Holiday Season Tips From The Sweat Trainers
With the festive season in full swing and a new year creeping closer, we wanted to remind you of the importance of taking care of you. During a time when it’s common to feel pressure building across different areas of your life (alongside the pressure that can come with the blank slate of a new year), we wanted to remind you that you’re doing an amazing job and choosing to slow down and unwind is an act of kindness to yourself.
We caught up with a few of the Sweat trainers to ask for their own feel-good holiday tips, and this is what they had to say.
Rest and self-care are your best friends
Before we even start talking about exercising during the holidays (if you want to!), rest gets the first shoutout. Things can get crazy at this time of year. You might be feeling overwhelmed with end of year deadlines, a mile-long to-do list, family obligations, or a calendar that’s jam-packed with social events. There can be a lot going on. Even when you’re on leave, many people still find it hard to switch off.
Amongst the madness, do what you can to get quality sleep each night and make rest a top priority. Burnout is not a fun experience and sleep can do so much good for your energy, mood, cognitive function and hormones.
“With the added stress of holiday shopping, traveling and the busyness of parties and deadlines, make sure not to skimp on sleep,” Britany Williams says. “Even when your schedule gets hectic, honouring your body by offering it 7-8 hours of sleep will set you up for success!”
And when your much-awaited break arrives, you have yourself a beautiful opportunity to soak up even more R&R. Katie Martin says it’s a great time to rest, sleep, practice self-care and refocus your energy for the year ahead. Kelly MacDonald agrees, but she’s a big fan of recharging over the holidays for another tactical reason.
“While our bodies and minds are on holiday and we aren’t around our usual stressful environments, the stress hormone cortisol naturally drops, which means your quality of sleep will improve hugely!”
Make movement a good time
If you’re feeling stressed, lonely, are away from home, or are in the midst of an icy white Christmas, your motivation to work out might not be particularly high, and that’s ok.
The Sweat trainers have a few tips to make movement something you look forward to - something that leaves you feeling better than you started.
Katie’s also a fan of exercise snacks - all those micro opportunities throughout your day to keep your body moving, whether it’s walking, dancing, playing sports in the park or exploring on vacation with your loved ones. Kelly says the holidays can be an amazing chance to try something fun or new, such as bouldering, paddleboarding, yoga, Pilates or breathwork.
If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere like Brit and outdoor activities aren’t as much of an option as they are in Australia and New Zealand, it might take a little more effort to inject some pizzazz into your routine.
Brit’s advice? “For those living in countries where it is winter, it can be difficult to motivate yourself during the cold, dark months. Have a plan for the days you aren’t motivated - try a new workout you’ve never done, make a new playlist, invite a friend to the gym with you, or incorporate your kids into your workout. Having fresh new ways to make fitness fun on the dreary winter days can remind you why you love working out in the first place.”
Take a break and be truly present
We all know what it’s like when your time off finally begins, but it feels like your brain hasn’t got the memo. You’re still mentally running through your to-do list, checking your phone, wondering what you’ve forgotten or mentally planning for the year ahead.
Whatever break you get, Katie and Kelly both encourage you to step away from your usual routine and be as present as possible during that time.
“Take a real break from work, stress and try to downregulate your nervous system so you’ll be well-rested for the New Year,” says Kelly.
For Katie, being present during the holiday season is about focusing on the people you’re with. “Soak up the time with your loved ones,” she says. “Be present, put your phone down and enjoy the company.”
Say no to guilt
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - the festive season is not a time for feeling guilty if your health and fitness routine has taken a backseat, and Katie has a great perspective on this if it’s something you struggle with around this time of year.
She wants to remind you that working out is part of your long-term lifestyle - a quick mental reframe which can highlight what a blip in time this really is. Missing a few workouts or eating differently for a few days or weeks really doesn’t matter. What’s important is what you do between New Year’s Day and Christmas, not Christmas and the new year.
“Your workouts can wait. This is not the season for guilt, it’s the season for joy and life,” says Katie. “A few days off training or weeks without your normal routine will not undo months or years of hard work.”
Just like you can’t skyrocket your health and fitness overnight, you can’t undo your progress overnight either, and Brit couldn’t agree more.
“While moving your body during the holidays is important, it should never be at the sacrifice of your own happiness,” Brit adds. “If you work out less because of travel, time with your family or simply because you need more rest, try not to feel guilty.”
If you want to keep moving but your time is limited, Brit recommends doing shorter workouts from the On Demand section of the Sweat app or any Express workouts available in your Sweat program.
Kelly knows these feelings of guilt don’t only emerge around workouts - guilt can also pop up when it comes to your nutrition. Her advice - be kind to yourself and give yourself some freedom.
“Try not to be so strict around eating and exercising at this time of year. The memories you make with your friends and family are far more important than counting calories.”
Reflect and reset
When you do get some time to yourself, the holiday season and the dawn of a new year can be an opportunity for some self-reflection and taking stock of the past 12 months.
“I love this time to slow down and reflect on the year, set new goals and get excited for the Sweat Challenge,” says Katie.
Taking the time to slow down and do things that bring you joy over the holiday period can help to spark some inspiration for positive change in the coming months, too. Kelly believes there is so much power in looking after yourself. After all, the most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself.
“Take yourself on dates, walks, meals, and improve your relationship with yourself,” she says. “Reflect on the year and think about what made you feel good and what didn’t, and try to come up with empowering changes that you want to implement next year.”
When it comes to reflecting on your health and fitness journey and starting 2024 with a fresh set of goals, here are a few prompts to help get you started:
- Thinking about the past year, what am I proud of?
- What did I learn about myself this year?
- What would I like to achieve, start doing or focus on next year?
- Are there any habits or beliefs that aren’t serving me that I want to let go of?
- If there was one word that would capture how I want to feel on my fitness journey next year, what would it be?
- Who is inspiring me right now and why?
- As I start this new year, what is going to get me started and keep me going? What’s my why?
From the Sweat team to you - happy holidays. We can’t wait to see you in the New Year for another amazing 365 days of Sweat.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.