Sometimes health feels like this train you’re on. You get “on” the right track and you fear that if you steer (even slightly) “off-course” that you’ll go completely off the rails and never find your way “back on track.”
After years of having a rather tumultuous relationship with health + fitness it’s totally fair to feel this way. In fact you’re not alone, most people I talk to have this same experience!
There is so much mystery around motivation and what really works that if you’re like most people you’ve come to fear any minor deviation from what’s currently working. So you don’t adjust course AT ALL.
- You say no to the holiday treat.
- You skip the holiday party because there will be too many temptations.
- You miss out on family time because you had to hit the gym….
And it feels good to maintain your momentum. But you feel like you’re missing out…on ALL the fun!
I’m all for finding ways to be healthy through the holidays, but also keep in mind that your mental and spiritual health are also vitally important to your overall health.
And missing ALL the fun? May just be killing your joy (a big part of mental and spiritual health!).
I have really exciting news for you: skipping a few workouts and indulging in a few treats this holiday isn’t only way more JOY-filled – it’s absolutely healthy! Even more, enjoying a few treats and skipping the odd workout may just be the injection of JOY you need to keep that mysterious motivation and stay chugging along your very own awesome track!
I know what you’re thinking….
Hey Gillian, I don’t trust myself. If I let loose of the reins, I’m likely to let them go completely and over-do it and go completely off the rails.
I’ve got you. Here is how you’re going to do it. Take a breath. It’s going to be great!
Have a Mindful Healthy Holiday!
What’s that? By utilizing a mindful approach, you’re not only going to feel more empowered in your choices, you’re also never going to feel that dreaded “off track” feeling. So…no “getting back on track” come January. Are you ready? I’ve got three steps you can take this holiday season to feel empowered, motivation and joyfully inspired!
- Establish your Happy Holiday Zone. In my book The Elephant in the Gym I introduced the concept of a “Health Zone.” This concept is all about putting some thought (mindfully) into determining your practice of health. It takes into consideration your unique goals, interests, priorities and commitments (holidays included). To explore this approach you examine both the “lower limit” or non-negotiable habits and routines you’ll do no matter what (ex. drink 4 glasses of water or move for 15 minutes every day) as well as your “upper limit” habits and routines (ex. drink 8 glasses of water, eat 5 servings of veggies and move for 30 minutes per day).
- Why is the health zone so pivotal? Because by having a “zone” you create a wiggle room for success. And when you feel successful you reinforce your self-efficacy (your belief in yourself and your capabilities). And when self-efficacy is HIGH, success is also high!
- Important note: your health zone will be as unique as you are! Don’t get caught up in the examples I gave – find the health habits and routines that genuinely work for you! How do you find them? Try on some ideas and see what “sticks.”
- Take the Health Zone “next level.” What if this year, you expanded the idea of a Health Zone into your Happy Holiday Zone? Questions to consider:
- What do you need body, mind and spirit to make this season a happy one for you?
- Consider all areas of your life: Health, Work/ Business, Family/ Close friends, Community and Personal/ Professional Development.
- Think about your holiday traditions and routines and determine what really matters! (Hey, if you haven’t got a copy of my book, why not pick up a copy for some holiday reading?! You can find it on Audible, Amazon, and even in stores and online at Chapters!)
- Be here now. Once you’ve established your happy holiday zone, practice presence in everything you do. Notice how you’re feeling (mind, body and spirit) and take active steps to honour your happy holiday zone.
- Set intentional boundaries. Instead of being pulled into every single holiday party, really consider which ones work for you (without sacrificing your sleep or joy!).
- Move mindfully. Consider how you’re feeling day to day and what movement might serve you best. Some days it may be hitting the gym, other days some gentle yoga at home following a video might do the trick!
- Practice mindful eating. Slow down and truly savour the treats you love. Notice if you don’t really want something – and don’t have it! Even if it’s your mother in law’s famous cookies!
- Bottom line: Really listen to your innate needs and signals – body, mind and spirit! In this season of go-go-go sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Honour yourself (and your healthy boundaries) and make this season truly fulfilling and enjoyable!
- Practice Self-Compassion. Please don’t be hard on yourself when you struggle! Because struggling is oh so human (it’s a we’re wired that way thing).
- Mindfully notice. Notice when the self-critic is in overdrive, or you’re experiencing struggle. Simply being aware of these experiences can go a long way to helping tame them.
- Recognize your humanity. Mindfully notice that this moment of struggle is human – and you’re not alone in this struggle!
- Respond with self-compassion. Be kind to yourself in this moment of struggle. Think: treat and speak to yourself the way you would a dear friend. Or consider setting a clear boundary. Think: mom yourself – what do you need to hear? What do you honestly, truly, really need to hear?!). This is the Yin and Yang of Self-Compassion and it’s powerful stuff!
This holiday season release the attachment to staying “on track” and build your very own track! Find your happy holiday zone and have a happy, healthy holiday season!