Something interesting happens during the holiday season, every holiday season. It’s something that every busy family goes through. We somehow decide that our usual schedules are not full enough, so we pile as many additional things onto our plates as possible. We volunteer. We host a party. We help plan another party. We cook for the potluck. We shuttle out-of-town family members back and forth to the airport. And much, much more. When we reach the thick of the season somehow we’re shocked by how stressed, exhausted, or overwhelmed we feel. All of this can make it difficult to stay active during the busy holiday season.
During the holidays, do you tend to push aside your normal family routines? Despite all the hustling and bustling, you may find that in addition to your eating habits, your physical activity is also way off track. And we’re not the only ones that feel it. The kids feel it too. Perhaps they’re more prone to staying indoors on their holiday breaks, vegged out in front of the television or engrossed in a new game they received as a gift. The added stress we experience during the holidays makes it even more critical to stick with an exercise plan. Read the tips here to help you stick to your wellness routines and stay active during the holidays.
How to Stay Active During the Busy Holiday Season
1. Get a workout partner.
We often seek out accountability partners in other areas of our lives, so this should be no surprise. Having a regular workout partner is a very effective way to stay on track with your exercise routine. A workout partner will help you remain accountable, so you’re more likely to stay with your routine. Whether this is a family member or a friend, working out with a partner is more fun! You will look forward to connecting with someone who has a shared goal as you help each to stay on track during the busy holiday season.
2. Get active with the whole family.
The holidays naturally set the stage for more time with family. Most people just give up and don’t try to stay active during the holidays because they think they’ll be missing out on family time. But instead of sacrificing exercise time for family time, combine them! The holidays can be the perfect time to get your family on board with your enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle and physical activity. What better way to spend quality time than to engage in health-promoting activities with the whole family? Here are a few activities that everyone can engage in:
- Going a long walk
- Going to the park
- Playing tag
- A friendly game of kickball in the back yard
- A traditional snowball fight
Not only will you build wonderful memories, but you will instill in the family that the family’s health and connection is a top priority.
3. Re-arrange your routine, but don’t stop.
The season may leave you feeling like you simply don’t have time to hit the gym, attend yoga class, or go for your usual daily jog. But instead of stopping your activities altogether, look for ways to fit them in around the holiday gatherings and shopping. It’s easy to stay active during the busy holiday season with a little creative planning! Switch your evening workout at the gym for a 30-minute workout at home before heading off to work. Or you may work out on different days of the week. Instead of weekend workouts, you may slip some time in during the week. If you’re travelling, bring a yoga mat and some light weights to ensure you can still move your body even if you’re out of your usual environment.
4. Decorate and clean your home.
Why wait for Spring? The holidays can be a wonderful time to do some deep cleaning around the home. Decorating your home is also a great way to burn some extra calories as you walk, bend, life, squat, and stretch. These movements are great for your body and can be a great way to prevent from falling into the trap of being sedentary during the holidays. You’re checking multiple things off your list as you clean and decorate – as you’ll get in some activity too!
5. Participate in a holiday race.
It may not seem like the time of year for a race, but there are dozens of holiday-themed fun runs and marathons this time of year. Signing up for a race can also be a great way to stay accountable to your goals for physical activity as you train in preparation for the race. In addition to getting you into a healthy mindset during the holidays, marathons are also a great way to develop bonds with family and friends as you train and run together. The event itself will be a natural high that leaves you energized and healthy!
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Expert, and Health Educator. She creates impactful, evidence-based health and wellness content and programs for individuals, families, and communities.