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Five healthy things to do in December

Sometimes it feels like the last thing we need at this time of year is a longer to-do list – but as the days get shorter and winter settles in, why not take a few minutes to make life a bit easier for future you? The time you invest now will be sure to pay you back in health dividends.

Stock up on Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium – which helps you maintain strong bones – and may also protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure and cancer. It’s also thought that it may help ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Vitamin D is found in foods including fish, eggs and fortified milk. The sun also helps the body produce vitamin D – and because we’re less likely to be outside in the sunshine during the winter months, this is the time to be taking vitamin D supplements. (Note that if you’ve never taken vitamin D before, it’s wise to discuss doses with a qualified health-care provider before starting.)

Get your flu shot

Influenza (or flu) season runs from November to April. You could avoid getting the flu – and passing it on to your family and friends (worst Christmas gift ever) – by getting the flu shot. Influenza immunizations are publicly funded – you can get yours free of charge – and they’re recommended for everyone, especially if you’re at high risk of influenza-related complications, or if you care for or might come into contact with someone who is at risk. This is especially important during the holidays, when you might be visiting with elderly or ill friends and relations. If you haven’t already got your flu shot, make an appointment with your family doctor today.

Buy a bag of Epsom salts

If you’ve ever had to clear out the end of your driveway after the snow plow has filled it in (again), you know that a few hours of shovelling snow can leave your muscles screaming for relief. A simple Epsom salts bath can make a huge difference to the way you feel tomorrow – just dissolve the salts in a tub full of warm bath water, soak for a while, and reap the benefits. (Bonus: An Epsom salts bath also helps for aches and pains you might have earned while skiing, snowshoeing or tobogganing – and it helps you warm up, too!)

Go crazy for citrus

Whether or not taking vitamin C helps prevent you from catching a cold is up for debate, but this vitamin is essential to your health. Citrus fruits – such as clementines, grapefruit and blood oranges – are very good sources of vitamin C, and they’re in season at this time of year, too. A big bowl of citrus fruit salad is perfect for a holiday brunch, and a sweet, juicy clementine is a great snack (and makes a nice change from all those Christmas cookies!).

Book a massage

This might fall squarely in the “indulgence” category, but why not treat yourself to a massage over the holidays? It’s a perfect way to relax and de-stress during the busy holiday season.

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