HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE

December 1, 2023

Ashley Cathers

Read to discover ways to keep small promises to yourself during the holiday season to be set up to thrive for 2024!

The holidays are here whether we are ready for them or not! Personally, I love this time of year – the general feeling of merriment, spending time with your given and/or chosen families, and the anticipation of all the celebrations to come. Regardless of your feelings toward this time of year, I think we can all agree that, no matter what or how you celebrate, schedules get filled fast and it becomes harder and harder to stay disciplined in your movement and wellness goals.

How many of us have taken a hit in our workout schedules because of how dark the days are? How many of us have gone back for that second helping of food or slice of pie or cookie because “it’s the holidays” and “sugar doesn’t count on the holidays.” How many of us are catching ourselves putting off to tomorrow what we could be doing today?

Now, I’m not here to ever shame anyone for any choice they make for their well being during the holidays – I will be the first of us to admit I have fallen victim to every single one of those probing questions, and on more than one occasion. I ask these questions more so to get us thinking, get us introspecting, about how we are taking care of ourselves during this wonderfully, albeit exhaustingly, busy time of year.

So how do we make time to keep moving this season when our schedules keep getting filled to the brim? How do we make time to take care of ourselves, protecting our mental sanity as well as our physical sanity?

At the risk of sounding cheesy, it really is as simple as making and keeping small promises to ourselves – making it a priority to set aside just 30 minutes a day for movement, meditation, creative time, or whatever your heart desires for you to feel good this season!

But if I were to suggest just one thing to focus on, one promise to keep with the greatest overall impact, it would be incorporating movement into your daily routine. This movement can be as simple as a 30min walk, 30min mobility session, or 30min of gentle yoga stretches (further down in this blog, I will link my favorite quick movement YouTube videos for you to check out!).

Movement, as I’m sure everyone has heard more times than they can count, is essential to your wellbeing no matter what time of year it is, but I would argue it’s even more important during the colder months.

Without getting into the nitty gritty science of movement and how it impacts the body on a cellular level, what you need to know is that movement helps your body cope with the shortening days, helps your body process blood sugar spikes, and helps your mind and body stay connected and able to support you throughout the holiday season.

And! Not only do you have all of these physiological benefits of movement, but the psychological boost – or “high” for lack of a better word – you get from keeping those small promises to yourself, no matter what they are, is arguably more powerful than any sugar rush.

Before I leave you with a head swimming of all of these ideas of which promises to make yourself, I’ll help you shorten the list with some of my favorite, attainable promises (including more than just movement ideas), that you can choose from so you can get that mind and body “high” all season long!

Best advice – pick anywhere from 1-3 of these promises to start with:

  • Take your walk after dinner – especially if it’s a big meal
  • Set aside an extra 30min in your day to take that morning or evening walk around the block. If it’s an evening walk, might I suggest not taking your shoes off when you get home – don’t give yourself the chance to get comfortable on the couch! – you’ll thank me later 🙂
  • Perform this mobility sequence before you get ready for the day: (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N3puHHX5yFY&pp=ygUaQ2FsdW0gd2F0c29uIG1vYmlsaXR5IGZsb3c%3D)
  • Perform this calming yoga sequence before bed for the best sleep of your life (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qEdmNNXUTwk )
  • Before or during your first cup of coffee, spend 10min breathing or meditating (some examples of my favorite guided breathing videos listed below)
    • https://m.youtube.com/watch? v=LiUnFJ8P4gM&pp=ygUmMTAgbWludXRlIGd1aWRlZCBicmVhdGhpbmcgbWVkaXRhdGlvbiA%3D
    • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aXItOY0sLRY
  • Hit your protein goals every meal! (This will help with those sugar cravings)
  • 10 minutes of reading or listening to a podcast at the beginning or end of your day – just try to stay off your phone! (I.e. read a physical book, a kindle, or turn on your podcast then walk away from the phone!)
  • Daily gratitude practice! I suggest writing 3 things you are grateful for at the beginning or end of each day!
  • Choose kindness! Be kind to one another, especially to yourself.

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