Stay Merry, Stress Less, Enjoy the Holidays

Stay Merry, Stress Less, Enjoy the Holidays

By: SARAH TILLER

The holidays are a time filled with family, fun and festivities. However, the Christmas fun also comes with a lot of stress, whether it’s from the packed malls with ruthless customers or that annoying Aunt Peggy who won’t stop criticizing your casserole. It is important for everyone’s sanity and health to remain as stress-free as possible. Check this list, check it twice, and you can be sure to stay calm whether you have been naughty or nice.


Santa doesn’t work out, why should I?


One of the biggest excuses people make during the holidays is the usual, “Oh its Christmas, I can just eat whatever I want and make a New Year’s Resolution to work out every day for three hours” statement. It’s the most common thought during the holidays when life is busy and desserts are abundant. However, remaining active during the holidays is one of the simplest and best ways to relieve stress. Nate Menkin, senior offensive lineman for the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and Lineman of the Year for 2011, suggests circuit training with sets that hit every muscle group and 15 minutes of light cardio to finish it up. If you don’t have a gym membership or are on a time crunch, Menkin suggests running while incorporating lunges, squat jumps, and push-ups. No time at all for working out? Incorporate as much exercise as possible in fun, creative ways to stay in shape and enjoy yourself. Take a few laps around the mall while you’re shopping, play with the little cousins visiting from out of state, or get a few friends together to go ice skating.


Not too naughty, not too nice


Nothing is more stressful during the holidays than watching what you eat. So go ahead, indulge yourself! Get that gingerbread latte or peppermint mocha, but do so in moderation. Hold the whipped cream and opt for a smaller size. Don’t be afraid to sneak a few extra licks of the cake batter or have a sampling of grandma’s special Christmas cookies. Just remember to control portion sizes. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and eat what you want. The American Council on Exercise says to avoid deprivation. Allow yourself one small serving of your favorite treat and be as mindful as possible as you savor the appearance, taste and aroma of whatever it is that you are eating. You will be less frazzled because you will be satisfied without the guilt that overindulgence brings.
 
Rudolph the relaxed reindeer


What do you think Rudolph and company are doing the other 364 days of the year when they aren’t helping Santa deliver presents? Probably munching on their favorite foods, getting some quality exercise in, and most definitely taking time for some blissful relaxation. Take a few pointers from the reindeer, and make it a point to take breaks. Dustin Mills, a personal trainer at Snap Fitness, notes that time is short during the holidays because of family events, so it’s important to find a few moments for yourself. “For example, what I like to do to relax is to watch football and take a hot bath to finish off a long day,” says Mills. Unwind from stress by doing what you love. Schedule in some alone time, grab a couple of yoga or Pilates videos from your local library, go for a walk, or pop in your favorite movie. Take some time out every day to do what relaxes you the most.


Don’t let stress rob you of the joy of the season. Eat your favorite holiday cookies, squeeze in some light exercise, relax and be merry. Happy Holidays!

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Fitness, Your Lifestyle, Your Nutrition

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