Through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget our own health care needs. But it’s also a time that can take a toll on your health with the stress, the constant activity and even the weather making us more prone to illness or injury.
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, taking care of yourself is a way to brighten the holidays while ensuring the health and safety of you and your loved ones.
With that in mind, the CDC offers a few tips on staying healthy throughout the season. Those include daily steps such as exercising, eating well, washing your hands regularly, avoiding smoking, safely preparing food, staying warm and dry, and taking time to manage stress.
The CDC also provides preventative tips that include getting vaccinations and undergo any necessary exams and screenings.
Stress during the busy winter months can also take a mental toll and being aware of how you’re feeling is just as important as any physical symptoms. Between parties, shopping, budgeting, cooking and the other myriad holiday duties, stress and depression can build up quickly.
The Mayo Clinic offers practical tips that can help minimize stress and help you enjoy the holidays. This includes acknowledging your feelings and realizing that it’s okay to feel sad, overwhelmed or off.
Reaching out to others—whether it’s a loved one, a community or religious group or social event—is also important, as is knowing not everything has to be perfect for the holidays.
To help minimize stress, make a budget and stick to it while planning, designating specific days for all of your activities.
Finally, continue practicing healthy habits, including exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding overindulging. Take time for yourself to breathe, refresh yourself, gather your thoughts and clear your mind.
Should something unexpected happen, a pair of Billings Clinic services are there to make getting quick health care as easy and stress-free as possible and can even help check a few of those CDC tips off the list.
Each of the three ExpressCare locations around Billings—located inside the Alberstons stores at 3107 Grand Ave., 670 Main St. and 511 Central Ave.—offers patients quick access for minor medical issues. The trained, professional medical providers at these locations can help treat things like bug bites, chickenpox, colds, ear infections, minor burns, pink eye, shingles and sinus infections.
At SameDay Care— on Billings Clinic’s Downtown campus at Eighth Avenue North and North Broadway, in the Heights at 760 Wicks Lane and on the West End at 2675 Central Avenue—patients have access to care for services that compliment those provided by their family doctors. Besides treating injuries from slips on the ice or small tumbles, they can assess flu symptoms, coughs, colds, sprains, earaches, sore throats, minor cuts or wounds, sprains or minor fractures, back strain, and other minor illnesses and injuries. On-site X-ray and 24-hour lab access are also available.
Both are convenient and quick, which is especially important over the holidays. It’s a busy time of year and every moment is valuable. At each of the three ExpressCare locations, patients can find a time that works best for them by scheduling appointments through the ExpressCare mobile app or by visiting ecare.billingsclinic.org. At the downtown SameDay Care location, Billings Clinic has moved to appointment-only scheduling, meaning patients don’t have to wait in a busy waiting room. Instead, patients can call, make an appointment, and arrive a few minutes early to receive care that same day. Appointments can be made by calling (406) 238-2677. The West End and Heights SameDay Care offices accept walk-ins.
As the CDC notes, getting vaccinated and screened is important to a healthy lifestyle not only during the holidays but year-round. ExpressCare offers influenza vaccinations for people over the age of 2 and hepatitis B and tetanus vaccinations for those 18 and older. They offer flu, strep and tuberculosis screenings, and sports and DOT physicals.
The downtown SameDay Care location and all three ExpressCare locations are open seven days a week. The West End SameDay Care is open Monday through Saturday, and the Heights location is open Monday through Friday. ExpressCare is also open regular hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and is closed on Christmas Day.
For more information on ExpressCare or to schedule an appointment, visit www.billingsclinic.com/expresscare or call 657-4500. For more information on SameDay Care or to schedule an appointment, visit www.billingsclinic.com/samedaycare or call 238-2677.
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