We have officially entered the holiday season. Some of us look forward to this time of year, whereas others dread it. Regardless of whether you relate more with Will Ferrell’s character, Elf, or the Grinch…..

Here’s 10 tips to assure you have a wonderful and healthy holiday season:

1 – Move Your Body

We may not be able to get to the gym as often or stick to our normal workout routine during the holidays, but try to be intentional about moving your body every day.

Exercise is the best de-stressor at any time of year, and especially during the holidays. Just remember that something is better than nothing.

Working out will keep your energy levels up and you won’t feel like you’ve got to start all over in January. A quick workout, whether lifting weights, a yoga practice, dance class or a walk around your neighborhood, is all you’ll need to help make you feel better.

The endorphins that are released during the workout will give you the energy to tackle errands.

2 – Add in Non-Exercise

When you’re busy and can’t commit to your regular fitness regime, try to incorporate more activity into your days.

For example, go for a walk with your family and friends, take the stairs instead of the escalators or elevators, and park at the back of the lot. The little bits of extra activity will help you feel better.

3 – Breathe

Carve time out every day for meditation and deep breathing, even for just 30-60 seconds. It will help to reduce stress, evoke the relaxation response and calm your body and mind.

These mini-breaks will help you recharge and regroup.

4 – Eat Your Veggies!

Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you need to consume to be healthy. Instead of forbidding any indulgences over the holidays rather, focus on drinking 8 glasses of water, consuming 5 vegetables and 3 fruits, and consuming high-quality proteins and fats every day.

If you’ve still got room for your favorite holiday cookie, go for it. 

5 – Enjoy Treats

Instead of saying you won’t indulge at all during the holidays, which can leave you feeling deprived and bitter, choose those treats that you really love. Allow yourself a small portion, and take your time to taste and enjoy your treat. Take a bite and keep it in your mouth for a while.

Science shows we get the most enjoyment from food in the first two to three bites, so take your time and really enjoy the taste and experience.

6 – Drink Responsibly

Alcohol adds additional calories with very little nutrient value. It can also lower our inhibitions causing us to make poor choices. This can sabotage some of our other healthy initiatives.

So, be sure to drink one glass of water for every alcohol drink or consider using Sparkling Water or Kombucha as your drink of choice.

7 – Rock Your Parties

At parties you may find yourself surrounded by temptations and eating a lot later than usual. Follow the food and alcohol principles above.

Focus on the people and developing relationships at the event. Set a goal to learn one new thing or connect on a deep level with one person. If there is dancing, participate. It will help metabolize any food and alcohol, plus it’s fun!

8 – Hit The Sack

The majority of people need at least seven hours of sleep each night to be the happiest and healthiest they can be.

Try to be in bed for 7-8 hours every night for optimal health, to help manage stress, and allow you to function optimally. 

9 – NO Is Ok!

If you don’t want to send out holiday cards, don’t…or do something easier and more fun like posting or texting a holiday dance to your friends and family.

Don’t want the burden of decorating your house inside and out, hire someone to do it for you or make it a family party where you all decorate together.

Does finding the perfect gifts for each of your loved ones stresses you out and is a huge cash drain, draw names and make it easier for everyone.

Perhaps instead of purchasing gifts, give the gift of your time and experiences with those you love. For example, your gift to your sister could be taking her out for manicures and brunch or your gift to your son could be a day of golf.

If the thought of cooking dinner for the whole family makes you want to cry, delegate responsibilities and enjoy a buffet dinner.

Attending every holiday party and get-together gives you anxiety and is overwhelming? Choose the events you really want to attend and graciously decline the others.

Remember, you’re in control of your life and how much you’re going to enjoy the holidays.

10 – Embrace the Spirit of the Holiday Season

Our focus should be on our family and friends, our community, and a celebration of love. Spend time talking in front of the fireplace, playing cards and games, going for walks to see the beautiful holiday decorations and doing other festive activities together. Do something nice for someone. Go out of your way to be kind. Schedule time to journal and/or make a mental note of everything and everyone you are grateful for. 

Yours in Health & Fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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