Ah, the holidays. These long-anticipated final weeks of the year filled with festive food, drinks, family, friends, gifts, and great memories. Most of us look forward to our holiday festivities for months on end, and while all those parties and get-togethers are certainly fun, they’re not always conducive to living a healthy lifestyle.
Although we might eagerly await the joy-filled final weeks of the year, the stress of preparing for the holiday rush can cause many of us to forget to focus on our health and well-being. But even during the holidays, personal well-being should be a priority, both physically and mentally.
If you tend to feel overly stressed during the holidays, here are 6 simple things you can do to focus on prioritizing your health and well-being this festive season.
1. Focus on What Matters Most
It’s easy to get so caught up in preparing for the holidays that you nearly forget to focus on the most important part of the season: connecting with loved ones and making memories.
Yes, purchasing gifts, preparing your favorite dishes, decorating, and enjoying festive parties are all fun, but at the end of the day, the holidays are about love, not all of the other stuff. This season may be the only time of year you get to enjoy time with some of the people you love the most. Fostering strong connections and making memories with loved ones will always matter more than the foods, drinks, and festivities you partake in, or the gifts you give and receive.
If you view the holidays as a time to indulge, that’s totally fine! But remember that this season is also an excellent time to slow down and truly appreciate the relationships you have in your life.
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Aside from love, joy, and cheer, if there’s one emotion people associate with the holidays, it’s stress. Sound familiar? If so, you can change that, and when you do, your mental health will thank you during the final few weeks of the year.
While you might normally stress about making the perfect dinner spread or buying the perfect gifts you know your loved ones will adore, no holiday turns out flawless. Even the most well-planned and carefully crafted holiday get-together can include a few hiccups, and if it does, that’s life!
Try to view any mistakes or inconveniences as learning experiences — opportunities to exercise flexibility, resilience, and grace under pressure. A burned bird won’t ruin your holiday; it’ll make a memory and give you an opportunity to chuckle about the snafu next year.
The same idea applies to anything else that might go wrong during your holidays. Set realistic expectations, don’t sweat the small stuff, and remember: missteps happen; that’s life.
3. Write Down Your Goals and Make a Plan
Trying to stay on track with your health and fitness goals throughout the holiday season? Whether you want to stick to your macros during family get-togethers or make sure you hit the gym with your normal frequency, planning is key.
Keep in mind that all of the hustle and bustle involved in the final weeks of the year may require you to rearrange your schedule a little to stay on track. But if you do that in advance, you’ll set yourself up for success. First, write down what you’re looking to achieve, and then, write down how you’ll make it happen.
For example, if you want to get your daily workouts in, maybe you’ll need to hit the gym before work instead of after. Or, if you want to enjoy holiday food and drink without blasting past your macros, perhaps you’ll need to pre-plan your daily meals, so you can leave room for nighttime indulgences.
Whatever your holiday health and fitness goals are, if you write them down and then make a (flexible) plan for achieving them, you’ll be much more likely to make them a reality.
4. Take Time for Yourself
Many of us get so caught up in serving others throughout the holiday season that we forget to take time for self-care. Sound like you? If that’s a yes, remember that the better you care for yourself, the better prepared you are to care for others well.
When you’re feeling stressed, take some time to do the things that bring you joy. Perhaps that’s taking a relaxing walk, listening to your favorite music, getting a massage, or maybe even indulging in a little retail therapy. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries (especially during the hectic holiday season), and everyone includes you.
5. Indulge in Moderation, Without Guilt
There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite festive foods during the holiday season. And that’s true even if you’re trying to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. But we all know that our favorite holiday foods certainly aren’t the healthiest choices, and that’s where indulging in moderation is key.
If you know you’ll be enjoying holiday fare in the evening, make sure the rest of your daily meals are nutrient dense and healthy. Don’t overcomplicate your eating. Enjoy what you want, keep your portions on the sensible side, and avoid skipping meals to “save up” more calories for an evening get-together.
If you’re like most people, you’ll only be indulging in these types of foods for a few weeks out of the year, so enjoy them while you can, and then get back on track. No guilt involved.
6. Be Flexible (But Consistent) With Your Physical Activity
If your schedule is jam-packed throughout the holidays, be flexible. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get to the gym! The gym will still be there when the holidays pass, but while you’re super busy, why not try something new? Perhaps you can work out at home? Or maybe outdoors?
You can get a great training session in with nothing more than your body weight, and keep in mind that walking is also an excellent workout no matter your age or fitness level. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, no matter what it is you happen to do.
Even if you might not be able to get in the gym, engaging in other forms of physical activity during the holidays will help you maintain your overall physical and mental well-being. Getting that daily physical activity will also help you maintain momentum toward your New Year’s health and fitness goals!
Need help staying focused on your health throughout the holidays? Our team at Wolfpack Fitness is here for you. Whether you’re looking to stay consistent with your training or need help planning and managing your nutrition, our personal trainers and nutritionists can formulate a highly personalized plan and provide the accountability that’ll help you achieve your goals.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about what we can help you prioritize your health this holiday season!