Just cause it’s cute

Believe it or not, there are other components to health besides exercise. (I hope you all sense my sarcasm there.)

Although I’m obviously partial to the ‘exercise’ piece of the puzzle, sometimes it doesn’t have to be your primary focus, per se.

The holidays are around the corner, the year is coming to an end, and people are generally busier with work deadlines, vacations and the likes. Formal exercise is usually not on the top of people’s priority lists. So instead of falling off the wagon completely,  it’s a good time to pay more attention to the other aspects of wellness.

1. Sleep

Instead of setting goals for strength or aesthetics this December, set goals for sleep. It is the most vital part of recovery, brain function, and even body composition. Logging hours in the sheets can be just as vital as logging hours in the gym.

2. Stress Management and Recovery

As I mentioned, the end of the year can be a stressful time. Make a conscious effort to take 5 minutes out of your day to de-stress. Sip a green tea without looking at your computer, read a magazine article, do some breathing drills, get up and stretch, call your mom, put your headphones on etc, etc. The key is to do something that actually relaxes you, and actually do it. 

If you have the means, I highly suggest scheduling a massage. I don’t know about you, but it’s on my list of Top 10 Most Awesome Things Ever. It’s one of the best things you can do for your muscles, and it makes you feel like a million bucks.

Buy a foam roller. Come on they’re like 20 dollars. I guarantee everyone reading this can find 15 minutes to spare at night to spend foam rolling. It’s a close second to an actual massage.

3. Nutrition

You had to know this one was coming. I understand this is the month of holiday parties, office treats, and the cop-out gifts of chocolate and disgusting flavored popcorn.

I may or may not have gotten this for Steve last year…

I challenge you to challenge that. Be the annoying one that brings a veggie platter instead of cupcakes. Trust me, people will eat it… and you might even get some thank you’s for the relief of the constant sugar binges.

Offer to make a healthy side dish to your holiday parties like garlic spinach or pumpkin quinoa.

Please: Go easy on the alcohol. I’m not gunna sit here and tell you to not have a good time during this season of celebration– but it’s no excuse to be a sloppy lush at every event. Besides, you don’ t want to come into work on Monday hearing that you ruled the office Stanky-Leg competition that you don’t remember participating in. It’s bad looks!

4. Enjoy Yourself!

The holiday’s are a time for reflection, gratitude, and celebration. Taking a second to think about all the positive things in your life can do wonders for your mental health and state of mind. Take it a step further and make someone else’s day. It can be a random compliment to a stranger, or a conversation thanking your best friend for always being there for you. Deposits in the bank as Stephen Covey would say (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People– highly recommend it).

For most people, it’s probably not realistic to expect to lose a lot of weight during the month of December.  Now is not the time to stress about an imperfect diet or missing a workout. Enjoy life and live a little.

However that is not a free pass to go buck-wild. If you plan appropriately and are at least conscious of your physical health, you can avoid gaining holiday weight and setting yourself back for the new year.

Happy December!!