While the holidays bring visions of sugar plums and spending time with family to mind, one cold could derail your holiday visions and end with you stuck in bed while everyone else is out having all the fun.

As schedules get crazy and holiday travel ramps up staying healthy during the holidays requires preparation above all else. To make sure you don’t end up missing out on all the festive fun you’re looking forward to, follow these three tips from Innovation Health for a merry, bright, and healthy holiday season.

Make a health checklist and check it twice to take care of your immune system: This time of year can take a toll on your immune system. From holiday travels to office holiday parties, to running here and there, and all around the square, December can be a stressful month! To stay healthy, I recommend making a holiday health list that includes washing your hands often, getting enough rest and drinking plenty of water. To combat those heavy holiday meals and cookies and treats try to also plan healthy meals along the way. Don’t worry if you can’t check off every item on your health to do list in one day. Aim to hit one or two of them, and before you know it those holiday habits will become a part of your daily routine all year round.

Learn more about SAD if you’re having a blue Christmas: This time of year can be difficult for many people, with shorter days and chilly temperatures the winter can leave many feeling depressed. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. Learn about the symptoms and treatment options for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) here, and take time to learn more about the mental health resources available to you in our community.

Up on the rooftop, please don’t fall! Be prepared for holiday mishaps: From slips on ladders to kitchen disasters, as a doctor trained in emergency medicine I’ve seen my fair share of holiday accidents. Instead of going directly to your ER, you might want to consider dashing through the snow to a local urgent care clinic where many non-life-threatening accidents can be treated. A trip there will almost may be more affordable than a trip to the ER and have you in and out quickly. Take a few minutes to locate the urgent care center and emergency room nearest you here.

As we make our way through the holiday season, keeping these tips in mind will help you healthy and happy for the entire season.

On behalf of everyone at Innovation Health, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!

About Innovation Health
Innovation Health provides health benefit plans to more than 190,000 members. The product of a unique Aetna and Inova Health System  partnership, Innovation Health began offering health benefit plans in October of 2013 as a new way to deliver and finance more affordable, quality health care for employers and individuals in Northern Virginia. Through our integrated care model, Innovation Health combines a premier health plan, health system, and physicians for improved health outcomes and cost savings. For more information on Innovation Health, our plans and how we can help you, visit our website.