The holidays are a PERFECT time to focus on fitness. Wait. I know it sounds like I’ve been into the egg nog early. With everything we do in our regular lives, it’s already a reach to make time for self-care. Add our holiday list, and it seems like 20 minutes to exercise is as real as the “prancing and pawing of each little hoof” that precedes a magical chimney visit.
But self care can stay on the list. With a bit of commitment, those things we do to stay well can even help us bring more joy to the season. And I’m not just saying that to get on the “Good List.”
The whole overeating, not exercising, losing sleep thing this time of year is a little bogus. It is almost like the health club industry promotes how easy it is to get fat between Halloween and New Year’s so we’ll all give in to excuses and their clubs will be bursting with re-resolved clients on Jan. 1.
We are bombarded with in-your-face articles, images and examples of ways we can over indulge. Parties are largely alcohol and sugar fueled. And the world is overflowing with ways to help keep us slim, avoid the flu, meet family expectations and deal with a whole host of other expected holiday-related stress. Read or watch enough sales pitches and you’ll probably think that gaining weight, getting sick and stressing out just go with the holiday territory — an accepted part of “enjoyment of the season.”
Why should that be? It IS true, we add things to our calendar during the holidays, but our schedules go on all year long. We have stress in our lives daily and somehow we find time to do the things we commit to do for our health. The lie that our health must suffer during the holidays is just that, a Santa’s belly-sized lie. And it needs busting.
Let’s think about the kinds of things we usually do to stay healthy:
- Eat well
- Stay hydrated
- Wash our hands
- Get good sleep
- Spend time with people we like
There is NO reason for those to change during this time of year. In fact, some of these things can add a great deal of joy to our season. Maybe we don’t prioritize each and every regularly scheduled workout. And we may choose to stay up late and enjoy family and friends rather than get our full 8 hours of shut-eye. Does that mean we have to ditch the whole list?
Let’s ditch that negative messaging instead and try this holiday list on for size:
- Exercise, even 2 minutes of blood pumping on the stairs at the mall or a set of squats while gift wrapping. Get your niece to do it with you. And maybe she’ll get everyone doing it.
- Eat even better than usual. Including some holiday treats! The ones you really love. Don’t apologize to anyone for saying “no thank-you” to break-room leftovers that are not the ones you love. Your generous co-worker likely just needed them out of their own house. (And I promise you can find naked veggies and lean proteins if you look hard enough at the holiday party.)
- Drink water. An easy one! And if you need help, there are even apps for that. I admit, I’m a Plant Nanny addict.
- Wash your hands. Hey look, another easy one.
- Sleep. Even if it means those Facebook statuses go un-liked. I promise your real life friends want you well rested to enjoy their company more than they want you to see how cute their cat looked in his Santa hat.
- Make dates with people that make you feel good about yourself. Spending time with friends and family members who support your healthy choices and are living the kind of fitness life you aspire to will help you remember that fitness can stay on everyone’s holiday list.
- Get support! Tell your partner you are sticking to club soda at the office party and join your kids in that snowball fight. Make your holiday Girls Night a yoga class instead of happy hour. Take your neighbor for a walk or join our Walking Accountability Crew every Monday, Wednesday and Friday leaving from Sloans Lake Pirate Park at 9:15 a.m. I promise, the people you include in your healthy holiday will thank you.
You can do this! Keep making good choices and keep giving your beautiful body what it needs. You’ll finish off this year feeling great and head into New Year’s Resolution Season miles ahead of the game. Holidays are the season of believing. Believe that you can make the holidays your healthiest and most truly wonderful time of the year.
Wishing you wellness this holiday season and always.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.