Holiday Tips for Your Herpes Outbreaks
Now that Halloween’s over, and Thanksgiving is upon us, it is safe to say that we are in the thick of the holiday season. For me that means a lot of planning, a lot of cooking, a lot of shopping, and a lot of stress.
I don’t think I’m the only one. Many of my patients experience a lot more stress during the holidays. I’m seeing more depression, more colds, and recently I’ve noticed an increase in outbreaks in my herpes patients.
Stress is the number one lifestyle factor associated with increased herpes outbreaks.
Here are a few ways to keep your holidays herpes free:
Sleep in heavenly peace. The more rested you are, the better you will be able to handle stress in your life. And that may keep an outbreak at bay.
Have a cup of cheer - but not too much. The holidays are for celebrating, but not to excess. Drinking too much makes your sleep less restful - counterintuitive, I know. But less restful sleep is stressful for you body.
Eat well - and be merry. That holiday buffet may look good, but it’s bad for your waistline, and your stress level. Make sure your diet includes all the nutrients your body needs to keep you going strong. Be sure to limit sugary and fatty foods - staples during the holidays
Jingle bell rock. It’s easy to fall off the wagon when it comes to your exercise routine during the holidays. That can be a big mistake. Physical activity is a great stress reliever. Do something that you enjoy, so that it doesn’t seem like a chore. (Note to self: online shopping is NOT considered exercise).
Keep Jack Frost from nipping your nose. Avoid getting colds by washing your hands often. Colds stress your body and often trigger herpes outbreaks.
Faithful friends, who are near to us, gather near to us. Thankfully, the holidays are a great opportunity to connect and reconnect with friends and loved ones. Studies show that socializing and enjoying your friends can be a great stress reliever. And if you’re feeling anxious, talk to someone about it.
Face unafraid the plans that we made. So much is expected of us during the holidays. Remember that it’s not possible to meet every demand. Manage what you can in the time you have. Don’t stress yourself out.
Let your heart be light. During the hectic holiday season, be sure to get your ‘me’ time. Find some time to listen to music, read a book or a magazine, or take a hot, relaxing bath. If you’ve never tried it, consider yoga or treat yourself to a massage.
Joy to the World. You may have herpes, but you have so much to be thankful and happy about. Embrace each moment with a sense of joy and happiness. Everything else will fall into place.
Charlotte Grayson, M.D., is an internist in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. She is a 1995 graduate of Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency in 1998 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Previously, Dr. Grayson was Senior Medical Editor for a leading healthcare content company. She frequently speaks to the media about health, appearing on Fox News and CNN and contributing to TIME, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and WebMD magazines.