It feels like forever since I’ve updated. The last time I posted, I was finishing up the semester and getting into finals. At this point, I’ve turned in my final papers and finished grading my student’s final exams. I flew into Chicago last Tuesday and am finally catching my breath. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’m doing my best to get my body back on track after a couple of weeks of stressing and stress-eating. Since I know how real the struggle to stay healthy can be during this time of year, I thought I’d share a few quick tips that might be helpful for those of us who are aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Stay Active.
For a lot of us, a vacation might mean taking a break from working out. Workouts often get lumped in with school, work, and all of the other things that we are “obligated” to do and so when we’re on vacation from school or work, it’s tempting to take a break from exercising as well. It’s so important to remain active during the holidays, however. Considering all the (likely unhealthy) foods you’ll be consuming and the more sedimentary life you might be leading while on vacation, you should still make it a priority to be active. That being said, it doesn’t mean that your workouts need to look like they do when you’re going through your normal routine. Take advantage of your laxed holiday schedule by taking some classes that you’re usually too busy to take or going with friends or family members with whom you don’t normally get to spend time. It’s also a great opportunity to try something new, just for fun, to see if you’d like to incorporate it into your fitness routine for the new year. If you’re traveling, grab a groupon or livingsocial deal and check out a gym/fitness studio in a different city. No matter what it looks like, make sure to keep the momentum going somehow so that it’s not terrible when you have to go back to real life in a couple of weeks.
2. Acknowledge Your Non-Negotiables.
I’m pretty sure that everyone has that holiday dish that they wait all year for. For me, it’s this dessert that my grandmother makes, known to my family as “butter rolls.” And yes, it is as delicious and decadent as you might gather from it’s title. Butter rolls are far from healthy and are not paleo by any stretch of the imagination but I love them. They remind me of my childhood, holidays passed, and everything that is great about life. My granny is the only person who makes them and I only get them once a year, so you better believe that I will be having my fair share when she pops them out of the oven. Because I have the butter rolls in mind, however, I can use them to keep me away from some of the other things that might be tempting but aren’t really worth it. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t have more than one indulgence but it’s to say that acknowledging and anticipated the things that we “must have” at this time of year puts us in a better position to determine the things that we can do without.
3. Be Mindful.
The holidays can easily be seen as a “free pass” on living healthily and in some ways it is. I thoroughly believe in embracing holidays as such and using them to take a necessarily break from some of the stresses of everyday life. Just because you’ve given yourself a holiday free pass, however, doesn’t mean that you have to eat everything. As I tried to get across in the preceding point, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of your favorite holiday goodies, but you also shouldn’t mindlessly consume things just for the sake of it being the holidays either. Mindfulness is key to everything that we do and it’s important to let it guide you, even during the yuletide season.
4. Be gracious to Yourself.
This is probably the most important of all of these tips. No matter what ends up happening during the holidays – no matter how many pies you eat or how few miles you run – don’t beat yourself up about it. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to try something different. No matter what, just proceed with dignity and the wisdom that you acquired through the successes and failures of the day before.
Happy Holidays everyone!