Get your mind in shape for the holidays
We are always talking about staying in shape physically, however, during the holidays it's extremely important to keep yourself in good shape emotionally as well. All the extra activity — hosting, shopping, dinners — can take its toll; you become exhausted and your stress levels increase. Let's look at a few ways to stay in shape emotionally:
• Limit stress
A good night's sleep will give you the energy to stick to your exercise routine. Regular exercise and sleep can improve not only your energy but your mood. Try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily — even if it's broken up into ten-minute increments. When shopping for gifts, do a few “laps” around Washington Mall before you begin.
• Take “five”
Take at least 15 minutes each day just for you. Book a neck and shoulder massage or just close the door to your bedroom or office, turn on soothing music, breathe deeply and restore your inner calm.
• Cut back
Keep an eye on your alcohol intake. Family tensions can rear up over the holidays and excessive drinking can make things worse. Drinking less also means you are less likely to go overboard on fattening foods.
• Fill up your plate
To ward off those mini fishcakes coming your way, fill up your plate with cut veggies and fruit. If there is an appetiser you are looking forward to, have one and then tell the server to avoid you from then on.
• Have a plan
Call your host and find out what is on the menu. Then map out your entire night — from appetisers to desserts. It's far better to make these choices at home when you are rational and not experiencing the stress and temptation of others around you.
• Eat before you leave home
Before going out, make yourself a healthy snack such as Greek yoghurt and berries or a bowl of hearty soup. It will curb your appetite, which means you are less prone to overeat.
• Change your mindset
Everything in life begins in the mind. Planning your behaviour for challenging events is a sure way to increase your feelings of self-control. Don't tell yourself: “I'll never get back on track with my eating plan.” Of course you will. Tomorrow will be a better day.
The end result is not just a thinner you; it's a happier you. Praise yourself for trying. Be proud that you are conscious of your eating behaviour and actively working to improve it. Have a peaceful holiday season and B-Active For Life!
• Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Check her out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/B.ActiveForLife