Written by Ann Brennan
We are still two weeks out from Thanksgiving and yet I have already read six articles or posts about holiday weight gain. Yes, I agree holiday weight gain exists. I struggle every year to stay true to my nutrition and exercise goals. But the weight gain is not the only reason to be vigilant. Holiday stress is an even bigger culprit for most of us. So this year I say forget holiday weight gain. Instead focus on relieving holiday stress.
If you do not currently have your workouts penciled into your calendar, do that now. Plan your daily workouts throughout the holiday season to avoid the ever present danger of skipping said workout in order to fit in one more chore.
Unless you have a race planned for December or January, do not make these workouts stressful. Do not aim for times that put undue pressure on yourself. Do not set unreachable goals. And no matter what, do not use these runs to organize your to-do lists. Instead use these workouts to release the stress that builds up on a daily basis throughout the season.
Whether you currently run with a partner or not, consider adding company to your run. This is a great time of year to gather with people you enjoy spending time with because we know that much of the season will mean gathering with people you can only handle seeing once a year.
Watch what you eat. Uh oh, this seems like I have fallen back into the avoid weight gain topic. Not quite. Watch what you eat and avoid foods that make you feel too full, sluggish or just plain unhappy. Having kept a food journal for months I have found a definite correlation between the foods that I eat and my mood. For me the main culprit is sugar. Yours may be fat or protein or food dye.
Sleep, rest, put your feet up or watch some football. The fastest way to find yourself in stress city is to find yourself short on sleep. If you find you cannot get the recommended 8 hours at night, try to power nap, whether in the car before heading into get those last minute gifts or at home before all the in-laws make their way to your house.
Running is a huge gift. Make it your holiday gift to yourself this year by using it to reduce the almost unavoidable stress of the holidays.
What steps do you take to relieve stress during the holiday season?