The holidays are at once magical and overwhelming. It’s a time to celebrate as well as a time to totally stress out. When it comes to your wellness, it can become a time of chaos–but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some simple ways to navigate the holidays and arrive in the new year happy, healthy, and energized.
You Do Have the Time, Just Maybe a Bit Less of It
The holidays are a busy, busy time. You’re shopping for gifts, attending parties, traveling, cooking, planning–the list can get long. The holidays regularly become a time of throwing in the health and fitness towel because, Who’s got the time!?
Well, you; you have time, just maybe a bit less of it. Given that reality, two ways to address the holidays are to plan ahead and also to grab the time when it presents itself, even if it’s only five minutes.
First, planning ahead: before the holidays are in full swing, consider what you’ll realistically have the time and energy for. Put some boundaries on what you can say yes to, and give yourself some grace around not being able to do everything.
When it comes to eating and drinking, recognize that one big dinner party isn’t the concern: it’s the day after day after day of sweets and treats and revelry. Being mindful of what you’re eating and recognizing that fueling your body in ways that make it feel best is an excellent recipe for truly enjoying the holidays.
That being said, enjoying delicious holiday meals and sweets is a central part of great celebrations! Choose your indulgences thoughtfully and make them something special.
Next, taking time when it presents itself. There will always be some lulls in the action, and you can take those moments to do a little something nice for yourself. Maybe you can’t get to your yoga class, but you have 3 minutes to do a sun salutation. Maybe you won’t get to the gym today, but you can do a few body-weight squats and push ups.
Small bouts of focusing on your wellness add up, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day, and come January 1.
Focus on Priorities; Let the Rest Go
Because the holidays are so busy, focus on what’s most important for you and those you care about. You can’t do it all, so what will make your holidays great? Start there.
And, factor your own well-being into the mix. Start by focusing on the basics, or what we’ve identified as the three pillars of wellness: sleep, nutrition, and movement. It bears repeating, when you feel good, you’re always better able to contribute to other people feeling good.
So maybe you skip a holiday party to get some adequate sleep, so you’re fresh for what really matters: building snowmen with your kids or cooking up a storm with your favorite aunt. Forgo wrapping every single little present like Martha Stewart so you can go for that 20 minute run and get your special holiday cards in the mail.
However that all works out for you, focusing on what really matters is a helpful strategy for creating great memories and coming out the other side feeling good.
Consider Your Future Self
While you may want something today, the you of January 1 or some other time in the future may wish that you’d have made a different decision. Considering how you’ll feel in the future about the choices you make today can be a powerful way to get some perspective on how you navigate the holidays.
When you think about how happy you’ll be that you chose to, say, get adequate rest and exercise can serve as extra motivation to actually follow through with those actions.
Maybe right now it sounds most fun to have another piece of pie, stay up extra late again, or stay on the couch instead of doing a strength routine, but when you think about how thankful you’ll be in three weeks from now for making a good decision today, it really makes those efforts feel worthwhile.
Also, when that future time arrives, make sure to acknowledge how those earlier actions resulted in the good health you are now experiencing. This fortifies the understanding and appreciation for how what you do today impacts how you feel in the future.
Get Creative: Adapting to Travel and Holiday Hustle Bustle
During the holidays, we’re traveling, our regular routine is no more, we’re navigating friends and family–any sort of schedule or pattern of life is probably thrown for a loop. You don’t have access to the gym equipment you normally use; you don’t know where to go hiking or running; there’s nowhere nearby to take a yoga or Pilates class.
It’s time to get creative and remember that something is always better than nothing. You may not be able to stick to your regular routine but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch your focus on fitness and wellness altogether.
If you work with a personal trainer, ask for a few body-weight workout routines you can do on the road. Think about getting yourself some exercise bands; they’re light and small and are great for some resistance training on the go. If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s likely they have a fitness area; enjoy!
Choose a few go-to stretches to counteract long travel days or to help you reset after a full day of good times. Bookmark a few YouTube exercise classes, like yoga or pilates; perhaps choose some shorter options you know you’ll be able to fit into your holiday plans. Do some research on local hiking, running, or walking routes near where you’ll be staying.
There are myriad ways to adapt your wellness activities; let this be a time of changing things up and trying a few new moves in new spaces.
Learn to Be Calm, and You Will Always Be Happy
This is a topic we focused on in our last post, and it’s particularly important to remember now. The holidays are really fun, but wow can they also be intense and even triggering. This can lead to wanting to make all sorts of unhealthy choices. And even if the holidays don’t churn up feelings you’d rather avoid, chances are that you may encounter a time or two when slotting in a little calm would help a lot.
Making a habit of checking in with yourself, taking a few deep breaths, and removing yourself from the action even for just a couple minutes can help you reset and soothe your nerves.
Enjoying Health to Enjoy the Holidays
As we see it, focusing on your wellness is an important part of fully enjoying the holidays. It’s our wish that these five tips help set you up to finish the year feeling great.
Here’s to your health and wellness as we dive into a delightful and festive time of year.