Keep Calm, and Keep Moving
Life can feel overwhelming this time of year, as we catapult toward the end of one year and the beginning of another. Family dynamics. Work deadlines. A tip for the paper boy. White elephants. Hand-drawn notes for the teachers. Ice on the windshield. Coats for the coat drive. Tree trimming. Holiday parties. Cold, dark mornings. “Can we please go to Santa’s house? Pluheeeeeeese?”
This can easily become the season of forgetting to take care of ourselves…of making silent promises that we’ll “get back on track in the new year.” Particularly when it comes to exercise, motivation can be tough to muster when the days are cold and the mornings seem to come too soon….when the glittering lights on the tree contrast with the cold winds outside…when we convince ourselves that restoration equals hibernation. But the truth is, our bodies need to move in stressful times like this. If you’re struggling to make time, or reaching for the snooze button, or opting for a movie over a hike, here are a few ways to motivate this holiday season.
- Make a workout date with a friend. It’s a lot harder to bail on a morning run when your friend is meeting you on the corner. Find a partner, set a time, and make it happen.
- Sign up for a fitness class. Bonus points if you go to a class where the teacher knows to expect you or your neighbor will wonder why spin bike #18 is empty.
- Sign up for an event. Most cities have “Hot Chocolate” or “Jingle Bell” run/walk events, complete with some festive surprises along the way. Sign up for one, bundle up, and get to the start line.
- Mix it up. Try something totally new. Boxing. Snowshoeing. (Indoor) SUP. Our human brains love novelty. And who knows? You might just fall in love it with wife-carrying, or whatever you decide to try!
- Do it for the people you love. Do your kids want you to be healthy? How about your mom? Your partner? Your boss? Do it for them…so you’ll be able to be show up with energy and joy and peace when you gather for the holidays, and so you’ll thrive for years to come.
- Be grateful that you CAN. Not everyone lives in a place where it’s safe to go outside. People have medical conditions that keep them in bed all day long. Injuries can spring up any time. We don’t have control over tomorrow, but we do have choices about how we live today. So give thanks, embrace the gift, and make the most of it.
And if that’s not enough, remember that getting your heart rate up warms you up…it clears your head…it will make you feel happier…it will give you more energy at that holiday party you need to go to tonight…it will make your kids think you’re a hero…it will make you proud…it will make you strong…it will make you calm…it will make you you. And that’s true not just during the holidays, but during all the days.
Image from State of Michigan Public Health Campaign (via Flickr Creative Commons)