One of my first posts here on LauraLovesFitness was all about the importance of keeping your brain in shape along with your body. With the holiday season in full swing, I thought it was the perfect time to remind everyone about the importance of keeping your mind healthy during the hustle and bustle of this joyous but frenetic time of year.
No doubt exercise can help you shake off some of the extra calories and some of the extra stresses associated with this season, including crowded stores, travel delays and spending extended amounts of time with the extended family. However, when you factor in how online shopping and maybe some lo-cal recipe surfing are added to the year-round attack on our senses – emailing, texting, Tweeting, updating our Facebook status and even DVR-ing – it’s no wonder our minds are in overdrive. With so much more than sugar plums dancing through our heads, it could be more important than ever to challenge yourself to steal some precious moments to simply disconnect and re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:
- Focus on one thing at a time: If you know you’re setting aside an hour to wrap gifts, then for that hour, don’t deal with texting or answering emails. If it makes you feel better, you can alert your social network that you’ll be offline for a bit. Then put on the holiday tunes (or whatever motivates you to be a good elf) and get to work.
- Step away from the computer: This month, I have been making a very conscious effort to NOT turn on my home computer unless absolutely necessary when I get home from work and the gym. I still check my iPhone at least once before bed to make sure I didn’t miss any “emergency” emails, but it makes a difference not to have the laptop on with the Facebook tab taunting me to make my way back to the keyboard.
- Turn off the TV: We still have a no-TV “rule” in our home on Wednesdays. I’m really looking forward to it this week, as it will be nice to decompress with a game of Backgammon or cards. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas gifts in order, but it’ll be time to tackle those holiday chores with fewer distractions.
- Steal some time for YOU: If you’re making the commitment to find 20-30 minutes in your crazy schedule for a workout, take another 5 minutes to stretch. Then maybe add a few more minutes to a hot shower at night. Treat yourself to a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer to turn that shower in to an extra calming experience for your senses. Sip some caffeine-free tea afterward and try to shut down that overactive mind before getting under the covers.
As we work through this holiday high-time and you make an effort to workout, don’t forget the importance of standing still for awhile, too. Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!