We all know that even the best-laid plans fail. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, right? Right. So we suggest you start this holiday season with a self-care plan that should include your fitness, eating and other items like sleep, social life, meditation and a stretching/mobility/yoga routine: if this sounds like a lot, don’t worry: remember it’s your plan, you get to decide what it includes and we’re here to help and advise with anything you’re struggling with.
1. Fitness. Most of you reading this are already doing this. You’re coming to BCSF classes. You’re running. You’re doing hot yoga. You’re working out on your own at the gym. Here’s the thing: don’t stop now. Let us say that again: now is not the time to stop. Keep on making it a priority. Remember that your workout is always a non-negotiable in your schedule – it’s an important meeting with yourself (and your workout buddies!). It can often be the first thing that you skip when things get busy, but once you decide that it’s a priority and you honor the commitment it’s easier to skip that last beer, it’s easier to say no to happy hour if you had an evening workout planed, it’s easier to go to bed an hour earlier. Often it’s the commitment that makes it’s easier to say no and easier to just show up.
2. Eating. Look, it’s the holidays. Food is a major part of the holiday season. We get it. We’re not going to tell you to not eat your Aunt Marge’s pecan pie. But this is what we will tell you:
Plan: you know that you’re heading to a holiday potluck with friends. DO be the friend that brings the healthy dish. DO be the person that drinks one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. DO decide what your strategy is beforehand – i.e. know that you will stop at two drinks, know that you are going to have one treat followed with a huge salad of leafy greens. DO eat before events; if you think it’s a good idea to fast prior to a Thanksgiving feast, think again – you might be setting yourself up to fail and eat more of that cheese plate than you would naturally. So have that oatmeal in the morning, grab an apple mid-morning and you won’t find yourself crankily hungry come 2pm when that turkey is behind schedule.
Prioritize: Aunt Marge’s pecan is worth it. We agree. So eat it, but maybe skip the sweet potato laden with marshmallows and brown sugar. Moral: decide which splurges are worth it and learn to recognize when you are eating just to eat. Enjoy each bite, relish it and skip the rest of the filler.
Give Yourself a Break: You went big on Thanksgiving. Okay. You’re human and you had a great time with your peeps. You aren’t ruined. You just get up on Friday morning and move on. Beating yourself up isn’t going to get you any further and it isn’t allowed, okay? So get back to your plan. Which means that Friday you’re going to get a workout in. You’re going to eat leftovers…mindfully. Let’s be honest – how much gravy does a turkey sandwich actually need? You’re going to have at least one meal that is bountifully full of veggies, a salad perhaps. And come Monday nothing has changed: you’re sticking to your plan and not wasting your energy on beating yourself up over the amazing Thanksgiving you just had.
3. Social Life/Commitments/Obligations. This is tough. You love your friends and family. And while having a positive social life is something that will contribute to a healthy, stress-free you, there can be a tipping point for most of us when we are simply attending out of obligation and are running on fumes. Again, this where you need to decide where your priorities lie. It’s true that the holidays only come once a year and sometimes it’s worth it to go big. But remember that your friends and family will still love you if you need to take a night off and prioritize some of your other self-care things (i.e. sleep!).
4. Sleep. ‘Nuff said. You need sleep to be healthy. This is not something to sacrifice to make others happy.
5. Foam Rolling, Massage therapy, Yoga, Meditation. What do you need to do to feel balanced? Are you recovering from an injury (or are you concerned about injury prevention)? Beyond the physical benefits, doing these things will likely take a bit of the stress of the season away. It will be another chance to connect with yourself in the midst of so much social connection. And if you are on a treatment plan for an injury, this is not the time to skimp. No one wants to start January with an injury that is worse-off. If you aren’t doing any of these things, choose one that interests and maybe explore it (e.g. check out a gentle or restorative yoga class on a Sunday evening to clear your head), just be careful of biting off more than you can chew in an already busy season.
Need help with your Holiday Season plan? Give us a shout and we can help advise you on some healthy options for whatever it is you’re struggling with. And keep following us here, we have 5 more blog posts in this series to go before the end of the holiday season!