The winter holidays are just around the corner. And, whether you love the holidays or dread them, one thing is for sure: NOW is the time to prepare.
Between hosting out-of-town friends and family, having the kids home from school, and cooking and eating ALL of that food, the holidays represent a major upset to our daily routines – bad news for anyone with a health or fitness goal.
For some people, the holidays also create significant stress. According to a 2018 study, 88% of Americans feel stressed when celebrating the holidays. Over time, this stress can affect everything from our mental health to the quality of our sleep.
Fortunately, there are ways to stay healthy, fit, and sane during the holidays. In this blog, we’ll share a few of our favorites.
Let’s dive in.
6 Ways to Stay Healthy, Happy, and Fit During the Holidays
Are you looking for ways to bring more peace, movement, and fitness into your holiday celebrations?
Here are our top tips:
1. Move As Much As Possible
The winter holidays are very food and celebration centric. This means lots of eating, maybe lots of imbibing, and lots of sitting around.
To counteract the effects of those pastimes, stay active as much as possible during the holidays. If you can’t find time for strenuous workouts, focus on keeping your body moving.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away and walk to the mall for your holiday shopping, incorporate some yoga or swimming into your days, or enjoy after-dinner walks with the family.
Alternatively, download a few quick at-home workout videos, and do them in your bedroom before everyone wakes up. Remember the Alloy training app for those training sessions outside the studio. Your trainer can prescribe activities to help keep you moving outside the training studio as well. Body weight and functional training exercises are easy to do with no equipment and can keep you feeling strong – even without the gym or studio.
The more you move, the healthier (and happier) your holiday season will be.
2. Try To Stick To Your Regular Routine
The holidays may be the only time you get to spend with friends and family who live far away, so it’s important to savor that opportunity. While it may be tough to stick with your routine, it’s essential to maintain as much of it as possible.
For example, if you have young kids, keep their meals and bedtimes consistent. If you usually work out five days a week but don’t have time, try to work out at least three or four days a week. If you can’t make it into your regular training sessions, make sure you plan and prioritize your favorite activities to maintain your fitness goals.
The closer you can stay to your normal routine, the less challenging it will be to get back into the swing of things when the holidays end.
3. Indulge Your Cravings In Moderation
Pumpkin pie. Cookies. Turkey. Gravy. Mashed potatoes galore. With all of that on the menu, it’s tough to eat as clean as you usually do. During the holidays, though, it’s important to practice mindful indulgence.
If you try to avoid all your food cravings while everyone else indulges, you will feel unsatisfied. Plus, you may be more at risk of caving and throwing your nutrition goals to the wind!
Instead, eat as normally as possible, and indulge your cravings in moderation. Instead of skipping meals all day so you can stuff yourself at holiday dinner, eat three normal meals (with a protein at each), and incorporate small amounts of the delicious holiday treats you crave.
4. Prioritize Rest
In addition to throwing your eating and workout schedules way out of whack, the holidays can also wreak havoc on your sleep.
Things like more TV time, more alcohol, and late nights with friends and family can all leave you feeling exhausted and depleted when the sun comes up.
With this in mind, get serious about prioritizing your sleep. Try to stick to your regular bed and wake times, and avoid the temptation to go to bed late or sleep in until mid-morning.
If you’re traveling for the holidays, bring sleep accessories like a white noise machine, a sleep mask, or earplugs to help you snooze soundly in a new environment.
5. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is everything when it comes to looking and feeling good. Besides lubricating your joints and helping you avoid overeating, hydration allows you to avoid common holiday woes like fatigue, headaches, and mental fog.
If you find it challenging to drink enough water during the holidays. Start carrying a reusable water bottle around with you, or opt for other hydration options: hot herbal tea with lemon and honey is an excellent alternative to the after-dinner cocktail. It can help you feel better in the morning, too.
6. Take Breaks Often
Finally, be sure to care for your mental health this holiday season. Spending so much time around other people can create stress, so making space to recharge is essential.
Don’t be afraid to take mid-day breaks when needed (this is an excellent time for a walk!), listen to music, read a book, or go to bed early while everyone stays up. Remember that you’re allowed to prioritize your needs, especially if it allows you to be more present in the long run.
Happy and Healthy for the Holidays
For many of us, the holidays are a time to look forward to a lot of celebrations and fellowship. The family, friends, food, and festivities create feelings of warmth and belonging. Still, all that coming together can throw us off our daily routines and leave us feeling a little disoriented.
Fortunately, the tips in this article will help you combat the holiday haze.
By moving as much as you can, maintaining your normal routines, indulging cravings in moderation, prioritizing rest, staying hydrated, and taking mental health breaks when you need them, you can emerge from the holidays feeling happy, healthy, fit, and rested.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go forth and conquer the holiday season! Enjoy.