Aaaannnd, just like that, we are in the heat of the holiday season. After taking the week of Thanksgiving off from my regularly scheduled Wednesday wellness rants, I am coming back with a fresh dish of wisdom I feel can make your holiday season happier and healthier. Throughout December, it is all too common for individuals to throw any focus on wellness entirely out the window. The future of the new year’s resolutions looms in the distance, giving us all an excuse to put off all healthy habits till the new year. Take the comfort of excuses, throw constant culinary temptation, and holiday stress on top, and you have the perfect recipe for a downward spiral of poor health. Ultimately, making your holiday season miserable and your new year’s goals even harder to achieve.
I have had many holidays where my wellness went entirely off the rails. I had years where I put health on the backseat and gained embarrassing amounts of weight from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Physique aside, I use to be accustomed to a yearly dark cloud that would start to loom over my head around the holidays, sucking the joy from what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
Until last year, while training for a half marathon, I was forced to stay active and more mindful of my health over the holiday season. I had to make sure I was on top of hydration for runs that needed to get done. The running allowed me to not only break a sweat but also some much needed time to think. I still enjoyed my unofficial eating contests at the family gatherings, drank hot cocoa loaded with marshmallow fluff, and ate all the Christmas cookies I could get in my mouth.
Honestly, I think I still gained a little bit of weight because I can eat disgusting amounts of food when given the opportunity, but not as much as years before. The best revelation from last year is that there were no dark clouds or holiday blues that came my way. I can honestly say that I felt happier and overall more present than previous holidays. I feel I have to credit this to three different aspects that can help us all find some wellness this holiday season. Hydration, movement, and breath!
Staying hydrated can be tricky over the holidays. Always running around shopping can make you forget to fill your hydroflask as much as usual. It also seems at every turn; there is the opportunity for a glass of wine or holiday cocktail. It is no surprise that most people completely dehydrate themselves during the Christmas season. Not getting your fluids, of course, leads to a whole slew of issues that tear down our holiday.
Having proper hydration is essential to wellness. There is no way a person can be healthy without being nourished adequately with water and electrolytes. Hydration helps with inflammation, promotes regular digestion function, rids the body of toxins, and controls hunger cravings. A huge step to stay healthy this year is to be on top of your hydration.
It is all too easy to surf the couch for most of the holidays. All the best movies are on, it’s cold outside, you are full, and you need a nap from all the family raucous. We have all been there, but being stagnant all month is going to leave you achy, bloated, and most likely sick. Our bodies need to move, and it is one of the reasons the stagnant modern society is experiencing a plague of poor health. Keeping our body active, keeps internal systems functioning at optimal levels, and reducing unneeded stress throughout the body.
The movement doesn’t have to be a hard workout or a 10-mile run. A simple walk for 30 minutes is all you need to aid in digestion and keep your lymphatic system moving. Over the holidays, walks with my cousins are something I look forward to the most. Other fun activities to stay active over the holidays can be ice skating, family flag football games, a good ole roughhouse, sledding, park core, etc. Just do your best to keep it moving during the season, and your body will thank you.
For me, the hardest part about the holidays is staying present. I feel as though I always have gift lists looming over my head and a thousand places to be all at the same time. Not stopping to enjoy myself sucks all the fun out of the holidays. The great thing about running last year is that it forced me to connect with my breath. Long runs can be meditative, allowing your mind to focus on your breathing and providing mental space. This practice allowed me to sort out the unwarranted stress in my head and connect more to the present moment.
Again, there is no need to trudge along for miles, especially if you aren’t in running shape. Only taking ten minutes a day to meditate can make all the difference. You could even kill two birds with one stone and go for a walk by yourself. The important thing here is to take time for yourself, connect to your breath, and practice presence.
What am I doing to stay present?
This year I am trying my best to stay present. Currently, I have been using a technique to bring myself back into the moment and enjoying life. When I start to find my mind drifting and thinking about issues with external forces in the past or present, I simply stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and check in on all my senses. What am I seeing, what am I feeling, what am I smelling, and so on. These steps allow me to check-in and become present at the moment, ultimately leading to more joy.
As always, thank you for reading this post. Please share with your family members this holiday season, and hopefully, we can all be a little healthier together. I am always available @wellnessrob on Instagram, or you are welcome to email me through the contact page if you have a question.
With big love,