For many people, the holiday season can be a difficult time. All of us have our demons to fight, and for whatever reasons they all seem to come out during this time of the year. It may be a battle with depression that gets heightened when everyone else on social media seem to be happy and festive (or so it seems). It could be painful memories from Christmases in the past. Or when everywhere you turn you are reminded that this is “the most wonderful time of the year” but things are really not all that wonderful for you.
One of the ways we learn to keep our own demons at bay during the year is by managing our days with familiar routines. Going to work, getting the kids to school, prepping for dinner, going to sleep at a certain time. The routines give our daily lives defined boundaries and give us a sense of structure and control. But during the holiday season, many of those routines get disrupted, and emotionally that can create chaos and stress.
When I speak with people about maintaining mental and emotional wellness during this time of the year, one thing I always suggest is the creation of new routines to guide us through the days. And there is no better place and no better time to start a new routine towards physical fitness than right here, right now. Physical well being is a huge step towards emotional well being. With all the excessive drinking and eating that happen during this month, we all can use some help in burning off a few of those extra calories. 🙂
So here is what I suggest. Take out your calendar and schedule in workouts that are planned and purposeful. Rather than a vaguely saying “I think I am going to try and get fit this Christmas holiday”, actually write them into your calendar. I recommend 4-5 times per week, at least 30 minutes each session, depending on your current fitness level. Instead of waiting till the annual “new year resolution rush” to join a gym, why not start now? You don’t need to hire a trainer or spend a truck load of money. The gym I go to cost $10 a month and it has absolutely everything I need. The key is to have a goal and purpose. Don’t just go to the gym and walk around aimlessly for 30 minutes going from one machine to another, checking your phone in between. Have a goal. Whether it is running an extra 5 minutes than you have done before, or increasing the weight you lift by 10 pounds, having a goal for each workout will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction afterwards.
It is a piece of advice that I listen to as well. This off season of November and December, I actually asked my coach to write me daily workouts to help me get through what is usually a difficult time of the year emotionally for me. I feel stronger, fitter, and more ready to get back to regular training in January as I prepare for my first Ironman triathlon race this coming August. So give it try. Design new routines, set up new goals, and let our improved physical wellness lead the way towards stronger emotional well being this holiday season. 🙂