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Stay in the Holiday Spirit

Stay in the Holiday Spirit

Make Sure Your Exercise Routine Doesn’t Take a Vacation This Holiday Season!

The holiday season is perhaps the most important time of the year to stay active – there are more rich and fattening foods to burn off! However, exercise often too takes a vacation during this party packed couple of weeks, as yoga classes and gyms are closed during the holidays.

It is vitally important to keep up your fitness regiment during the holiday season. The easiest way to do so, according to fitness instructors, is to already have a routine established. While parents and other family members may question you for leaving them to head to the gym, remember to keep in mind what’s best for YOU in the long-run. As fitness instructor Stacey Lei Krauss expresses, “Will power leads to self-confidence. Will power is self-control: the ability to manage yourself, regardless of what’s happening around you.”

Other factors, such as holiday shopping stress, can induce fatigue. And the countless alcoholic and eggnog based beverages you drink won’t help your fatigue! Try to limit the number of alcoholic, soda, and eggnog based beverages you consume. Additionally, drink lots of water. Water not only reduces hunger, it also energizes, and gives you the extra kick you need to finish your holiday shopping and preparations.

The holiday will also tempt you with a multitude of yummy dessert options, from pecan pie to Starbucks holiday drinks to Christmas pudding. It is important to allow yourself some treats – if you avoid all dessert, you will have a much harder time sticking to a diet regiment. Instead, allow yourself one treat, if you really crave it - everything in moderation.

You should also try to create family activities centered on exercise. Instead of having that huge holiday breakfast, why not go for a long walk outside as a family, or hit the ski slopes together, or have a neighborhood game of football or hockey? Just get up and move. Don’t be a couch potato.

Stacey Lei Krauss advocates pursuing a healthy lifestyle this holiday season, not just focusing on the exercise and diet. There are other mechanisms to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as doing “a salt scrub” or “hitting up the juice bar.” As 84 year old fitness instructor Ann Smith says “all you need is to eat, sleep and move every day.”

Make Sure Your Exercise Routine Doesn’t Take a Vacation This Holiday Season!

Ideally, the holiday season should mean a time of pleasure and relaxation. In reality, it can be a maddening period of stress and anxiety—work parties, gift buying, time constraints, family issues—all these things and more threaten to transpire against your emotional calm, but they don’t have to.

The holidays are usually a polarizing experience—money worries, possible weight gain, insanely busy schedules, bad weather, and what amounts to little time to exercise is counterbalanced by family, friends, presents, great food, and indulgent, rich drinks, not to mention presents. The grey area between pleasure and pain is nearly non-existent during the holidays. Most people either have a blast, or they narrowly avoid having a psychological breakdown trying to get there.

"The holidays are supposed to be a time full of joy and cheer, parties and family gatherings," says James Radack of the National Mental Health Association. "But many factors help make the holidays so stressful."

If you find yourself among those burdened by the stress, unable to enjoy the rest of the joy that the holidays has to offer, this article will give you some easy tips to keep you on the right side of the psychological fence, and in your happy place. It is easier than you think, and simply involves doing the right things.

The following are the DOs and DO NOTs of the Holiday Season:

The Dos

Get Preemptive – Many people known fully well in advance what sorts of triggers set them off into the danger zone of anger, depression, or possibly even jealousy. If you’re stressed about money, then get pragmatic before you even start shopping. Perhaps do a gift exchange, or put some time aside to make a couple of your gifts. If you haven’t explored the options of online shopping, DO that, as there are just as many, if not more killer deals in the digital world as there are in a retail setting.

Exercise – A simple, easy, and effective way to keep your energy up, and your stress down. With a clear mind and a good energy level you will make better decisions and feel less guilty when you dump that thick, luscious gravy all over the turkey.

Recognize Stress – It is not like it is wholly unavoidable. Stress happens. It is a part of life. Sometimes the desire to make it through the holidays without feeling any modicum of stress can be a fool’s errand. Try to view the unpredictable nature of life as normal—because it is—and your body will respond accordingly. This season, be the stoic rock that shoulders the brunt of other people’s negativity.

The Do Nots

Try and Do It All Alone – There is no shame in asking for help; in fact, asking for help may be exactly what you need to do. While attempting to ‘whip up’ the turkey dinner all alone may seem like a good idea at the start, all parties concerned will probably thank you in the long run if you delegate some of those tasks—just don’t get too many cooks in the kitchen.

Expect Perfection – The enjoyment we get out of holidays shouldn’t be overshadowed by the glamour and excitement portrayed in the media; it should be self-defined. Don’t aim for the perfect holiday or it will elude you. Experience the here and now and keep expectations realistic.

Don’t Get Carried Away – While you might view in moderation as a good thing for most of the year, around the holidays it is easy to start moderating that moderation. Be careful. Don’t lose the magic by means of genuine overindulgence. Be responsible and remember this is as much a time for everyone else as it is for you.