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The dangers of potentially expanding waistlines and mental and physical stress are very real at a time when we are supposed to be relaxing and giving thanks for each other and our many blessings. How then, can we stay mentally, physically, and emotionally fit throughout this merry season? The following tips will help you sail through the holidays while focusing on the simpler things in life, giving thanks for the wonderful things we do have:
1. Stay active.
Don't let hectic schedules and excess obligations be an excuse for slacking off of your fitness regime. Commit to walking on a nature trail, taking a yoga class, or even working out your aggressions at a kick butt kickboxing class as a means of staying physically fit and offsetting the extra calories that you are bound to consume this season. Give yourself permission to indulge from time to time as you see your favorites passed around the table. You've worked hard this past year—you earned it!
With all of these extra cocktails that you could potentially consume, it is important to stay hydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it draws water out of your tissues. Proper hydration is key to good health, and as the winter months tend to be a drier season as well, drinking adequate amounts of water will keep fatigue and illness at bay.
3. Stay organized.
Make and prioritize lists of what is absolutely necessary, what would be nice to accomplish, and what can wait until after the New Year. If it makes you feel better, cross items off as you accomplish them, and realize right now that not everything will get done. Do what you can to keep your stress level low and your spirits high as you celebrate family, friends, and warm memories this holiday season.
4. Expect surprises.
While you would love for everything to go smoothly, realize that not every holiday activity you have planned will go as planned. The tree might fall off the car on the way home, or Grandma's teeth might be missing for a family photo. Laugh it off, and know that you will have some stories to tell at future holiday gatherings that will make everyone smile.
5. Plan your workout time.
If you have a rigid pre-holiday workout schedule, it's time to get a bit more flexible with your thinking around fitness, especially around the holidays. There is always time to work out, and while it might not be at 6 a.m. like you usually adhere to, find time to prioritize your health while rushing around to buy gifts, prepare food, and send off cards. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there is better than no workout at all.
6. Work from home if you can.
It may cause additional stress to have to run into the office for something that could easily be accomplished at home. Network visibility solutions provide cloud services for many businesses so that files can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Talk to your boss and see if you can spend a day at home in your pj's, answering emails and scheduling conference calls. It is as good for your mental health as it is for your physical well being.
7. Get enough sleep!
Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. It helps boost your immune system, promotes mental clarity, and just gives you more energy to sail through your busy days coming into the holiday season. Set early bedtimes, and establish healthy habits for promoting healthy sleep like reducing screen time earlier in the day and cutting back on caffeine and sugar which can disrupt sleep patterns.
8. Get rid of your "all or nothing" mindset.
It can be stressful to fall off the fitness wagon by indulging in rich foods or failing to follow through with your workout schedule. You'll just be adding to your stress if you continue to beat yourself up for not adhering to your nutrition and workout plan. Get creative with your activities; involve other families in fitness activities such as dance competitions, family hikes, and the like. Give yourself permission to indulge, and know that you don't have to indulge every day, but one party is acceptable for enjoying some favorite foods and cocktails. Revel in the joy of the season, and love the activities you are doing and the people that you are with. Staying positive and focused on appreciation and gratitude will motivate you to continue your healthy habits straight through to the new year. Happy Holidays!