Exercise: Bet you guessed this would be at the top of my list. Exercise is the best de-stressor at any time of year and this still holds true during the holidays. But don’t get yourself worked up if you can’t keep up with your regular fitness regime. Instead, set some minimums. For example, instead of following your regular five workouts a week, over the holidays it’s OK to allow yourself to drop back to two to three workouts a week to maintain your fitness. Or, instead of your usual hour-plus routines, opt for a quick 30-minute express workout. This will keep your energy levels up and you won’t feel like you’ve got to start all over in the new year.
Nutrition: It’s perfectly OK to indulge over the holidays but you’ve still got to keep your health and fitness goals in check. Go for the “have to eat” vs. “can’t eat” approach. Instead of forbidding any treats over the holidays, focus on drinking eight glasses of water, consuming five vegetables and three fruits, eat breakfast, and consume five small meals/snacks each day. If you’ve still got room for your favorite Christmas cookie or Thanksgiving pie, go for it. But eat it slowly and really enjoy the taste. At parties, you may find yourself eating a lot later than usual. Try to eat something small earlier, and at the party you’ll be less likely to overeat right before bed.
Daily activity: When you’re running around like crazy and can’t commit to your normal fitness regime, try to incorporate more activity into your days. For example, go for a walk with your family and friends. In the mall, take the stairs instead of the escalators and park at the back of the lot. The little bits of extra activity will help you feel better.
Manage your stress: Get enough sleep. If you’re tired, stress appears worse than it is. If you do feel stressed, take a number of slow, deep breaths and try to relax.
Remember the spirit of the holidays —a celebration of love, community, friendship and family. Do something nice for someone. Go out of your way to be kind. Schedule time for your family to recognize and appreciate all the things you should be thankful for.
For more on how to enjoy your holidays and reduce stress during this time of year please read my latest column in the Columbian Tips to Keep Holidays in Check.
Yours in Health & Fitness,
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