Healthy Holidays Campaign 2020

Healthy Holidays Campaign 2020

Happy holidays from the psp Ottawa Health promotion team!

(Photo taken during the 2019 Healthy Holidays Campaign.)

Put your health and the health of your loved ones first this holiday season. Enjoy the season and feel good while you do it (and feel even better in January too)!

Here are some easy tips and resources that you can use to maintain or improve your health during the holiday season.

Healthy Holiday Eating

Use healthy substitutions
when cooking and baking

Stay physically active
on a regular basis

Drink responsibly

Enjoy Mocktails

Use Cannabis Responsibly

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Practice positive coping techniques

Also available: The Healthy Holiday Tips Newsletter 2020 by Strengthening the Forces (STF).



It is fair to say that the holiday season is very food-centered. This is not a bad thing – food is one of life’s simplest pleasures! The negative impacts stem from over-indulging, piling on high portions, and the guilt that might come afterwards.
Eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season with these key pointers:

Healthy Substitutions

When cooking or baking, you want your dish to be satisfying and tasty. You can reduce the amount of refined sugars and saturated fats in your dishes by substituting the less healthy ingredients with healthier ones, without compromising the flavour! 

Check out this Healthy Substitutions Guide for great ideas to make your snacks, side dishes, salads and baking, healthier!

Try some tasty new recipes this holiday season that are delicious and satisfying! Click on a tile below for great, easy recipes from Dietitians of Canada, Health Canada, and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.




Get daily Physical Activity

Stay active this holiday season to: reduce stress and anxiety, combat holiday weight gain, boost your mood, maintain structure in your schedule, and lower your blood pressure.

Here is a great list of activities in Ottawa/Gatineau (locations and contact info included) that you can do this holiday season.

For information on PSP Ottawa-Gatineau fitness facilities and virtual programming, click here.

IF YOU DRINK, DRINK responsibly

When enjoying alcohol, know your limits and stick to them for your own health and safety as well as those around you.


serve Mocktails

Mocktails are a yummy, fun alternative to alcoholic beverages on special occasions! Check out this Seriously Tasty Mocktail Guide to use next time you are making drinks! 

Think about your drink: alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can add extra calories, sodium, sugars or saturated fat to your meal. Try carbonated water with fruit to add flavour.



get your sleep

Good sleep is essential for your health because it is needed to: maintain a healthy weight, consolidate memories, repair tissue, develop muscle, produce hormones, strengthen the immune system, and enhance mental health. Poor sleep = poor quality of life.


Here are some sleep hygiene tips to maximize the health benefits of your sleep:

Create a bedroom that is conducive to sleep.
Your room should be quiet, cool (18ºC is ideal), comfortable, and dark.
Consider blackout curtains or blinds, a white-noise machine or
ear plugs, and a comfortable mattress and pillow.
Practice relaxing activities about
an hour before bed.
Try reading a book (call me old-fashioned), meditate,
take a bath or a shower, or listen to a podcast or soothing music.
Avoid stimulating activities that cause stress,
like discussing emotional issues. If you have something on your
mind, try journaling. The body responds to stressful activities by secreting cortisol, a stress hormone, which causes sleep disturbances.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time
each day on week nights and weekends.
This will synchronize your internal clock by causing your body
to expect sleep at a particular time each night,
promoting consistent and higher quality sleep.
Go to sleep before midnight.
This practice can be challenging (looking at you night owls!),
but it will benefit your health! Later bedtimes and later wake-up times
correlate with lower quality diets, reduced levels of physical activity
and increased risk of obesity, independent of the duration of sleep.
If you’re lying in bed and can’t fall asleep, get out of bed, try a
relaxing activity (see point #2) for 20 minutes, and go back to bed. 
Remove all screens from your room.
Yes, yes, all of them! Including cell phones, tablets, televisions,
and computers. The light produced by these screens can prevent
melatonin secretion, which could delay sleep. In addition, looking
at a screen before falling asleep decreases the quality of sleep.
Instead of watching a rerun of Friends before going to bed, try
reading a book. If your cell phone is your alarm clock, consider using
a digital clock or a watch instead. If you use an alarm clock, turn the
display towards the wall. Looking at the time while you are trying to
sleep can make you feel anxious and keep you from falling asleep.
Avoid ingesting caffeine or nicotine,
drinking alcohol or eating large
meals before going to bed.

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, while alcohol stimulates your system a few
hours after ingestion. Large meals can cause indigestion and interfere with sleep.

stress reduction

The holiday season can be stressful! It's helpful to understand what stress is, how to identify what the real issues are, and how to solve these problems. Use the resources below for tips on how to manage stress.
What is Stress? What is Mindfulness?
Try the 30-Second Mindfulness Technique (below), or the Calm Breathing Technique (below), to calm down and refocus when you feel stressed…
30-Second Mindfulness Technique: Calm Breathing Technique:
*About 6-8 breathing cycles per minute is often helpful
to decrease anxiety, but find your own
comfortable breathing rhythm.

Stress-free Gift Guide

Looking to make your gift shopping a little easier this holiday season? Try this stress-free gift giving guide to help you shop:


If you need a little motivation to get back on track in the New Year, your Health Promotion team has a webinar for you! Sign-up for one today as spaces are limited!



Canada's 24 hour Movement Guidelines
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Cannabis and Your Health
Sleep on It
Strengthening the Forces (STF) Health Promotion Program



Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP) for CAF personnel
1-800-268-7708 (available 24/7)
1-800-567-5803 TTY - Hearing Impaired Line (available 24/7)

Family Information Line (24/7) for CAF personnel
1-800-866-4546 (within Canada)
00-800-771-17722 (International)
1-613-995-5234 (Collect calls)

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (24/7) for DND Public employees

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) (24/7) for NPF employees