‘Tis the season to be stressed to the max …but it doesn’t have to be that way. December tends to be over the top, if you let it. From being over-indulgent and over-scheduled to the never ending to-do lists and parties, it’s tempting to let yourself go. However, with just a few tweaks you can defuse the stress, avoid weight gain and enjoy this magical time of year. Here are my top 5 ways to stay calm, feel great and look fabulous during the holidays or whenever life gets busy.
1. Start your day on the right foot.
What you eat in the morning dictates how you’ll eat and feel the rest of the day. Having a balanced and nutrient rich breakfast sets a solid foundation for the day. If you skip breakfast or have a meal high in sugar first thing in the morning, you are sending your body on a roller coaster ride of blood sugar crash and burn. All. Day. Long. On busy action packed holiday days, start strong: fill your bowl with mostly protein, veggies (yes, I said veggies for breakfast) and healthy fats. Think avocado or nut butter, healthy free range eggs, and loads of greens lightly sauteed in coconut oil. You can also check out my favorite go to smoothie recipe here
2. Prioritize Sleep
Holiday parties, nights out with friends and family, holiday shopping, decorating and wrapping, the list goes on! Combined, these can wreak havoc on schedules and really cut into precious sleep hours. Sleep is SO important to your mental — and physical — state that it’s really a non-negotiable behavior to prioritize. Being well rested doesn’t just affect your mood but all the systems of your body; like brain function, metabolism, hormonal balance and soooo much more. To quiet food cravings, keep stress and cortisol levels in check, skin glowing and ultimately keep weight gain at bay you best get your ZZZ’s. If you have trouble with sticking to a bedtime, make 10pm your goal as many nights a week as possible. Jammies on, under the covers, lights out, the whole nine!
3. Don’t Skip Exercise
Schedules are hectic this time of year and there are seemingly endless demands that can zap energy. It’s easy to let workouts fall by the wayside. The added social engagements and to-dos don’t have to derail you. In fact keeping up with your exercise routines will provide you with added energy, minimize negative consequences for overindulgence and manage your overall stress levels. Your workouts don’t have to mean logging hours in the gym. This is the perfect time to add in a body weight circuit, resistance bands or yoga sesh. Introducing an “on the go” routine is best when life is busiest; something you can do anywhere from home, the office or a hotel room is how we kickstart lasting results. My motto: Cultivate your ideal state, 365 days, 24/7.
Pregame before any holiday party and social engagement. No, not like you did in college before a night out on the town. Don’t go out hungry or thirsty: Eat a protein-packed snack and hydrate in a big way. If you arrive starving and dehydrated there is no way you can resist the multiple hors d’oeuvres trays floating by, overfilling your plate at buffet table or overindulging in holiday cocktails which all equal feeling lousy the next day which can lead to a host of stressful events (headaches, poor sleep, missed workouts etc).This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. By all means, a have drink (ok maybe two) and eat those tasty treats, just don’t over do it. But hydrate hydrate hydrate, before, during and after.
5. Just Breathe
Yep darling it’s really that simple. To lower your stress levels and change the channel in an instant all you have to do is breathe deeply. In and out and then repeat. When we are stressed, breathing patterns tend to be constricted and shallow. Simply shifting your breath pattern to a deep belly breath will do wonders. Take it a step further by practicing this quick 4-7-8 breath sequence that literally takes no time.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Use these 5 secrets to quiet your inner-Scrooge, keep calm and stay aligned with your fitness goals while still enjoying yourself this holiday season! The holiday season is full of magic and wonder! With a little preparation, a mindful approach and these easy to follow tips you will be on your way to enjoying every last drop!!
Now go on, share this with someone you love! It’s the gift that will keep on giving.
Love and Lunges