budget that is realistic for what you can afford. Consider presents that allow you and your loved ones to spend time together, rather than lots of material items.
  • Set aside differences — Extra time with family members might mean more tension and the temptation to bring up past disagreements. Try to set boundaries and prepare to accept people as they are. 
  • Take a break — Set aside some time for yourself. While your schedule fills up with celebrations, make sure that you plan some quiet time for yourself or an activity you enjoy. This will give you time to clear your head and relax.

Taking care of yourself will help not only your mental health, but your physical well-being too. The holidays always bring lots of cheer and excitement. By following a de-stressor gameplan, you can give yourself the gift of peace of mind.

Get Help When You Need It

If stress is keeping you from enjoying the holidays or other parts of your life, it might be time to seek professional assistance. Start by talking with your primary care doctor. They may have some tips or advice for you, and they can also refer you to AltaMed Behavioral Health Services.

If you’re not sure if stress is your problem or if you should see a doctor, you can call AltaMed Behavioral Health Services directly at (855) 425-1777. We’ll help you find answers so you can get the care that’s right for you. Take a deep breath…together, we’ve got this.

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Staying Healthy over the Holidays

The last few holiday seasons have been a blur of social distancing, masks, and safety warnings. Now that the COVID-19 health emergency has ended, it’s a little safer to get together, but we still need to take precautions. Not only is the coronavirus still a risk, but the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can also cause serious health problems. 

Shopping, travel, parties, religious services, school pageants, and family gatherings will expose us to crowds, and therefore to illness. So, here’s our advice for keeping you and your family healthy all season long.

Understanding the Viruses

Here are the major viruses spreading this winter:

  • Influenza (Flu) — The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. The flu can lead to hospitalization, and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations like the elderly, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
  • COVID-19 — The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, and the virus continues to affect communities globally. The symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, from mild respiratory symptoms to severe respiratory distress. Vaccination against COVID-19 is a crucial step in reducing transmission and preventing serious illness and hospitalization.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus — RSV is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older children. However, it can lead to severe respiratory infections in infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. RSV can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia, requiring hospitalization in some cases.
Doctor applying vaccine bandage.

Get Vaccinated

Getting vaccinated against these infections is a proactive measure that benefits both individuals and the community at large. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Protection for You — Vaccines provide immunity against diseases, reducing your risk of falling ill and experiencing severe complications. That means you won’t miss the best that winter has to offer.
  • Protection for Others — By getting vaccinated, you contribute to herd immunity. This shields those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions or age, preventing the spread of infections within the community.
  • Prevent Overwhelmed Health Care Systems — Vaccination helps reduce the burden on health care systems, ensuring that hospitals have enough staff and resources to effectively treat those with life-threatening illness.  

Vaccine Eligibility

Here’s how to check which vaccines your family should get this winter:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine  Anyone age six months and older should get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Individuals six years and older who have not yet been vaccinated only need one dose for full protection. Those who were vaccinated previously are encouraged to get a booster
  • RSV Vaccines and Immunizations Babies under eight months and at-risk infants between eight and 24 months should receive an RSV immunization during the RSV season (October—March). Newborns should receive an RSV immunization within one week of birth if born during the RSV season. Pregnant people in their last trimester, and adults 60 and older, should ask their doctor about an RSV vaccination.
  • Flu Vaccine — Anyone age six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. 

Other Precautions

The viruses that cause COVID-19, RSV, and the flu are airborne. That means you’re more likely to become infected in a crowd or confined area where lots of people are breathing the same air. You can protect yourself by wearing a medical mask that fits over your nose and mouth. The mask should cover your chin and fit snugly over the bridge of your nose. You should still be able to breathe through it.

Wash Up

The viruses are transmitted when people sneeze or cough into their hands then shake someone else’s hand or touch someone’s face. If it gets into your eyes, nose, or mouth, you run the risk of getting ill. Wash your hands as soon as you get home from running errands or seeing friends. You can also carry hand sanitizer to disinfect more frequently.

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Get Rest and Eat Well

Your immune system is compromised when you’re not well-rested. It’s one of the reasons you want to sleep when you’re sick. Give yourself a break and get plenty of natural sleep to keep your body strong.

You should also eat well with plenty of lean proteins, colorful fruits, and vegetables. Limit your intake of processed meats and sugars. While there’s plenty of temptation this time of year, it’s important to have a gameplan when it comes to holiday eating.

We Have Your Back

Prioritize your health and the health of those around you this winter. Vaccination is a key strategy in the fight against infectious diseases. Getting vaccinated shows you're taking an active step toward a healthier and safer season.

All the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available at AltaMed, most at no cost to you.

It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider and stay on track to prevent these viruses from affecting you and your loved ones.

Gift Ideas for Healthy Living