While December should be a phenomenal time we enjoy with our family and friends, often it can be a highly stressful time for many of us. December is typically full of parties and food and tons of things to get done, but that doesn’t mean we have to go through the month feeling overwhelmed. Ultimately, that overwhelm leads to stress, stress eating, and out-of-whack emotions. Listen, it truly does not need to be this way. Here are a few tips to help you stay stress free and in control over the next few weeks.
While most of my tips have to do with health and nutrition, my first tip doesn’t, so bear with me.
Tip #1: Limit your time with toxic family members.
I know this might feel impossible to do; you likely feel obligated to spend time with family members, even though you know they are not good for you or your family but here’s the thing, you are an adult. You get to decide who you spend time with. Over the last year, Brandon and I have decided to be extremely intentional about the the people we allow into our lives and into our holidays. This decision has led to some of the best holidays we’ve ever had. Toxic people are like crabs. When a cage with some food is thrown into the water, one crab will usually go to the cage to get the food. Soon, the rest of the crabs follow the first one into the cage, even though the food is already gone. Some of the crabs will try their best to get out of the cage, through the open top, but the crabs on the bottom of the cage will actually pull them down, often killing them in the process. Sounds pretty grim, right? Well, this is often the effect toxic people have on those around them. They seek to bring everyone down with them. My first tip for remaining stress-free is to choose who you invest your time with; time is your most valuable commodity.
All right, let’s get into the health and nutrition stuff.
Tip #2: Enjoy treats on the holidays.
Notice I didn’t say to enjoy treats every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. However, that is when most people gain weight. Because of all the parties and treats that are available during the month of December, we often end up eating more than we need to fuel our workouts. While I wholeheartedly believe you should not deprive yourself of things you love during the holidays, it is important that you are extremely intentional about when and why you enjoy those treats. Choose the ones you love the most, and have at ‘em on the actual holidays! Make sure that you are mindful of your eating during the rest of the month. Also note that having processed foods around during this season can really affect your emotional state of being. Eating clean will help you feel emotionally stable, happier and more level headed, which will be key to keep stress at bay during the holiday season.
Tip #3: Be sure you are getting enough sleep.
I know firsthand how hard this can be. However, it is so important for maintaining low stress levels. Some things that have helped me find a good sleep pattern are: going to bed at the same time each night, keeping my room cool and dark, and limiting screen time prior to bed. Another thing that has helped me dial in a healthy sleep cycle is waking up at the same time every morning. I know that these things are not always possible, but sleep cycles are extremely important in regulating hormone levels. Those hormone levels are directly related to your stress levels and whether or not your body is storing fat or burning fat. So do your best to get into a good sleep habit. It will go a long way in helping you feel in control through the month of December.
Tip #4: Continue workouts, but slow down if you need to.
Do your best to work out consistently through the month of December, but do not be afraid to scale back a workout if you’re having a particularly stressful day. Undoubtedly, there will be a few bumps in the road where you come up against stressors. When that happens, it’s really important you listen to your body and ease up on your workout. If you are feeling incredibly stressed, and go all-out for an intense workout, you are going to increase your cortisol levels when they are already elevated. That will make losing belly fat all the more difficult. Plus, there are times when your body just needs a break. Be sure that you are listening well to what your body is telling you, and then give it what it needs.
The month of December can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to derail you from pursuing your health and fitness goals. While you may need to do some things a little differently to keep your stress levels low, it is entirely possible to feel in control and truly thrive during the holiday season.
If you’re ready to do something for YOU, then now is the time. Sign up for the FASTer Way and you’ll instantly receive the comprehensive program guide with all the details. Even though our accountability group won’t officially start until prep week, you can get started now by practicing the principles and getting a head start on feeling your absolute best!