The holiday season is truly upon us. And while it can be one of the happiest times of the year – it can also bring a lot of stress and pressure. Here are some tips on how to stay motivated and keep feeling the benefits of exercise over the holiday break.
During the festive season episodes of anxiety and depression can be heightened by a number of factors – from feeling financial and shopping stress, to dealing with family conflicts, feeling lonely, or managing high expectations about having the ‘perfect’ holiday.
There are a number of things we can do to manage stress during this time – particularly maintaining a regular exercise program. Research shows that exercise is beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety and there is no better time to apply this than during the holidays when you have more free time and opportunity to get active.
But with disrupted routines, it can be hard to get off the couch and get moving. So here are a few tips on how to stay motivated over the next few weeks.
1. Try something different: Your regular exercise class or gym may be closed during the holidays, so why not try something different. Even a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day is enough to be beneficial. Make it fun by listening to some music or download an audiobook to keep you going.
2. Get moving with others: If you’re celebrating the holidays with friends and family, why not get them involved. Or, if you’re on your own, look at joining a local walking or activity group. Going for a bike ride in your local park, doing a bush walk or even playing a game of backyard cricket is a great way to get everyone off their screens and moving.
3. Focus on what you love: Keep your motivation high by planning activities that you enjoy – you don’t need to push yourself, but every bit of activity will deliver benefits. And there’s nothing better than treating yourself with a little reward when you’ve completed your activity for the day.
4. Set a goal but be realistic: During this busy time of the year it can be difficult to fit exercise into your schedule. Planning your schedule ahead of time and making sure you’ve got time for exercise can help to keep you on track. But be realistic about how much you can fit it, and remember, even 10 or 15 minutes of activity is better than nothing at all.
In addition to the benefits of reducing stress and anxiety, maintaining an exercise program over the holidays also means that you will be more motivated when the new year swings around. Even a break of a few weeks can make it hard to find your exercise mojo in January. So, by keeping active you’ll be lapping everyone on the couch and setting yourself up for success in the year ahead.