How To Have Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

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Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

Photo is of our dog Hoppy and courtesy of Happy Tails in Montara.  It was taken after Hoppy’s grooming appointment! 

 

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  However, with parties to attend, gifts to buy, and a longer than normal to do list, the real meaning of this season can sometimes get lost.

Fortunately, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating the holiday season.  You get to decide how much you want to commit to.  Just like your fitness program, how you decide to spend the holiday season is totally up to you.

Here are seven helpful tips to help you enjoy a fun, meaningful, and stress-free holiday season.

1. Plan Ahead.

One of the best ways to avoid stress during the holidays is to  plan ahead. Take a moment to”mind dump” and list everything that is on your plate, such as gift shopping, Christmas parties and recipes to make. When you’re done, schedule important dates on your calendar  to make sure you remember your special events. Mental notes are a great place to start, however getting them all down on paper will give you a chance to prioritize what’s most important to you.

2. Don’t try to go at it alone.

Ask for help.  Allow each member of the family or your friends to pitch in. Need help cooking? Maybe your partner can help you out. If you don’t like wrapping presents, find someone in your family who sees it as therapeutic instead of overwhelming.  I’m more of a savory cook than a baker, so making sweets is out of my comfort zone.  However, my Uncle Paul loves to bake pies so we let him take care of dessert.

3. It’s OK to Say ‘No.’

Over-committing and over-scheduling can happen more often during the holiday season. It can be hard to say ‘no,’ because you don’t want to miss out on all of the fun or may feel obligated to say yes. However, over scheduling can lead to anxiety and stress. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ People will understand that this is a busy time of the year and you can’t do it all.

4. Prioritize Time To take care of yourself.

Just because the holiday season is all about giving, it doesn’t mean you should let your own needs fall to the side. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do the things that help you to recharge.  For me, the daily hike with our dogs is exercise and therapy so I make sure that I set aside time each day to take them out.

5.  Set a Budget.

While you probably won’t see those holiday credit card statements until January, you may still feel the stress while checking out at the register.  Spending more money than your budget allows can make you feel less like Santa and more like the Grinch.  Remember that it’s the thought that counts.  Most people care more that you remembered them than they do about receiving a pricey gift.  A heartfelt note or handmade gift can leave a lasting impression on someone’s heart.

 

6. Focus on What’s Important.

One of the biggest causes of stress over the holidays is the desire to create the “picture perfect” setting. Remember that it is OK if things don’t go according to the plan. Don’t worry about the burnt cookies or that little disagreement between two of your relatives. Let go of expectations and focus on  the reason for the season.

7.  Be flexible.

It’s important to plan, however I recommend allowing yourself the flexibility to be spontaneous and savor precious moments.  The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed so give yourself permission to take advantage of last minute outings, ideas, or visits that can lead to forever memories.

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

 

Seven Ways To Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Holiday Season

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Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing and with it comes extra activities that can fill up your calendar and interrupt your normal exercise routine.  I’m someone that craves exercise daily because it helps me feel energized, creative, and positive.  If I take too much time off from some form of physical activity then I start to feel kind of blah.  Our bodies like to move!

Different seasons can require us to reprioritize how we are going to spend our precious time.  I believe it’s important to be flexible and to allow yourself to skip a workout during the holiday season without feeling guilty about it.  Creating beautiful memories that you can hold onto forever is just as important to your overall health and wellness as exercise. Time is something we can never get back.

If you find yourself short on time and needing to skip your normal exercise routine, here are  a few clever ways you can get your body moving during the holiday season.

 

Seven Easy Ways to Exercise During the Holidays

1)  Shopping.  Walking while you shop is a great way to exercise during the holidays. To get the most out of a shopping trip, try taking breaks and bringing your packages back to the car in between stores.  Shop your main streets while supporting the small businesses or take several trips walking around your local mall.

2)  Baking. Standing burns more calories than sitting, so working in the kitchen counts.  Turn on some fun music and get a little dancing in while you’re at it.

3)  Deck the halls. Hauling boxes out of storage and putting up decorations indoors and outdoors is a great way to get festive while logging your exercise minutes for the day.

4)  Cleaning.  Cleaning house counts as lifestyle exercise. Turn on some of your favorite holiday music and keep a steady pace going to maximize your caloric burn. Just don’t forget to take water breaks.

5)  Get some fresh air. Step outside and go for a walk.  Even if it’s just a short one.

Invite family and friends to join you for outdoor activities. This will help you combine family and/or social time with exercise. Don’t be afraid to go solo if you don’t have any takers. Recreation alone can be used as relaxing time you spend on your own.

6)  Take advantage of seasonal weather.  Fun in the snow isn’t just for down hill skiers. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, walking, sledding, ice skating, and hiking, are all examples of ways you can have fun in the snow while getting your exercise.

7)  Your mother was right.  Seriously, standing up straight burns more calories than slouching. For an extra workout try keeping your stomach muscles tight while standing. Take advantage of moments like waiting in line or standing at a cocktail party to work those stomach muscles.

This holiday season I recommend you take the pressure off of yourself to “do it all” and focus on having fun and staying healthy. Shoot for 20- 30 minutes of exercise per day total. Every minute and all types of exercise counts at the end of the week. Studies have actually shown that people that took 3 ten minute walks per day showed an improvement in blood pressure because they were moving more often throughout the day.

The more you move throughout the day, the more you benefit. Do your best to take advantage of every opportunity you get to move your body. Whether it’s part of a formal exercise routine, or something like shoveling snow in your front driveway.

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

 

One Simple Diet Tip For The Holidays

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Happy Thanksgiving from Personal Trainer & Lifestyle Coach Jennifer Ledford!

One Simple Diet Tip For The Holidays

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is a day to celebrate how grateful we are for the blessings in our lives.  One of the ways we celebrate our thanks is to enjoy a meal with family and/or friends.

For the diet industry, this season has become a time to capitalize on selling “guilt free” holiday eating tips to the public.  Talk about a total buzz kill.

First off, guilt should never be associated with food ever.  While the diet industry might mean well, research continues to prove that diets cause more harm than good, and more stress than pleasure.  So why on earth, should any of us want to go into diet mode during the holiday season?

I can give you a list of reasons why I recommend you avoid dieting during the holidays and every day of your life.  However, in an effort to keep this blog post short, (some of you may be busy and/or traveling this week), I’m offering one simple tip when it comes to the holidays and food.  Enjoy yourself. 

I’m not suggesting you completely disregard self control.  That might actually make you feel kind of yucky.  What I am suggesting is that you enjoy yourself and enter into this holiday season with a sense of peace around food.  Whether you are celebrating in a large group or spending the holidays quietly at home, allow yourself to have fun, give thanks, and taste all that the season has to offer.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

With Love,

Jennifer