I credit my Christmas socks for keeping me active over the holidays; they make me smile, and put an extra pep in my step :-)
If you don't have magical socks, don't worry, these six tips will keep you active! All kidding aside, it is possible to make (mostly) healthy choices in December, it just takes some mindfulness and advance planning. (For additional tips, read my blog from December 1st).
1. Don't let yourself skip a workout when you are feeling depressed, exhausted and/or overwhelmed.
Working out will always make you feel better. Some movement—especially in December—is always better than no movement. Can't make your yoga class? Do a yoga podcast at home. Can't get to spin? Go for a walk.
Just make yourself do something—anything!
2. Don't let yourself 'snowball'!
Don't let one missed workout snowball into a week of slovenly behaviour or one glass of wine domino into five. Portions count. Missing one workout is not the same as missing five. Enjoy a few Christmas treats – just don't mindlessly indulge. Eat something because you love it, not just because it is there. Enjoy your downtime, but at the same time, don't use the holidays as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. If you decide to have a treat or skip a workout, enjoy your choice and then immediately get back on your "health horse." Decide to make healthier choices—not "tomorrow," but now. If you regret an unhealthy choice, learn from the experience; make a better choice next time. If you make an unhealthy choice, learn from your experiences, then create new goals based on your new-found knowledge. For example, if you keep missing evening workouts, consider setting up a home gym or training before work.
3. Think of your health as drops in a bucket—small choices that accumulate.
This holiday season, aim to accumulate as many drops as possible; every bit of motion adds up, and every situation can be re-framed as an opportunity for movement. Frustrated that the bus is late? Take it as an opportunity to walk. Forget something upstairs? Run upstairs and accumulate some steps. Have to sit at your desk for longer than usual? Invest in a SitFit: an inflatable cushion that looks slightly like a Whoopee cushion. Sit on it while at your desk to help improve your posture and strengthen your core; simply try to keep the air evenly distributed as you sit. Or, when you have a bad day, instead of eating crappy food, use your frustration as incentive to go for a walk to clear your head!
4. Enlist some extra help!
The holidays are crazy - so get a fitness buddy. Or make a "cooking" date with a friend; cook healthy food and then split the spoils and freeze the food so you always have healthy options available. Or join a group like the Running Room or Weight Watchers. Don't be embarrassed to get others involved in your health process—we all need a little extra help sometimes!
5. Never ask yourself "Will I exercise today?"
The "will" gives you the option to skip your workout. Instead, ask yourself "WHEN will I exercise today?" Make moving a non-negotiable.