How to Be Healthy During the Holidays
by Angie Miller
Yes, those two words can be used in the same sentence, even when temptation surrounds us and routines are lost in the flourish of holiday madness. Even when kids are home from school, family is visiting from out of town, and our house feels like an endless hub of activity. I realize that during the holidays time feels like a precious, limited commodity; but I still contend that when it’s most tempting to skip our workout and other healthy habits is when we need it the most. During the holidays we are inundated with sweets, treats, cocktails, and an abundance of situations where our self-control is put to the test. That’s why this week I decided to share four S words to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
Four S Words to Help You Stay Healthy During the Holidays
- Self-Care- Exercise for self-care, self-preservation, and self-control (you know, the kind you need when your routine is off and everything from kids, visitors, traffic, and long lines test your patience). Even when it’s not the holidays, finding time to exercise can be a challenge (if we don’t schedule it), and some people hesitate to exercise because they say that it takes time away from family when they're already working. My response is this: When you're flying on an airplane and they're going through emergency landing procedures they tell you to put on your mask first, before your child's, right? Because they know that you can't save your child (or any of your loved ones) if you don't save yourself first. That's how I look at exercise. It's part of self-care. How can we care for others if we aren't caring for ourselves? My suggestion is that you put your mask on first. Exercise, eat well, and when you're feeling your best you'll give your best to others. This is especially important during the holidays when our loved ones count on us to provide them with extra love, support, and holiday hugs.
- Sleep- While this one is an eternal challenge for me, I do read the research and I know the importance of good sleep hygiene for brain health, disease prevention, and even good decision-making. Sleep is a like a cognitive clearinghouse (I just made that up). It sweeps our brain and gives us a fresh outlook, even more important during the holidays (refer to my line about traffic, kids, visitors and long lines if you’re still not convinced).
- Schedule- While our routine may be off, aka our regular schedule; we can still create a new schedule, a working schedule that accommodates the extra demands we face during the holidays. It may be that our schedule looks and feels different day to day, but that’s okay. Sometimes our body needs new challenges to wake it up and make it pay attention. If you have to replace your kickbox workout at 6 am for a yoga routine at 6 pm, because your visitors prefer to do yoga, why not? (I did remember to suggest that you include your visitors and/or your children in your workout so you don’t have to feel guilty, right?) The key to success is that on Sunday you write out your week, you decide where you need to be and when, and you schedule your workouts the way you schedule everything else. Stick to your schedule and you’ll be good to go. Working out might feel a little different at a different time of day, and you might have to substitute your regular classes or DVD’s for a different workout, but you have everything to gain by being flexible and open to new challenges.
- Save- Time, energy, and sanity by delegating- I like to get my tree up early, and I do mean early. Especially this year because I will be traveling for two weeks in December, therefore I won’t be able to enjoy my labor of love. In other words, all the hard work and time I spend decorating. That said, this year I also had a large speaking engagement and preparing for it was demanding a lot of my time. Between that and my regular work I was feeling overwhelmed. It just so happens that my husband had some time of, and I dared to make the suggestion that he decorate the tree this year. Guess what? He did decorate the tree, and the house, and though I might have been tempted to rearrange a few things here and there, and “spruce up” some areas that he might have missed, I didn’t. The tree looks great, the house looks great, and I didn’t have to lift a finger. I accepted, I embraced, I relinquished control, and I delegated. I suggest that if you haven’t already you give it shot; whether it’s giving a loved on shopping list, having them decorate, or whatever you need a helping hand with, go for it. You deserve to delegate and you’ll be amazed at how good it feels.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
Best in Health and Many Hugs~
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com