It’s official – another year has flown by. The holiday season is upon us with its beautiful snowy days, delicious smells, and cherished time with loved ones. I know this time of year can be stressful for many people between having to rush to buy gifts, prepare sumptuous dinners, and run around between all of the holiday events. Add to that the feeling of having to go to the gym 5 days a week and be “good” with food and you have the recipe for an anxiety-inducing Yuletide. Scientific studies have linked chronic stress to unhealthy weight gain, specifically in your belly. This means the stress is not only hard on your mind but also likely to move you away from your goals. But don’t despair! I’ve compiled a list of concrete steps and actions you can take to keep yourself feeling great and on track towards your fitness goals, so you can keep a head start on your New Year’s resolutions.
Sneak some movement into your family time.
One big factor in keeping your mood stable and in a good place is how much your body moves. When you move, especially when you’ve been stressed, it tells your body that you’re taking action against the stressor and it can relax. And physical activity is always way more fun with other people. This Christmas, consider keeping active with your loved ones. This could look like an at-home dance party with your friends, going to that yoga class you’ve been meaning to check out with your siblings, or playing active games like the Wii Fit U. Bonus if you can get outside to enjoy the fresh air! You could try going for long walks with your loved ones, playing in the snow with the kids in your life, or going for a skate on the Canal. Physical activity with others is a great way to bond, have fun together, and reduce stress.
Add goodness onto your plate.
There’s nothing like the holiday season for treat-like foods – baked goods, snacks, and boozy beverages all have a strong presence in most holiday parties. I would never tell you not to enjoy your favourite treats because life is about genuinely loving food and not letting food rules ruin your life. Consider, though, that the foods you use to fuel your body also fuel your mind; a month-long diet of sugar and unhealthy fats is going to negatively affect your mood. So to keep you feeling relaxed and groovy, make sure to also indulge in your favourite fruits and veggies along the way. Does the cookie platter at your workplace’s Christmas party look tempting? By all means, have one. But consider munching on the neighbouring carrots and hummus before reaching for a second or third cookie. Keeping nourishing foods in your holiday diet will fill you up so you have fewer cravings for those treats. It will also keep your head clear and your holiday cheer high.
Make time for the activities you love most.
Christmas celebrations usually happen in a flurry of activity and it can be easy to neglect our self-care in the chaos. It’s important to give yourself some time to breathe, especially if you’re an introvert. Doing the things you love will help keep stress at bay. Doing your painting, writing, running, having a coffee date with your best friend, or snuggling with your partner will allow you to put your best foot forward for everything else on your to-do list.
Anyone who has started on their fitness journey knows the importance of drinking enough water. It helps regulate your appetite and keeps your body running smoothly. But did you know that drinking water makes you happier? It’s been proven by several scientific studies – water intake and mood are very much connected. Add a few extra glasses of water to your daily routine and plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables (e.g. cucumber, celery, oranges) to stay zen this holiday season.
Get some sleep!
It’s very easy to start losing sleep over the holiday season between the parties, get-togethers, and shopping trips. It’s important to have fun with your friends and family, but it’s not exactly fun to run around like a zombie because you were at a function till 2:00 am and have responsibilities at 8:00 am. Try to schedule your activities in a way that allows you to get much-needed rest. This will help you manage your stress levels so you’re fresh enough to fully appreciate all the Christmas activities.
Aim for progress, not perfection.
Your mindset is key to keeping you cheerful this Christmas, especially when it comes to fitness. It’s normal to ease off your regular routine a bit over this time, especially when travel is involved. It’s even easier to feel guilty about “slipping”. The problem is that guilt leads to stress, which, as we’ve learned, isn’t going to help you make progress any time soon. If the best you can do is get a good 20-minute home workout in because your flight home leaves only a few hours after you’re off work, then that’s still way better than fretting yourself into completely skipping the workout. Try your best and give yourself a pat on the back for your consistency.
There you have it – some tips to keep you going and glowing over Christmas. If you want to get ahead of the January rush, join one of my Boxing or Synerlift classes for 2020.
I wish you all a beautiful and festive season, full of family, friends, and fun. Thank you for another wonderful year. See you in 2020!Tags: family, fun, health, holidays, self-care, stress
Posted by Burke