It’s mid-November and I’ve heard a couple of clients lament the stress they feel building due to the upcoming holidays. As a personal trainer/coach, I don’t want you experiencing holiday-related stress that impacts your health, happiness and overall well-being. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, after all. Only sometimes, it isn’t, right? Added expectations and obligations amount to added stress. And the holidays are full of both! We’ve got expectations for amazing home décor and gifts, home-cooked meals and baked goodies, obligations to attend gatherings and give charitably. If we're being honest, often these expectations and obligations are self-applied! We can’t forget the potential winter time weather and travel woes. Then there’s the challenge of familial strain or conflicts that seem to only come up on Thanksgiving or Christmas. (Deciding where you’ll spend the holidays is always a fun one!) The stress is almost palpable.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative feelings by imaging all the scenarios that haven’t even happened yet or recalling the disasters of holidays past. The good news is that you can get a handle on some of the tasks that are stressing you, right now. You may not be able to extinguish every ounce of stress but you can certainly manage it and spend more of this season in enjoyment rather than worry.
A task each day for 12 days is totally do-able, right?
Practice belly (diaphragmatic) breathing for at least one minute.
Many of us hold tension in our upper bodies and don’t even realize how shallow we breathe. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Breathe in deeply though your nose. You should feel your stomach rise before your chest. Feel your rib cage expand. Exhale. Set a timer for one minute and repeat. You will be amazed at how great you feel when you are done!
Drink two 8 to 12 oz glasses of water within the first two hours of getting up. As you sleep, you lose water via respiration and through your skin. You need to replace it! It is a great habit to develop and puts you on track for better hydration. Cheers!
Write down three things you are grateful for right now. 💕
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve physical and psychological health, opens the door to more relationships, and increases mental strength.
It's okay to be general and include family, health, and home. However, it can be even more powerful to tune into what you are specifically grateful for in THIS moment.
Aim for 2 to 4 servings of veggies today! 🥦🥕🌶🥒 I know it can be tough if you aren’t a fan. What’s on your plate?
Make a list of your top priorities (no more than 5) for tomorrow morning before going to sleep. Writing this down can lessen anxiety you may have about all you need to do leading to a more restful night's sleep. AND it makes for a more productive morning! ✔️✔️
Unless you regularly go to classes that incorporate it, you may not get balance exercises in your weekly routine. It is important to occasionally challenge your balance. Try this: Balance on your right leg. Bring your left knee up waist high.
Extend arms out to side (like an airplane ✈️) Perform arm circles forward for a count of eight. Repeat in the other direction.
How was your balance? 👍 Now try it on the other side. ✔️ Too easy? Try it again but close your eyes!