The holidays are busy. There's a lot of food and unfortunately, some times it's all too easy to indulge (way) too much and end up with a lot of very snug clothes. There's nothing merry about that, so here are a few tips I use each holiday season to stay mindful, avoid over eating and maintain my fitness routine.
1. Yoga class!! If you are more of a dvd/work out at home person, try those. I am not. I need someone pushing me, so the classes work really well for me. I've also made a few new friends from them, so that is extra motivation to not miss class. Yoga will help a lot with the mindfulness, as well as improving your strength and flexibility. A lot of people (especially my guy friends) laugh when I tell them yoga is a great workout. You are continuously using the resistance of your body weight in every move. It's done wonders for my abs and my shoulders. Don't worry if you don't know what you are doing in your first few (or several) classes. Just bring a yoga mat, comfortable clothes (here's an appropriate occasion for those yoga pants) and a bottle of water. Relax, breathe and listen to your body. And most importantly, don't forget to have fun!
2. Speaking of yoga classes, now is a great time to try out a new class that you've been eyeing at the gym. After January 1, they will fill up quick with the New Year's Resolutions folks, so get there now to see if it's something you actually like. I did this with some zumba classes a few years ago. Zumba isn't really my thing, but it was still fun and it was nice that it wasn't super crowded at that point.
3. Never go anywhere hungry. It sound counter intuitive, but try it. Snack on an apple and some walnuts or almonds before heading out to another holiday party. Allow yourself to enjoy the food, but eat slowly, be mindful and don't forget to drink water. The protein, fat and carbs in your earlier snack will help keep you from over eating.
4. Don't forget your (large) water bottle! I take mine with me everywhere. Being dehydrated can make you tired and maybe a little cranky. Drinking water can also keep your hunger in check and keep you from over eating.
5. Stressed? Run it off. This one always helps me. If it's not too cold, take your run outside and clear your mind.
6. Instead of going out to eat or out for drinks, ask your loved ones to join you on a walk or for some ice skating. If you have an awesome mountain range in your backyard (an hour away!) like we do back home, perhaps go skiing, snowboarding or sledding. You'll have an awesome time and burn some calories. Afterwards, don't feel bad about indulging a little, but keep it in check.
7. Eat breakfast. Yes, I said it. I'm not a breakfast person. There are very few breakfast foods I actually like and it's so much more convenient to sleep for an extra ten minutes in the morning than to get up and make something. That being said, I always feel better when I do eat breakfast so I'd recommend this. My favorite is a single-serve bottle of chocolate milk that I can drink on my way to work. See, another way to avoid getting up earlier than necessary! Ha!
8. Don't skimp on sleep. There are not enough hours in the day this time of year. It doesn't help that it's already dark by the time I get home from work in the evenings. Regardless, don't let your holiday schedule cut down on valuable sleep, which leads me to my next point...
9. Say no to things you don't want to do. Most of us have enough going on during the less-than-hectic holiday season to keep us busy. Add more activities and it can make even the calmest person a little anxious. I'm sure there are some activities that you really don't enjoy and don't HAVE to do (i.e. your job doesn't depend on them, your family won't disown you for not attending, etc.). Say no atleast once this holiday season. I promise you'll feel better.
10. Carve out a little time to not plan. Be spontaneous and unwind. Don't have a schedule and just go with the flow. Again, it'll help you feel better.
Here's to a great holiday season!