Christmas is just around the corner and parties will start next month. You might have the best intentions about your well-being when you face the New Year, however, lack of preparation can stress you out, which can lead to lack of sleep, stress eating, skipping workout sessions, weight gain, and sickness. You’ve worked hard since the start of the year and you don’t want to reverse the good results that can possibly happen during the holiday season. Here are some effective strategies that you can do right NOW to avoid the holiday stress so you can still pursue your health, fitness, and weight loss goals.
Fix your schedule and plan your day
Allot 30 minutes a day or at least a couple of hours a week for holiday planning that involves gift giving, Christmas parties, vacation, holiday workouts, food preparation, house cleaning, year-end job tasks, and family responsibilities. Accomplish something weekly in terms of strategizing, organizing, coordinating with people, and shopping to avoid the stress that can strongly affect your health and weight.
- Analyze your finances and set a budget for the holidays (your usual expenses plus an extra budget for Christmas food, vacation, gifts, and shopping for yourself and the family).
- Communicate with your spouse and/or your family about your holiday plans as early as now so you can book flight tickets and accommodation.
- Make your Christmas gift list and strategize your online or mall shopping that can start this week to save time, beat the crowd, and avoid holiday traffic. Stick to your budget so you can reduce financial stress at the end of the year. Take advantage of mall payday discounts and online shopping sale periods that will happen soon (11/11 and 12/12).
- Identify some holiday tasks and workload that you are willing to delegate and communicate with your family, household helpers, and friends about it.
- Replace other activities that absorb a lot of your energy and your time (focusing on social media, watching movies, playing video games, and hanging out with negative people) with holiday preparation tasks for now.
Monitor your lifestyle and balance it out
Always prioritize your well-being during the holidays to avoid sickness so you can be more productive this holiday season. Don’t wait for January to set your New Year’s Resolution, now is the best time to reassess your health and lifestyle, set realistic goals, make your action plan, and work on it in the next two months.
- If you need to shed some extra weight, you always have to consider getting enough sleep, eating the right type and amount of food for your body, and getting the best workouts that your body needs.
- Try to invest in a fitness tracker that can help improve your sleep, stress level, and movement. I just purchased one last week and I discovered more about the quality of my sleep, stress levels and how my body reacts to my workouts, sessions with clients, household chores, and even going out to pursue errands and other important tasks. Now, I am more concerned about balancing my day, when and how much break/rest I need to give my body so I can perform better for the upcoming tasks. I highly recommend investing in a lifestyle and fitness tracker that can help balance your day, mind, and body. It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season.
- Prepare your home environment for your ultimate wellness needs. Fix your bedroom so you can get good quality sleep. Prepare your home gym for the best workouts even without going out of the house. Organize your kitchen so you can enjoy healthy eating with the whole family.
Continue to motivate yourself to move
You need to move as much as your body and schedule allow you on a daily basis. It starts today. Do not waste every opportunity to exercise, just because you don’t feel like it, or you’re lazy and unmotivated. Explore ways how to continue quality movement during the holiday season so you can always beat the stress, improve your health, lose extra fat and experience positive emotions.
- Look ahead and visualize how you want to look and how fit and healthy you want to be in 2023. Would you like to have that much-needed energy to start the New Year right? Or start the year feeling weak and stressed out? You can decide now – start today or start in January? It’s all up to you. I know that it’s challenging to work out during the holidays, but with enough preparation and the right mindset, you can make it happen.
- Schedule your workouts whenever it’s most convenient and when your energy is high. Devote at least 30 minutes a day for brisk walking, running or any cardio workouts, plus at least twice a week of full body strength training. You can start with a 10-minute resistance training routine. Then challenge yourself to improve each week by increasing the frequency, duration and/or intensity.
- Do not underestimate the power of home workouts. It’s the cheapest and the most convenient (can even be the most effective) way to get fit nowadays. I’ve seen so many clients improve a lot in terms of health and fitness and have heard so many success stories of people who did home workouts for almost three years since the pandemic. Join Zoom classes or check YouTube workouts that match your personality, style, and fitness level.
- Running events are back! Have a goal so you can train for them and become more consistent in your cardio routine (walk, jog or run). You can initially sign up for short-distance run races (3-5km runs), then either aim to improve your speed or go for longer runs on your next race (for the next month).
- More and more gyms and boutique fitness studios are opening. Try to explore new workouts (boxing, yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling, dance class, indoor rowing, treadmill, and weights classes) in the next two months (try one new workout per week) and look for the best workouts that can motivate you to exercise more consistently as you face the New Year. You can always get cheaper starter packages from various gyms and studios.
Cleanse your body before the holidays
Christmas parties might start as early as the first week of December. Of course, you need to celebrate the season with your loved ones without depriving yourself of the holiday foods (while practicing portion control). Take advantage of this period (November) when it’s still easier to focus on your normal clean eating.
- Feed your body with more plant-based foods. For the past two years, I’ve been doing a one-week modified cleanse (first week of December), not for weight loss, but just for overall health, by eliminating meat and added sugars (sweets and desserts) and eating mostly vegetables, fruits, and healthy grains, then gradually reintroducing seafood, chicken and meat and other usual foods after 5 days.
- Replace the extras like sweet, salty, and fatty ultra-processed snacks (cakes, flavored drinks, pastries, packaged snacks like cookies and chips) with healthier and satisfying treats (fruits, nuts, seeds, and yogurt).
- Avoid or limit alcohol intake for better sleep and overall health.
- Monitor your water intake and see if you can reach at least eight glasses of water a day.
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