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How to Stay on Track During the Holidays with Less Stress

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

As the song goes, "it's the most wonderful time of the year" (for finding a parking spot at your local gym or salad chain). Let's be honest, if you've been thinking about your health and fitness in the last year, you're probably feeling like throwing in the towel until the New Year begins. Don't do it! There is a middle ground. Hang with me for a few minutes, and let's explore the possibilities between gym-rat-kale-queen-zen-master and giving in to every excess of the season.

Step 1: Determine

What are your minimums for exercise, nutrition, and rest/recovery? Make these achievable in light of your schedule. How do you know if they're achievable? Ask yourself if you're 80% confident that you can succeed; if not, scale back until your answer is YES.

Step 2: Plan

Based on your holiday activities, how and when can you tick off your minimums? Set yourself up for success by keeping it simple. Schedule your exercise and rest in your calendar. Think of it as a health maintenance appointment. Stick with basic recipes and exercise that's energizing and stress relieving. While you may not have time for intensive pampering, a little soak in the tub may be just the thing to take the edge off.

Step 3: Stay flexible

When your best laid plans go awry, what is your backup plan? Having something in place is your safety net when things get really busy, and keeps you from getting stuck.

Here's a graphic for quick reference with a few ideas:

Customize these tips to work for your level of fitness, nutrition, and recovery strategies. If you don't have specific goals for a given category, start with something small and obvious and plan how you'll accomplish that. While you're planning, brainstorm a back up plan idea or two for your strategy.

Keep it Simple

If all else fails, come back to basics. You can simply slow down your eating and pay attention to how full you're getting, take a walk, or focus on 5 slow breaths. Doing something means forward momentum, which is far better than doing nothing and feeling stuck and frustrated.

Don't let the busyness of the season throw you off track and add stress to an already stressful time of year. Take a few minutes for simple planning and you can relax and enjoy the holidays.

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