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VCU HR Well-Being blog

Giving VCU employees the wellness resources they need to be healthy both on and off campus

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Your loved ones will thank you if you follow these tips to stay healthy and safe over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Make sure your food is safe

Keep food safe to prevent food borne illness from ruining your Thanksgiving dinner. Be sure to:

  • Wash hands and food-contact surfaces often.
  • Keep raw meat and their juices away from ready-to-eat food.
  • Cook foods to proper temperatures. Cook turkey or stuffing to 165°F.
  • Refrigerate perishable food within two hours.

Enjoy the holiday without losing control of your diet.

  • Cook using low fat products and cut down on the amount of fat and sugar in recipes.
  • Eat smaller portions and pick foods that have fewer calories.
  • When eating, try using a smaller plate to control your portions.
  • Don’t show up too hungry. Make sure you have breakfast.
  • Go easy on the apps! Try and not overindulge on snacks and save your appetite for the main course.
  • Whether or not alcohol is involved, it’s always a good idea to hydrate by drinking plenty of water.
  • You should definitely still eat dessert- just enjoy it in moderation!

Make physical activity part of your Thanksgiving tradition.

While sitting by the fire all day watching football and eating delicious food might sound like everything you ever wanted, do your best to get outside for a bit! Whether you decide to participate in a Turkey Trot (road race or fun 5k on Thanksgiving Day), a morning round of golf, or just throwing the football around in the yard with the kids, getting outside and moving is always a good idea for your health and well-being. If you’re worried about time, wake up early and go for a walk or jog with some family members!

Keep Happiness and Relaxation a Priority.

Being surrounded by lots of family and tons of food can be overwhelming, and sometimes stressful (depends on your family!). Use some of these tried and true methods to feel calm and collected despite your surroundings.

  • If you are the host of the party and feeling overwhelmed, try a simple breathing exercise to relax yourself. We know people are always saying “just take a deep breath”, which never seems to be helpful in the moment. However, anyone who has tried it can probably attest to its effectiveness! Try slowly inhaling to a count of 5 followed by an exhale to the count of 5 as well. Take 10 deep breaths this way and you’re on your way to restoring inner peace!
  • Meditation is always a great option if you need to lower stress levels quickly. All you need is a couple of minutes and a quiet space. Look online for a quick 5-minute guided meditation to make it easier.
  • Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before so you are rested and ready for the day.

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy with friends and family. Above all we should celebrate our blessings and good fortune surrounded by the people we love. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to your diet or exercise plan as you normally would. It’s always good to take time away from routine and just relish the moment!

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