Deena Russo, High Performance Personal Trainer
The holidays can be a lot of hustle and bustle and can make us feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Stress is proven to be bad for your health. Negative side effects of stress include difficulty getting to and staying asleep, elevated blood pressure, over the long term it can damage heart health, plus it can cause depression and moodiness.
There are several effective methods to reduce stress.
The best plan is to find a way to move your body and get the endorphins going in your brain. Endorphins are natural hormones in your body that are released when doing physical exercise and are a natural mood-elevator. Many people get a double benefit working out in nature because the environment makes them feel good while the workout makes them feel more energetic and strong. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. It’s important to balance your mental and physical health.
10 Ways To De-Stress
1) Write a list of all the holiday preparations and a shopping list. Prioritize and check off as you go.
2) Spend at least 3 minutes a day closing your eyes and visualizing a peaceful holiday season and everything going exactly as you want it to go. See yourself organized and calm and not being affected by anything stressful. Athletes use visualization to score goals and it is a very effective tool.
3) Treat yourself to new tennis shoes or sneakers. Make sure they are very supportive for impact and get a color that’s fun and attractive.
4) Put on music that makes you want to move.
5) Stretch your body from head to toe on a supportive mat and breathe into each stretch. As you exhale, relax into the stretch. Hold the stretches, don’t bounce. Doing this in nature is a lovely way to incorporate fresh air and the beauty around you. I know when I train people in a beautiful natural environment it always puts a smile on their face.
6) Go for a power-walk and work into a jog if you are able to do so. If you have limitations with your body and jogging doesn’t feel good to you, a brisk power walk will help to warm up your body and prepare you for strength and conditioning exercises. It also is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and will help to burn fat. Another good choice is an exercise bike, which is easier on the joints for those of you who prefer this form of exercise.
7) Get someone to motivate you and keep you consistent. A knowledgeable personal trainer will help you to do strength, cardio and flexibility exercises correctly and safely and put a plan together for you for optimal results.
8) Learn to eat the right food that will give you more energy. If losing weight is a goal, you will need a personalized nutritional plan to lose weight and keep it off during the holidays. People who aren’t mindful during these festivities tend to pack on pounds. This doesn’t mean you have to be deprived of enjoying the holidays, you just need to learn how to make good choices.
9) Write your workouts in your datebook because it is an important appointment you make with yourself for your mental and physical well being.
10) Treat yourself to a holiday gift as a reward for taking care of yourself.
Working out can act as a natural anti-depressant. The confidence you get from feeling fit and strong is priceless. You have more to give to everyone else when you are mentally and physically strong. Some other ways of eliminating stress are reading, playing games, crossword puzzles, listening to music, playing an instrument, cooking, meditation, watching funny movies and chatting with friends. Make a list of ways that help you to feel relaxed and happy and start incorporating these in your life.