The holiday season is nearly upon us. For many people, it can be a time of elevated stress from the near-constant parade of parties, holiday shopping, family get-togethers, and travel. We’re also more likely to dump our healthy good intentions when it comes to food choices and exercising (who can resist that extra slice of pumpkin pie!). That’s why it’s so important to put extra focus on both your physical and mental health now instead of waiting to start your New Year’s resolutions on January 1st. Luckily, fitness expert, celebrity trainer and Vionic Innovation Lab member Juliet Kaska is here to offer a few helpful tips to get you through the holidays feeling your best.
1. Take YOU Time
Tis the season of giving, but it is important to be giving to yourself as well. Every day, take a few minutes for YOU. Here's how:
- Take a power walk (without your phone). Just get out there and clear your head, breathe deep and relax. It's cold, so walk briskly to stay warm and burn off some of the angst that creeps in this time of year. Breath-walking is a great technique for active meditation while getting a walk in. Learn more about breath-walking from Dr. Jim Nicolai.
- Draw a restorative bath with Epsom salts and cue up a relaxing playlist. Again, leave the phone in the other room, or put it on airplane mode so you won’t be disturbed.
- Take 5-12 minutes for meditation. Sit with your eyes closed and count your breath, starting with 5 counts in and 5 counts out, evenly increasing the counts as you progress. Once again, turn your phone on airplane mode and set your timer with a pleasant chime to come out of your meditation, or download the free app "Insight Timer" which sounds a Basu bell at the end of your "You Time."
2. Lettuce Before Guilt
It is almost inevitable that you will be indulging over the holidays. And subsequently the guilt will follow. Get ahead of that guilt and fill up on the good stuff before beginning any heavy meal. Before any entree, order a salad. Make sure this salad is full of lettuce, not cheese, croutons and other fillers. Use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as your dressing and leave the creamy stuff off.
3. Resolve Early
You know it's coming: The New Year’s Resolution! So find that resolve early. Decide to wake up on January 1st, 2017 healthy and wearing the same size clothing you are today. Then spend every day between now and the first of the year envisioning yourself happy and healthy.
4. Sparkle Your Spirits
Along with all the holiday parties and festive dinners comes the excess consumption of spirits. I am not going to tell you to not have a little merriment, but be smart about it. Either commit to only having one drink and then switching to sparkling water, or switch your holiday beverage of choice to a wine spritzer: half a glass of wine and half a glass of sparkling water – halve the sugar and calories either way you sip it!
5. Core Aware
Every day, try and stay aware of your core muscles. Keep your abs drawn in as you walk, sit and drive. Keep your back extended long and tall to activate the backside of your core. Just the act of being aware of these muscles will help to keep them toned as you buzz from activity to activity. A toned core will make you stand tall, giving you good posture. And good posture gives an illusion of a smaller waistline – even if a little holiday cheer has caught up with you!
6. The Garland Workout
We usually set aside a block of time for our workout. Maybe it's 20 minutes a day, maybe it's 90 minutes a day. This can become challenging during the holidays while we're trying to squeeze in additional social commitments. A solution to this is to separate your workout into pieces. If you usually work out for 30 minutes, make it three 10-minute workouts throughout the day instead. This might include a 10-minute morning walk while doing bicep curls and lateral shoulder raises every other minute. Then at your lunch time, do 10 minutes of leg exercises: walking lunges, squats and plies. Before bed, do a third 10-minute segment of abs and stretches. This may not be as intense as your 45-minute Zumba class but is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing at all.