The last few months of the year can be challenging for many reasons. If it’s not the hustle and bustle of shopping, visiting with relatives, or dealing with emotional stressors that often arise, it’s the constant temptation to overindulge. From Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day, many will fall victim to the greater pull of holiday pleasures, and unnecessarily ditch their exercise routines and healthy diets.
While it isn’t a crime to enjoy a little extra food and drink during the holidays, the problem arises when these temporary indulgences turn into permanent behaviors.
The following suggestions can help keep your habits healthy during the holiday season.
Seek guilt-free instant gratification
Some people look forward to the season of bourbon and eggnog. However, while it might seem like an instant stress reliever during the busy months, too much of this holiday concoction does more harm than good. Instead, try doing a round of sun salutations or take a time-out to stretch and breathe for a few minutes. Doing so will bring you more gratification, give you more energy, and calm your nerves so you can skate through this hectic time of year with ease.
Balance your intake with your output
You don’t have to deprive yourself of once-a-year treats such as pumpkin pie, or peppermint candy canes. But to keep from making it a habit, maintain a clear count of your caloric intake, and adjust your expenditure accordingly.
For example, an hour of vinyasa yoga or Pilates burns approximately three to four hundred calories, which is about the equivalent to one slice of pie (without the ice cream!) Did you go to class today? Great! You can guiltlessly eat the pie. Did you skip class today? Hmm… When you look at it in terms of a fair trade, you’ll be less likely to create the habit of overeating and under-exercising.
Savor the sweetness of life
Why do most people feel so satisfied after yoga? You will find the answer at the end of class (hint: relaxation time!) I guarantee you won’t find a sweeter treat than that.
If you can’t make it to the studio, before you go to bed at night, take a few moments to lie on your back and reflect upon the day’s activities. If you indulged in something decadent, don’t feel guilty about it. Instead, savor the memory and feel grateful for the opportunity. Having an appreciation for guilty pleasures reduces our anxiety about them. Less anxiety means we can make better decisions and enjoy the holiday cheer in moderation, instead of in excess.