We are hip deep in the holiday season and there is much more revelry before the second of January turns the page to a new year.  That being said, many of us are getting ready to attend a number of seasonal gatherings.  Whether it is a work, family, or friend function, we will be around more people this time of year than arguably at any other time.

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It's with that in mind the Washington State Department of Health has put together these seven steps, or suggestions, as to how you can enjoy all the celebrations you want this holiday season, while maintaining your health and happiness.

1. Take Care of You

HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
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There is more to happy and healthy than just physical.  Many people struggle emotionally and mentally during the holidays.  Some things that can help shift focus is donating time to a charitable cause you are passionate about, connecting with people that are close to you, and give yourself a break if you're feeling stressed or anxious.  You can also call 988 if you need to talk to someone about your struggle.

2. Prevent the Spread of Germs

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dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images
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The fly, common cold, Covid, RSV, and a number of other viruses, bugs, and maladies are looking for opportunities to make you miserable.  Easy ways to minimize your chances of getting sick this time of year is washing your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.  Those are where viruses can enter the body. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not easily accessible.  If you feel sick for any reason...stay home.  Talk your primary doctor to see if any of the available seasonal shots are right for you.

3. Stay Active

NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Whether it is home equipment (pictured above) or getting out for a walk, physical activity can improve sleep, decrease anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and help against a number of chronic health issues.  Most physical activity is beneficial whether in a group setting or by yourself.

4. Eat

SSPL via Getty Images
SSPL via Getty Images
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Food makes everything better!  The holidays have earned a reputation for fattening people up.  Enjoy whatever food you want, even dessert, but listen to your body when it tells you it is full.  However, always pay attention to...

5. Preventing Foodborne Illnesses

Gado via Getty Images
Gado via Getty Images
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No one wants that holiday dinner to leave a bad taste.  Preventing food contamination is easy to do, it just requires remembering to follow some simple steps:

  • Wash your hands and surfaces frequently
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate so you don't cross-contamination
  • Cook food to the proper internal temperature
  • Refrigerate leftovers right away to combat bacteria

6. Watch the Weather

Anadolu via Getty Images
Anadolu via Getty Images
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Be ready for the snow, sleet, or wet weather BEFORE it arrives.  Make sure you have plenty of warms clothes.  Dress in layers to stay warm, and have some waterproof items as well so that you clothes stay dry.

7. Observe Fire Safety

Sivaraman Gopakumar
Sivaraman Gopakumar
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Believe it or not, most house fires happen in wintertime.  Cooking mishaps, smoking, unsafe wood stoves, and space heaters are just some of the causes of fires this time of year.  Make sure you and your family have a fire safety plan that you follow, and practice, throughout the year.

For more from the Washington State Department of Health click here.

25 Creepy Vintage Christmas Ornaments You Won't Believe Were Made

Sure, you could decorate your Christmas tree with adorable ornaments that will sparkle and shine during festive family gatherings. Then again, you might be better off choosing ornaments that will ensure some of your family never return. We recently scoured eBay and found some of the creepiest vintage Christmas ornaments that will put a scare into your guests this holiday season.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

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