Updated: Nov 3, 2020
This post was written by our friends at Everyday Superhero Training. They are definitely heroic when it comes to fitness and wellness in general! Go check them out at their site here: https://www.everydaysuperherotraining.com/
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us, and comes with a host of new and unique challenges. You may find yourself fighting with the holiday blues even if they do not normally effect you. Even worse, you may already be suffering from symptoms of the holiday blues.
Many of us got hit hard with quarantine depression and are still fighting it. The symptoms of both mental health battles are very similar - loneliness, extreme highs of anxiety, irritability, and lethargy. One thing remains the same regardless of if you are already fighting these sensations, or if you are hoping to limit or prevent them: Being, getting and staying active can help immensely.
Here are our top 5 tips for using exercise to help with the holiday blues:
Schedule physical activity like work not a hobby.
Often physical activity gets lumped in with hobbies and leisure time, aka stuff I'll get to IF I have the time. The problem with that is, especially this time of year, you won't have the time.
Being stretched too thin on time is one of the big causes of stress during the holiday season so of course working out or just taking care of yourself gets cut for time. When it comes down to it there are certain things we always can make time for: work, running errands, family obligations. You need to treat physical activity like that. Put it in your schedule were it fits best and then be unmoving on getting it in.
Use physical activity socially.
Having someone to exercise with, or hang out with between short busts of exercising, is a great way to decompress. You might not be able to meet up in person exactly, but it can be as simple as talking on the phone while walking outside. Set a time with someone for when you will be working out and message back and forth with them between exercises.
Being social while exercising makes the whole endeavor more fun, and a good old fashioned chat about the world being stupid is even better when served with a side of endorphins.
Go for a walk, sit on your porch, do yoga in your yard, just get outside. Fresh air and sunshine are the biggest way you can fight seasonal part of the depression.
This can be very hard when the days are getting shorter, wetter, and colder. You may have to find a way to supplement either with vitamin D or a Sun lamp.
Utilize pattern solving and flows. Boredom and lethargy go hand in hand. Trusting yourself to complete mundane tasks when they set in is a great way to set yourself up for failure. Simple, repetitive movements would be a great way to build solid momentum and get some consistency with your exercise, but they do you no good if can't get up to do them. The trick is to focus on activities that stimulate your brain just as much as your body. Flow and pattern based movements are great options for this. They require you to think about what is in front of you, which is extremely helpful for battling anxiety. Dancing, yoga, and boxing are all fun ways to work flow and pattern solving into your exercise.
Focus on what you enjoy. Motivation is in short supply this time of year. It's even harder to find motivation to do stuff you don't enjoy like dishes, laundry, and unfortunately working out. So make your physical activity something that you enjoy and look forward to.
For bonus points try to incorporate exercises that leave you feeling accomplished. The sensation of lifting something that feels heavy is extremely rewarding.