I don’t know about you, but right after Halloween, I start to hear Christmas music and ads for Thanksgiving turkeys and I both have a feeling of excitement and dread in the pit of my stomach. My excitement is because there are so many fun things to do during the holidays. I get to see my friends and family, there are community events, we have an Island cookie swap, a school play, and parties as well. All of these are really fun events, but unfortunately, my other responsibilities don’t disappear.
In years past, the holidays would mean eating all sorts of food that I wouldn’t normally choose to eat, and it would mean an extra 5-10 lbs of weight, and feeling like I was in a bloated stupor by the New Year. Several years ago I turned that pattern into a distant memory and I am going to teach you a few tools so that you too can get through the holidays and into the New Year with a renewed sense of energy. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
- Nutrition and Activity
First, good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
- A balanced diet will help keep your blood sugar even throughout the day so you can avoid times of depressed energy and emotion.
- Processed foods are full of salt, sugar and fat which weigh you down and deplete the body of energy. So cook at home whenever you can.
- Activity: keeps your blood pumping and your metabolism high.
In order to keep energy even and constant, carbohydrate, protein and fat need to be a component of each meal. This will help your body perform optimally during a busy time of year.
Physical activity has a myriad of benefits including reducing stress, helping us sleep better, and keeping our metabolism on track.
Fifteen minutes of heart pounding activity per day is really the base minimum for daily activity. But we are all really busy at this time of year, so if we can fit this 15 minutes in we are doing good and we won’t get as out of shape as if we did nothing at all. Try the Tabata workout method. It is a highly intense workout routine, 15 minutes of this workout is equal to an hour of aerobics at medium pace. Run around in the back yard with your children, fit family time in with workout time. Take a walk with a friend to catch up while you get your heart rate up.
During this hectic time of year, keeping to a physical activity routine will help keep your energy up and metabolism high.
Everyone is an individual, depending on your activity level and your natural need for sleep, you may need anywhere from 6 hours to 10 hours of sleep per night. If you need more, take care of yourself and get the sleep you need. You will be more productive because of it. If you awaking in the middle of the night and not able to get right back to sleep, then you will want to find the root of the problem and see if you can make adjustments to prevent disruption in your sleep.
Benefits of Sleep:
- Healthy skin
- Better mood
- Improved memory
- Healthy weight
- Lower stress
- Better productivity
Another way to get rest is through 5-10 minutes of seated or movement meditation. A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of meditation. I am not an expert meditator who sits for hours in one place, but I do find a regular practice of giving my mind a break from all of life’s chatter rejuvenating. And I can focus better on the work I need to get done. I find just these few minutes of mind rest allows me take on my daily challenges with more energy and greater focus.
Scientific studies prove both the emotional and physical benefits of meditation including reducing anxiety and stress, improving cardiovascular health, and gastrointestinal health. The primary goal of meditation as I am recommending it, is to quiet your mind and give yourself a break from your own constant inner voice chattering at you. You can combine your workout with meditation by concentrating on your breath and your movement and whenever thoughts of your day or troubles on your mind come up, you just gently push them away, bringing your thoughts back to the present and your breath.
The holidays create a great deal of stress. Good planning can help you to manage the day to day and incorporate a ton of fun with family and friends. I recommend that you emphasize quality over quantity. Using a daily planner helps because you can put all of your appointments in but you can also list tasks you need to complete and check them off as you accomplish them. What a great feeling when you get to check a task off. If you are unable to finish a task just transfer it to the next day. Any and all tasks no matter how small should go on your planner so that you can see how much you got done each day, prioritize the important stuff and don’t sweat the small stuff.
As invitations for events come in, prioritize the events that are meaningful to you and your family. Send a kind note to the host of the events you can’t attend. You will enjoy the special times more if you aren’t overwhelmed with social events.
As you are filling out your daily planner don’t forget to work in time for activity and home cooking so that you can stay at the top of your game throughout the season.
As the holiday season is upon us, take the time to prioritize and plan. Make nutrition and activity, rest, and planning priorities and you will have stamina through the new year and enter 2014 with a renewed sense of energy.
Tara Hire is a busy person who has to plan and prioritize her healthy lifestyle. She can help you do the same. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org