Friday, December 21, 2012

Surviving the Holidays

By: Stephanie Howe, doctoral candidate, ACSM

Ah, holiday season is upon us. Snow. Family. Food. Parties. Stress.

The holidays are a time for celebration and enjoyment, but they can also be challenging. Especially if you are trying to stay in shape. Finding time to fit in a run or eat healthy despite all the holiday temptations, can be difficult.

So, how can you stay motivated to keep active during such a busy time? With a little planning and preparation you can successfully get through the holidays and stay sane. Here are some simple tips to help you start planning: 

1. Take some time for yourself each day. It can be as little as 10 minutes. Use this time to unwind, clear your mind, and de-stress.

2. Be active as a family. The holidays are a time to spend with family, but who says you can’t be active? Plan something fun, such as going for a walk to look at Christmas lights, building a snowman, sledding, etc. Crummy weather? No problem. Get active indoors! Try out one of the athletic facilities in town, check out a yoga class, try out the Bend circus center or the family fun center- the choices are endless.

3. Indulge mindfully.  Allow yourself to enjoy a few of your favorite holiday treats in moderation. Remember that the holidays do not give you permission to gorge yourself on sugar. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all seasonal goodies. Just pick some of your favorites and savor the taste.

4. Mix it up. Instead of trying to force a run out in the snow, try something different. Seasonal activities like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding, alpine skiing, etc. can be really fun in the winter.

5. Take it easy on the alcohol. Drinking lots of wine/beer/cocktails on top of all the extra holiday sweets can make you feel even worse. For every alcoholic drink try to drink a glass of water in between. Drinking lots of alcohol can easily (and sneakily) increase your calorie consumption. Sip alcoholic drinks and don’t be afraid to say no!

6. Relax and let yourself enjoy the holiday season! This is maybe the most important thing. The holiday season should be enjoyable, not stressful. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself permission to get out of your normal routine for a couple days. It’s ok if you don’t get a run every day or you eat more Christmas cookies than you planned. Just get back on track the next day.

7. Set Goals. Now is a good time to start thinking about the upcoming year. Maybe you want to run a half marathon? Or start eating healthier? Whatever it is you want to improve upon, setting a goal is the best way to hold yourself accountable and make progress.

Want to learn more about surviving the holidays or goal setting? Check out for individualized coaching and healthy lifestyle plans.

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