Tips for Navigating the Stress of the Holiday Season
Now that the holidays are on the horizon, everyone faces a little more stress, anxiety, holiday cookies, and seemingly less time to do anything that involves self-care.
As a Los Angeles personal trainer, I am not immune to the stressors that come with the holidays. I am just like you. I must balance work, holiday parties, kids’ programs, travel, and the never-ending challenges that come with the next six to eight weeks of “celebrating.”
For me, this typically means fewer hours in the gym, less sleep, and one too many donuts.
Here are a few ways I get through the holiday season and focus on the real reward of getting to spend more time with my family, and those we do not get to spend enough time with throughout the rest of the year.
Realize Your Unique Holiday Challenges & Embrace Them
Once Halloween passes, there is no denying it: the holiday season is here. The calendar, decorations, and a completely full calendar are proof that things are going to get hectic. And fast.
This means fewer trips to the gym. Less time to squeeze in a run. More meals on the go. And mounds and mounds of sugar. This is when I remind myself that time with friends and family is fleeting, and I need to embrace it.
This also means finding different energy outlets that allow me to keep my emotional, physical, and mental health in check. How that manifests will be different for everyone, so be sure to look for ways to keep stress at bay, so you are actually enjoying the holiday season.
The next few weeks are going to be very different for all of us. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Use Your Brain, Then Turn it Off.
If you are anything like me, there are days during the holiday season when the most exercise you get is getting in and out of your car, running errands, and carrying things in and out of other people’s homes.
For those of you who are used to working out to relieve stress — or to check out for a bit and reset — you may have to find an alternative outlet. This is especially true if you are visiting family, and everyone is focusing on spending time together. Consider taking a few minutes to meditate or stretch in your room before heading into the day (or if there is time for a break throughout the day).
You can also ask if anyone would like to go for a walk, so everyone feels included — but has the option to decline if they prefer to stay in. This is important, because others who do not share your appreciation for a good workout may feel shamed by your insisting on taking a run or finding a nearby gym. Others may feel as though you are purposefully trying to “get away” from everyone. Now is not the time to make things more stressful. You know your friends and family better than I do. Some families like to hike together. Others do not. Both are okay.
If things are particularly hectic, and there is no “me” time on the docket, take some time to read, enjoy word puzzles, or work a crossword puzzle before you go to bed. It will take your mind off the day and allow you to reset.
Holidays should be consumed on a day-to-day basis. Do not take the stress from the previous day into the following. It will only allow the days to collectively overwhelm you.
Today is a new day. Slay it.
Find 30 Minutes, Then Make It Your Own.
During the holidays, usually the first thing to go is the gym. After all, it takes time to get there, get warmed up, work out, cool down, shower, then get back to your regular routine. This is especially true when other people are counting on you to be somewhere else.
So, what do you do when you need exercise to help keep you sane, but can’t make it to the gym? You bring the workout with you.
Find the 30 minutes you need by surveying your calendar (or even the day ahead) closely and squeezing in a workout. This could mean getting up earlier than everyone else each day, and never mentioning it to another person.
Whether you are at a hotel, a family member’s house, or on a friend’s couch for the holidays, staying motivated — even when you don’t feel motivated — is important to boost your mental health with exercise, so the holidays do not get the best of you.
The good news is, the all-important “me” time that quickly vanishes during the holiday months can be recouped from anywhere, and in a short session. Lastly, I always say, when you’re traveling or when life gets a little too stressful, it’s important to reframe your focus. Focus on maintaining your fitness, not necessarily improving it.
Safely and effectively customize your workouts from anywhere by signing up for our Train With Danny fitness app for a 7-day free trial. If you prefer to work directly with our personal trainer in Los Angeles County, or would like to take a hybrid approach to wellness, contact Train With Danny to learn more about the transformative benefits of focused workouts that produce results. Happy Holiday season, everyone! Let’s do this!