Healthier Holidays—How to Move & Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays, while fun, joyful, and overflowing with holiday merriment, are often also filled with stress—from managing schedules stacked with holiday events to thinking of and shopping for the perfect gifts to hosting family, seeing friends, cooking, and traveling. . . . Exhale! 

Movement and exercise are great ways to decrease stress, but sometimes it can be challenging to fit it in during the holidays. Our three favorite tips to keep the stress at bay during the holiday season are: 

1)    Don’t sweat your “off days”! 

Missing one day or one week of training to be with your family and relax won’t set you back on your training and performance goals. We all need days off, and that goes for training too. The holidays and physical activity should be a source of stress relief, not a source of guilt and stress . . . so don’t let them become your stressors. Savor your time off. Be present. The kettle bells, yoga mats, and squats will all be waiting for you after you’ve had a moment to connect with family and enjoy the season. 

2)    Get creative and use what’s available.

The holidays can involve a lot of travel and stays in hotels, Airbnbs, and in the homes of family and friends. As much as you wish you could pack your free weights, it’s just not practical. So, even though your favorite routines may not be possible over the holidays, that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. 

For example, exercise bands are a great travel companion, as they don’t take up too much space or weigh down your luggage. Bands add resistance for simple routines that you can do from any hotel or guest room. Additionally, get creative and find things around the house to use for weights: cans of soup, gallons of milk, and a niece or nephew can all act as a weight replacement.

3)    Don’t go it alone. The more the merrier. 

If you’re itching for some physical activity but don’t want to take time away from family or friends, get everyone involved. A group activity is always more fun and creates lasting memories. Go for a walk, take an exercise class, tackle a hike, or go on a bike ride together. When staying active is a priority, doing a small activity with the people you love will likely feel better than sitting idle!