It’s been a very big year for most of us as we’ve stretched (and sometimes overstretched) ourselves to get ‘back to normal life’ after lockdowns. It’s required a lot of physical and mental energy, especially towards the tail-end of the year.
If sticking to a health routine over the holidays is feeling overwhelming because you have nothing left in the tank, you’re not alone. Instead of stressing about your fitness and diet over the recent Christmas holidays, use the days off to do a wellness reset instead. This is what Sam Merza, qualified PT and National Fitness Manager from Genesis Health + Fitness recommends.
“Use the holidays to do a wellness reset – it’s not about detoxing or intense workouts or calorie counting – it’s about focusing on yourself and what’s important and using any spare time you have to give your mind and body what it needs right now.”says Sam.
“Most of these reset activities are very simple to do but have very powerful effects.”
1. Drink the good stuff
Your water intake is one of the simplest yet most powerful things you can control over the holidays as it assists you both physically and mentally. Start with a glass of water first thing in the morning. Drink two or three glasses between meals and carry a water bottle with you throughout the day so you have easy access.
2. Breathe deeply
Focusing on your breath in a conscious and purposeful way has the power to change your physical, mental and emotional state. It’s best to head outside in the fresh air to do this. Find a quiet space and dedicate at least three mins to focusing on deep breathing. The simplest way to do this is to breathe deeply into your belly, hold for three seconds, release slowly and then repeat a couple of times. If you need some guidance to help you focus, download a free deep breathing/breathwork app – there are plenty out there that will guide you through a short breath exercise.
3. Keep on moving
This is not the time to throw yourself into a new, intense form of exercise but it certainly is a great time to keep moving. It doesn’t have to be for a set time or a ‘formal’ type of exercise. A leisurely walk after dinner, a stretch on the floor while you’re watching a movie, a dance in the loungeroom or a game of footy played with the kids at the park are perfect activities. Do something different purely for the fun of it and have a laugh while you’re at – laughter is a great outlet and lowers your stress hormones.
4. Write down three goals.
The holidays are a great time to decide what you really want to get out of the year ahead. Do you want to make a change to your fitness? Improve your day-to-day eating? Do you want to start dedicating more time to yourself or finally get to that Reformer Pilates class? Whatever it is you want to achieve, write down the top three and stick it on your fridge. Under each one, write down one simple thing you can do during the holidays to step you in the right direction.
5. Surround yourself with stuff you love.
Nothing works better than a bit of positive distraction and some ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. Turn up the music you love, hang out with your bestie or furry friend, watch your all-time favourite comedy movie or pick up an inspiring book.
6. Remove something from the to-do list.
It’s time to lighten the load. Try to streamline your must-do activities over the holidays and if it’s not essential, perhaps consider removing it from the list or asking for help. This can include workload, family obligations and social functions. Pare back the activities that aren’t as important.
7. Get a good night’s sleep.
Resist the urge to continually stay up late or linger in bed in the morning getting your online shopping sorted. In fact, keep devices out of the bedroom if you can. A few early nights to bed can do wonders. An early bedtime works better for your body than going to be late and sleeping in because it better aligns with your circadian rhythm.
8. Be conscious of your input.
Your health and wellness involve more than just the food you put in your mouth and the exercise you do. It’s the podcasts you listen to, the movies you watch, the social media accounts you follow and the articles you choose to click on. It’s also the people you give your time to. Try to be mindful of your choices over the holidays and reflect on the intentions you want to set for the new year, because these inputs really do influence your state of mind and, as a result, your health.