Tis the season to be merry but festive fun aside, the holidays can prove to be one of the most stressful times of year. Not only is the pressure on to have a good time, keep family happy with visits but there is also the added stress of finding money for gifts and having to step outside your usual routine. The end of year can also bring in a time of self-reflection which can create misery in those who feel that they haven't achieved what they wanted to or they're not in the place they wanted to be. There are many stress busters to help you cope and one great one is exercise.
There are many reasons why working out can help reduce stress levels over the holidays. Here are a few:
Time out alone
Even if you spend a lot of time with loved ones, the whole holiday period which extends into the New Year can still prove to be quite intense. For families who don't really gel this can be not only stressful but unenjoyable. For those who get along, the sheer amount of time and number of family members all together at the same time can be testing.
Exercise gives you some much-needed alone time. Going off for a run, class or workout session is a valid reason to break off from events and the flexibility of it means you can do this as often or as little as you need to. Even a small amount of absence can make the heart grow fonder and after some alone-time you can join the party with the rest of your family without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Exercise releases endorphins which are great for creating a feel-good energy and this dissipates stress hormones too. By stimulating your brain chemicals you can boost serotonin levels which are linked to depression, as well as affects the release of norepinephrine which is also linked to stress.
Relationships, family events and social situations, even when they are enjoyable, can still create a certain amount of stress in the body. Many people find events over the holidays a strain and dealing with lots of different people's personalities and needs can be both invigorating and irritating. Exercise is a good antidote.
Makes you stop
There's something about the holidays that sends many people a little kooky. People get wrapped up in wrapping presents, trying to please everyone and in creating the perfect day or perfect visit. Exercise gets you off the holiday treadmill and onto a different track. By adding in some fitness time you're allowing yourself some normality during the busy festive buzz.
Don't feel guilty
With the pleasure of overindulging comes the pain of putting on weight or feeling sluggish. Keeping up some form of exercise between parties and family gatherings means that you can banish the guilt factor that so many people feel once the festivities come to an end. If you want to avoid the post-party comedown and trying to get back to your post-holiday fitness level, then make sure you keep on moving.
Time to think
Meditation, mental clarity and having time to clear your thoughts can all help in reducing stress. It's not only positive to find time to yourself but to give your headspace some time out too. Even exercise that doesn't focus specifically on meditative practice, such as breathing and relaxation, inherently provides some room to maneuver your thoughts.
Need some help working out how to keep fit over the holiday and into the New Year? We can help you get started with a fitness plan that will keep you going for the rest of the year to follow. Get in touch with us before the end of the year to get started soon.