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People inherently like to start things on milestones. That’s what makes January 1 such a popular date to attempt to change behaviors. We love arbitrary dates like the first of the year, month, or week. How many times have you eaten a dessert on Thursday and thought, “Oh screw it, I’ll get back on my diet Monday.”
These are the subtle mental games we play that result in us being less active and healthy than we want. This “all or nothing” mentality can be seriously debilitating. And this late in the year, it’s especially easy to let yourself slip and not recover until next year.
The benefit of finishing the year healthy
Thanksgiving can start an incredibly slippery slope if we’re not cautious. A little overconsumption on T-day leads to thoughts of how the holiday season really isn’t the greatest time to try and exercise or eat healthy anyway. But today and every day of the holiday season is the best time to be healthy; here’s why.
You’ll Stay Happier
Ever heard the saying, “when you look good, you feel good”? I think that’s true. But what I think is more accurate is “if you feel good, you do good.” When you’re clicking on all cylinders and sleeping well, exercising, and eating lots of nutritious food, you tend to be happier and more kind towards others. And if you’re not blessed with an amazing family like I am, you might need a bit more grace towards others during the holidays.
When you’re eating garbage, and you feel tired and cranky, that’s when you end up snapping at Uncle Bob for bringing up the election results for the fourth time. If you feel better, you’re more inclined to redirect the conversation and do it with a smile.
Creativity Will Shine
Studies have shown that walking can boost creativity by up to 60% over sitting. By stimulating your body with activity, you also begin to stimulate your mind to work in different and more powerful ways. The holidays are a time that inspires great creativity, whether it’s doing crafts with family or thinking about ways to give back to your community. So keeping your body moving during this time is one of the best ways to serve not only you but also others.
You Can Serve As The Example
I think we all need role models and people to look up to, whether in business, health, or just generally being a great person. By putting your health first during a time where people traditionally let themselves go, who knows the impact you can have on those around you. You might be shocked by how many people are taking note of your steadfastness and use it as a beacon to make a bit more effort themselves.
What can I do to stay fit during the holidays?
- Put your health first – This is the absolute most critical piece of the whole fitness and healthy living puzzle. YOU DESERVE TO FEEL HEALTHY AND WELL. And that means making time for it. Yes, there are tons of obligations during the holidays, but you need to schedule time for workouts, adequate sleep, and cooking healthy meals. If you don’t feel your best, your commitments are going to suffer.
- Institute a daily family walk – Getting your family involved in activity is beneficial for everyone. It can also lead to open conversation, assuming you walk sans phones.
- Think of each meal as an island – Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to healthy eating. If you splurge on a dessert at a holiday party, accept it, and look to get back to your regular eating habits at the next meal. Where people tend to find trouble is when one dessert leads to eating dessert at every meal.
- Stay hydrated – When the weather is cold, it can be so easy to forget to drink water. Being adequately hydrated can lead to more energy and clearer thinking, which you’ll definitely need right now!
- Keep up a positive mindset – The short days can make it much harder to find time to do all the things we need to do. Give yourself grace if you make a decision that’s less than stellar. NOBODY is perfect 100% of the time. And who would want to be? Make sure to enjoy the season and indulge a few times, but remember that no single action or inaction is detrimental to your overall health.
Remember that when it comes to health and wellness, a little bit is better than nothing at all. So if you’re short on time, just commit to doing a little bit: a 1-minute plank, five push-ups, a 3-minute walk. It all adds up. And ultimately, behavior change and finding your version of healthy happens one tiny step at a time.
Do you have ideas for how to stay healthy during the holidays? Tell me about it in the comments!
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