inner engine fitness

building a better body

Holidays In Balance

on December 18, 2015

This is a hectic time of year, so most of us don’t have much time to take care of ourselves very well. If you’re wondering how to get through the holidays without adding extra weight to your waistline and losing your ability to cope with stress, here are a few tips to keep your health in balance.

1. Don’t deprive yourself. Yes, you heard it right, you can indulge… a bit. Healthy eating can be really stressful this time of year.  With grandma’s cookies around to tempt you and your uncle offering you eggnog to drink, you have your choices to make.  Just remember that the holidays are here for you to take part in, not to stress about every little thing that you put in your mouth. In general, you need to make healthy food choices to stay healthy and fit, but give yourself a break and enjoy the moment. A small treat once or twice a week isn’t going to derail your fitness efforts if you don’t let it snowball into an everyday activity. Make the moment count and enjoy your treat with the people you care about.  Stress may just float off of you if you let go of counting every last calorie.

2. Make sleep a priority. It is easy to get wrapped up in the activity of the holidays and let sleep slip away. Burning the candle at both ends deprives your brain of the energy to handle stress. Next thing you know, you are eating cookies and drinking more coffee to give yourself energy.  This may in turn lead to snapping at your family members because you are too tired to control your emotions. Don’t be the crank of Christmas! Get your zzzzs!

3. Have fun! Enjoy your family, friends and football. Remember what the holidays are really about and don’t get so sucked into consumerism that you forget to enjoy yourself. The best memories are those spent doing things that you cherish and shopping is probably not high on your list. If it is, enjoy it. But if you’d rather do something else, make time for that, too.

4. Don’t forget to sneak some exercise in when you can. If you are planning an afternoon shopping, park far away and walk the distance. If you have ten minutes that you can spare in the morning, do some quick walking around the house or a few sets of squats. If you get some exercise in before you shower, you don’t have to worry about getting sweaty later in the day. Find small amounts of time when you can be active. You will feel better for doing so.

5. Stay organized. Lists are helpful for everything this time of year. It’s a whole lot more stressful if you forget something and have to go back to the same store to get it later. Before you head out or get online, know what you’re looking for and stay focused. A productive trip is one that accomplishes what you set out to do. Make every effort count and you’ll spend less time and energy in the long run.

6. Recruit help. This is a tough one for some people, myself included. You don’t need to do everything. When you make your list of activities to accomplish, make sure to figure out who in your family can help with each task. If your partner can make dinner, let them. If your daughter can help with the wrapping, include her. If it is just you and recruiting help is not an option, practice saying no.  It is okay to put yourself first and to commit only to the activities that are necessary and bring you some joy.  You have more control than you think, so choose wisely and be decisive!

The holidays are meant to be a time of peace, love and togetherness. Try to remember that and keep the stress in check. Being in balance means focusing on what really matters to you and making sure that you enjoy yourself. It is better for your physical and mental health, and can lead to a long, happy life. Indulge in peace of mind and enjoy the holidays!


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