The holidays play havoc with everyone’s schedules, eating habits and exercise regimes. There are the added social activities – whether they are with family, friends or work – to incorporate into your diary. Tempting holiday foods treats and chocolates often contain much more sugar and fat than your normal diet. Then there is the increased alcohol consumption that often accompanies social and work gatherings. And, of course, exercise regimes get impacted when trying to fit in the social events to an already full life. How do you successfully navigate these hurdles and still have fun this Christmas?
As Stephen Covey recommends, begin with the end in mind. Decide how you want to ‘be’ at the end of the holiday season. Do you want to be exhausted or energized, frazzled or calm, rested or beat? Do you want to be the same weight? Less? More? Do you want to keep your exercise regime, modify your days and start times or perhaps even stop it altogether for the holidays? It doesn’t matter what you choose. What is important is that you make a conscious choice around how you want to be at the end of the season. By doing this, you can then plan how you will achieve that.
For example, if you want to be the same weight at the end of the holidays as you are now, then you have to decide how you will achieve that. Will it be compromising on the quantity of chocolate you consume? Or, maybe you aren’t prepared to forego a few drinks and instead you’ll commit to reducing your sweets intake to offset the kilojoules from the alcohol. Or, perhaps you’re prepared to hit the gym harder and longer during the holidays? Maybe, you will add 40 squats before and after each meal instead of reducing the quantity you intake. Little tricks can help, too. Drinking a glass or two of water between alcoholic indulgences. Parking a block or two away and walking. Taking the stairs, even one level rather than the lift helps. Whatever your strategy, get creative and make sure it is something you are willing to do for yourself so you end up just how you want to be at the end of the holidays.
If you want to be rested at the end of the holidays, then first incorporate what you need to feel rested into your schedule for the holidays and then fit in your other events and obligations. Opt for declining an event rather than foregoing activities that make you feel rested. That includes opting for sleep. Many people who have multiple functions where they are expected to make an appearance will stay for only a short time at the function rather than forego their personal wellness activities. They use the same strategy when there is more than one obligation on the same date or even time. While your host might love you to stay for the entire event, she/he also understands that you must also honor your other commitments, even those you’ve made to yourself.
Maintaining your regular exercise regime may be the more challenging part of the holidays since facility times change and often even reduce their hours. This is the time to open yourself to other possibilities. Improvise with stair climbing, walks outdoors in the mall or in your building, swimming, cycling, running, dancing. Some activity is better than no activity.
Being proactive by deciding how you want to be at the end of the holidays and what approaches you will use throughout the merriment will set you on course for achieving your expectations. Eat, drink and be merry in alignment with your vision of you!