December, the month of magic!
Regardless what you celebrate- if you celebrate anything at all- it’s no doubt that this month is filled with parties, gatherings, shopping and extra commitments.
Some find this time of year incredibly stressful. It could be in-law drama, posh work parties that they have to buy something for Steve from IT, cooking for a massive gathering…
Now, despite all of this, we are firm believers that the holidays should be just that: a holiday. A time for a break from your day-to-day work grind, a time to relax and enjoy great company, and a time for fun.
So, if this time of year brings stress instead of joy, try some of these tips:
For the body:
If you’re feeling wiped, scale back on your workouts but keep moving. Your body treats stress- in whatever form it comes- as stress, which is why the increased mental stressors can make you feel like you just had an intense workout. Our tip? Scale back on the frequency, length or intensity of the workouts-- but don’t stop. Exercise is a fantastic de-stressor and will help your body handle everything else in your life too, but it can have detrimental effects if you’re exhausted and still pushing past your limits. Mini-workouts (we're talking 5-10 minutes) and low-impact exercise like yoga or going for a walk can do wonders for your sanity. That’s why we’re having a [free] 12-days of Fitmas Challenge: daily mini-workouts ranging from 5 to 30 minutes in length, holiday-friendly nutrition tips, and daily support and motivation. To join us, sign-up here!
Drink loads of water. Hydration is so, so important for good body function and helps keep you alert and focused. It will also help you digest those foods you rarely eat that make you feel bloated and help curb your appetite so that you enjoy the holiday delicacies without getting that too-familiar stuffed feeling.
Eat breakfast, especially on party days. Breakfast is an opportunity to give your body enough energy and nutrients to be fully charged all day AND can help keep your hunger in check later on. If you have a holiday function later in the day, have an even bigger breakfast focused on a great protein source, veggies and fruits.
Go for the fruits and veggies first at buffet-style gatherings. We are firm believers in enjoying life-- desserts included! However, many people experience weight gain or feelings of discomfort around the holiday season-- but this is easily avoidable without swearing off the once-a-year indulgences while sticking to your health goals. Most parties have appetizers of some sort, often including a spread of delicacies that include some fruit and veggies. Fruits and veggies are low calorie but very filling and give your body the nutrients it needs. Look for these to fill up most of your plate (or your whole plate for the first round) before diving into your holiday favourites.
For the mind:
Avoid the mall or choose off-peak times to go. It’s no secret that it’s a madhouse this time of year. Order your gifts online (many small businesses are online and will delivery too, so you can still shop locally online) or try to go to the mall during weekday work hours, if possible.
Say “no”. Organize another dinner party. Make the props for a holiday play. Cook the main course and desserts…. There are SO many opportunities to do more around the holidays, but don’t be afraid to say NO or offer a compromise to those extra tasks on an already packed schedule. It will be best for the event, they can find someone else who can give the attention it needs, and, of course, it will be best for YOU and your other commitments that are closer to your heart. If saying “no” flat-out feels wrong or you really want to help but feel like you won’t be able to do your best, offer to help find someone else or compromise. Maybe you can do part of what needs to be done and split the work with another person.
Ask for help. On the other side of saying “no”, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Of course, respect if the person you asked says “no”, but many people are very open to pitching in what they can for people and causes that they care about this season.
Agree and agree to disagree. Sometimes gatherings can preemptively spark stress thinking about the discussions that are usually brought up, like past family events, politics, the news, etc. However, you never have to accept a conversation that you don’t want, no matter who it’s from. If Aunt Jane is bringing up her typical political ponderings that you vehemently disagree with, respectfully acknowledge her opinion, politely comment that you disagree- if you want to- and change subjects to more family-fun conversations.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays,