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Family Lifestyle Wellness

12 Ways To Not Just Survive But THRIVE During The Holidays!

Erica Pagano

Do you find yourself stressing about whether you can prioritize health and fitness during the holiday season? Don’t stress! Let’s instead shift our focus on 12 things you can do to help you not just survive but THRIVE during this very busy time. 

On the first day of Christmas, my true self gave to me….
Time to exercise and get my body moving. We have all heard it time and time again that any way you can get your body moving will not only help you physically, but also mentally. Exercise releases serotonin, the happy hormone, which can really boost your mood and also help you focus better. So make it a point daily during the start of the holiday season to get moving and involve your family members too! It will create bonding time and memories you will surely never forget! 

On the second day of Christmas, my true self gave to me...
The ability to say no. When something does not benefit you and will only bring you additional stress, you need to learn to say NO. Sometimes during the holidays we can get too wrapped up in the “season of giving” and overextend ourselves. It’s okay to not say YES. And it’s also okay to ask for help! 

On the third day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
Positive affirmations. I don’t know about you but the holidays can bring me to a very somber and depressed state because my family lives so far away and we can’t always come together. It is super easy to let negative thoughts creep into our minds and steer us on a very dark path. Saying positive affirmations to ourselves might seem silly, but can become a very powerful tool in helping to shift your mindset. Being positive doesn’t mean that every day is going to be wonderful, it means you are choosing to handle the bad days with positivity instead of negativity. 

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me…
The celebration of non scale victories that will keep you motivated long term. Only focusing on what the scale tells you will set you up for disappointment on your health and fitness journey. You must learn and remind yourself constantly that the scale is not reflective of everything changing in your body. Celebrate non scale victories such as having the self-control to stick to healthier portion sizes, increasing your weights while strength training which helps build more muscle so you can burn more fat, no longer feeling back pain because you have strengthened your core, etc. And instead of rewarding yourself with food only, buy yourself a new workout outfit instead because you earned it!!! 

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me…
Moderation, not deprivation. When you allow yourself to enjoy those family holiday traditions or recipes in moderation instead of depriving yourself, you set yourself up to have a positive relationship with food. Food shouldn’t be consumed if you’re going to hate yourself for having it! The key is to have a little bit of everything and not to overdo it. And don’t let your family guilt you into eating everything. They need to respect that the choices you make are for your overall health. You also don’t need to starve yourself to enjoy your mom’s famous apple pie. We need to nourish our mind and body, not deprive it. So if your family’s recipes bring you happiness, go ahead and enjoy them but do it in a way that also honors your body goals.  

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me…
An accountability partner. Having someone to hold you accountable is truly one of the best things you can do to help you thrive in all areas of your life, not just your health and fitness. Knowing that someone is counting on you, can make all the difference in you showing up for that workout or doing something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. 

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true self gave to me…
A cute water bottle that reminds me to drink water. You know this….our bodies need water. It is essential! But let’s be honest, when our schedules are super hectic, as they often are during the holiday season, we don’t always remember to stay hydrated. Unfortunately by the time you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated and that can lead to “brain fog,” stomach aches, stiffness in your body, and more. So why not get yourself a water bottle like the ICEWATER 3-in-1 Smart Water Bottle that is not only affordable but lights up whenever you are not drinking enough! Or if you want to splurge, try the Sguai by Maxtron water bottle that uses an alarm system to remind you to take those sips. 

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
A “deep WHY” for investing in my health all year round and especially during stressful seasons like the holidays. Here’s the bottom line. When you don’t have a really deep WHY for taking care of yourself, it will fall on the backburner. A deep WHY sticks with you and helps you take care of yourself. A deep WHY is what helps you show up for that workout even if you don’t want to do it. A deep WHY is what helps you make better choices because you have a greater purpose for doing it! 

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
Progress instead of perfection. Here’s another one we’ve all heard right? And for good reason! Your health and fitness journey will have ups and downs and if we are only striving for perfection you will feel like giving up over and over again. Not every day will you have the perfect workout or stick to your meal plan perfectly. Instead, shift your focus to seeing your progress daily which can amount to big victories. It also helps to set smaller, realistic goals that are doable. So don’t dismiss small goals as no big deal, because these small steps will in time create lasting healthier habits.   

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
The ability to slow down and be more present. We are all guilty of doing so much during the holidays including hustling from one work party to another, endless shopping, decorating our homes, traveling to visit family and friends, etc. It’s important to slow down and be present so you can truly appreciate the spirit and true meaning of the holiday season. Trust me, you can survive a few hours without your phone or your social media!  

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
Rest and recovery time. We all need to recharge our batteries so make sure you make an extra effort to rest and recover. A solid sleep routine is so important because your body repairs itself most during sleep. With late nights, it can be easy to fall off track. But remember it’s ok to take a break from the chaos. Be picky in how you spend your time and how much of it you spend on things that may set you back too much. You only have one body and mind in this lifestyle and allowing for recovery shouldn’t be optional, it should be non-negotiable.  

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true self gave to me
Healthy nutrients that fuel my body. Just because you are well fed doesn’t mean you are well-nourished. When you are consistently fueling your body with junk or skipping meals, your body will not perform to its best ability. So if you want to truly thrive during the holiday season, you need to fuel your body with nutrients like fiber-rich foods that keep you feeling fuller longer and aid in proper digestion, leafy green veggies and fruit loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates that give you sustainable energy. 

The holiday season is such a special time! And we certainly don’t want to spend it feeling tired, stressed, or sick. When you focus your energy on thriving instead of just getting through this season, you can make better choices that become better habits. These habits then develop into a routine that is not only sustainable but can help us build stronger minds and bodies that manage stressful times all year long. So challenge yourself to incorporate these 12 things into your life so you can not just survive, but thrive during a most beautiful time of year! 

Erica Pagano
Erica Pagano

A Fitness industry veteran, with over 20 years of professional experience as a group fitness instructor, certified personal trainer, and virtual coach. Known for her inspiring cues, evolving training techniques, and "Can Do' attitude Erica is on a mission to help her clients feel their best, inside and out!

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