Things to Do Between Christmas and New Year (for Your Health)

Children take photo with Santa Claus during Operation Santa Claus.
Children take a photo with Santa Claus during Operation Santa Claus at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Dec. 12, 2019. (Lance Cpl. Jose Guerrero Deleon/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

What you do on Christmas and New Year’s Day (and during the week between) will be different depending on your age and where you are in life. You can be productive and still manage to relax this week as most of the world around you shuts down.

This can be a prime-time, goal-setting week so take advantage of a moment when time seems to stand still for most people in America. It can be a great time to make transformational changes in your life and health. You can explore entrepreneurial ideas and build better relationships with people in your world.

Thank you (first of all) if you are deployed or have been deployed during this holiday time and focus on getting back home and recovering from the general and specific stresses of the job.

Here are some options for you, no matter where you are in life:


Many use this time to see family and friends or visit other parts of the world. Though this can be prime bonding time for you and yours, it can be exhausting. You may need a vacation after your vacation, so focus on some recovery time when you can while traveling and when you get back home.


Go play. Get outside, go to a playground, play sports (weather permitting), build snowmen, have snowball fights and get away from the video games. Now that school is out for a while, enjoy it but limit your indoor activity as best you can for your situation. Try family board games and other activities as well. Find ways to burn off steam, and you will be much better off when you get back to school again.

For the High School or College Student

If you are a student enjoying time off after an academically stressful semester, use this time to unwind and take some naps. Don’t forget to get back into a physical fitness routine.

After the previous month of testing, with projects coming to an end and many hours of day and night studying, you may need to blow off some steam and start exercising again.

This is a great week to start training again or start up for the first time ever. You may want to treat yourself like a beginner, depending on how long you have been sedentary and academically stressed, and use this time to rebuild some fitness habits.

For the Military Student

Focus on taking some time to recover while maintaining your physical abilities if you are the military selection student with time off during the holiday. Check out what to do during the holidays (Article and Video).

For the Parent or Working Parent

Kids are off from school, so enjoy some extra sleep-in days, but also add some fun, stress-free activities. Consider getting some exercise with walks or visits to the playground even when visiting family out of town. If you can, take a few days, play games with each other and relax. When you can, focus on yourself even if it’s just 30 minutes for fitness, a relaxing bath, reading or other things you enjoy.

For the Workaholic

This may be the best time of the year to check your annual progress and make goals for the next year. You should do that, but also take some days to do something you enjoy outside of work. Make the effort to be in social settings with family and friends and make sure you get some stress-relieving exercise.


This is a time of the year to count your blessings and also help others who may not have as much as you. Donate some time or goods to serve others in local shelters, churches and soup kitchens. Bring gifts to kids in the shelters.

You may find this to be one of the best things you have done in your life. You may even make a new holiday habit that is life-changing.

Make some goals. Build good habits that could be transformational to you and your family. This can be a great time to make changes in your life, health, explore entrepreneurial ideas and build better relationships with people in your world. Most of all, enjoy the season. Happy holidays.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article