This Christmas/New Year may feel a little different – and that’s ok. It’s been an interesting year (to say the least) and as we get back to normality, it may be that fitness and health hasn’t quite made it on to the to-do list just yet.
There’s a lot competing for our attention as activities start up again and socialising ramps up. Being kind to yourself and not overloading your plate is important – and we all want to enjoy Christmas holidays and take a much-needed break!
The good news is there are some very simple things you can do to arrive at Christmas Day feeling full of positive vibes. They won’t require too much effort or take away much from your depleted energy reserves. In fact, you should be left feeling more energised.
“After the year we’ve just had, it’s completely normal to feel a little out of sorts leading into this Christmas,” says National Fitness Manager from Genesis Health + Fitness, Sam Merza.
“You may feel low on energy at times and may also experience moodiness and heightened emotions.
“Be kind to yourself and take a little time to do some of the things that will give your body and mind more of what is needed, which will leave you feeling positive coming into Christmas and New Year.”
Here Sam gives us one simple thing we can do each day for the 12 days leading into Christmas to find some festive sparkle:
Day 1: Drink more water
So simple but so important as it assists you physically and mentally. Start with a glass of water first thing in the morning. Drink two or three glasses between meals and carry a water bottle with you throughout the day so you have easy access.
Day 2: Breath in some fresh air
Focusing on your breath in a conscious and purposeful way has the power to change your physical, mental and emotional state. It’s best to head outside in the fresh air to do this. Find a quiet space and dedicate at least three mins to focusing on deep breathing. The simplest way to do this is to breathe deeply into your belly, hold for three seconds, release slowly and then repeat a couple of times. If you need some guidance to help you focus, download a deep breathing/breathwork app – there are plenty out there that will guide you through a short breath exercise.
Day 3: Get moving
This is not the time to throw yourself into a new, intensive form of exercise but it certainly is a great time to get moving. A walk, a stretch or even a gentle swim are perfect activities, especially if you haven’t been doing much physical activity. If you already had a fitness routine in place, keep it up but be kind to yourself.
Day 4: Phone a friend
If you feel low on motivation, it’s time to call in back-up. Whether it’s that friend you know you can count on to amp you up, a family member who’s got your back or a personal trainer that can give you a boost, if you feel you need the extra support, reach out to them. Maybe you can even recruit a friend to do some of these activities with you.
Day 5: Write down three goals
The holidays are a great time to decide what you really want to get out of 2022. Do you want to make a change to your fitness? Your eating? Do you want to start dedicating more time to yourself? Whatever it is you want to achieve, write down the top three and stick it on your fridge. Under each one, write down one simple thing you can do to step you in the right direction. For your fitness, for example, it may involve taking part in a challenge like the Genesis/Coaching Zone 6-Week Challenge in the new year. Seeing your goals each day will get you in the right mindset for the new year.
Day 6: Review an old bucket list
Dust off the bucket list from the back of your side-table draw and review it for inspiration. You don’t have to make any hard commitments yet. But do test the waters, dip your toe in and see what takes your fancy. 2022 is not about doing the same old thing, that’s for sure! It’s about discovering something better…something that’s truly you and reflects your shift in thinking after the challenging year we’ve all been through.
Day 7: Surround yourself with stuff you love
Nothing works better than a bit of positive distraction and some ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. Turn up the music you love, hang out with your bestie or furry friend, watch your all-time favourite movie or pick up your favourite book.
Day 8: Introduce one simple new daily habit
This can be as simple as setting your alarm five minutes earlier so that you can do a few minutes of deep breathing before you start your day or going for a quick walk around the block before dinner. Keep it small and manageable.
Day 9: Remove something from the to-do list
It’s time to lighten the load. Try to streamline your must-do activities and if it’s not essential, perhaps consider removing it from the list or asking for help. This can include workload, family obligations and social functions. Pare back the activities that aren’t as important.
Day 10: Get a good night’s sleep
Resist the urge to stay up late to get more done or lay in bed getting your online shopping sorted. A few early nights to bed can do wonders.
Day 11: Do something different
Mixing it up is a great way to perk up your mindset. Book into that exercise class that you’ve always avoided, choose a new healthy recipe to make, explore a new area of your neighbourhood, learn how to count to ten in another language – whatever it is, it will help you break up the monotony and eliminate any feelings of being ‘in a rut’.
Day 12: Reward yourself
This doesn’t have to be anything major or even cost you a cent. Treat yourself with something you know you’ll enjoy and acknowledge the good work you’ve done so far. Paint your nails, buy a smoothie for breakfast or put a special music playlist together.