If you’re anything like me during the holidays, your ass is firmly glued to the sofa, while you watch endless repeats of Friends or the Christmas classics, Bridget Jones’ Diary or The Holiday. After all, is it really the festive season if you haven’t seen Cameron Diaz run across the snowy English countryside in heels and a gorgeous shearling coat?

But I digress.

The holidays are a time when we slow down, our routines thrown out the window. This is the time of year when I allow myself to truly veg out, often not moving from the couch except to get up to grab more food or to use the loo. 

However, when I do this for too long, my body feels extra creaky when I get up, my head feels like it’s filled with heavy cotton balls (is that a thing?), and the internal monologue is loud and makes me feel so guilty! (“You just wasted another day,” “You didn’t move at all!”, “You ate so much; you’re definitely going to gain weight.”) I just want to tell that voice to f*ck off, but I know it’ll persist. 

Over the years, I’ve learned how to quiet the judgmental voice and be a bit more active than usual during the holiday season and I’m sharing my top five tips here! 

Tip #1: Recognize that you are deserving of rest

For 358 days of the year, I’m betting that you’re more ON than off. This is the one time of the year, in the western hemisphere at least, when most people take time off, which means this is probably the time you can fully switch off without dreading going back to work to an inbox full of unread messages. 

Recognize that this is the perfect time to slow down and REST. This does NOT mean you’re lazy. Slow down, replenish your energy, and nourish yourself.

Tip #2: Add extra movement when you get up

When you get up to replenish your plate or to use the washroom, add an activity to get the blood flowing a little bit more. For example, before you lay back down: 

👉🏼 do ten squats 

👉🏼 go up and down the stairs three times

👉🏼 run on the spot for twenty seconds

👉🏼 have a dance break to your favourite song

You’re already up, so just add a bit of zest! 🍋

Tip #3: Plan for a longer activity once a day

Did you know that the World Health Organization recommends that adults should aim for 150-300 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity per week? That’s 21-43 minutes per day. (Note: This is just a recommendation – do what feels good for you!) This includes activities like walking around the neighbourhood, shovelling snow, sweeping the floor, slow dancing, or doing yoga. 

Something that works for me is actually planning to do a YouTube dance video or a HIIT workout at a specific time of the day. When I feel an internal resistance to doing anything active, I tell myself that I’ll only do a short video – I can return to the couch right after. More often than not, I’ll want to do more because I’m already active and because I actually feel good, moving my body.

Tip #4: Have a movement buddy so you’re not alone

If possible, have a movement buddy who knows what you’re going through – they love to veg, but they also struggle with moving more during the holidays – so you can encourage each other to move your bodies. 

For me, my sister is the one who gets me up from my sedentary state. It helps that she has a dog, so we’ve got that extra incentive to get up and out of the house. (Here’s my fur niece, Ivy, living her best life.)

And finally, my last tip,

Tip #5: Practice self-compassion

If you decide that moving that delectable body of yours just isn’t your thing right now – it’s okay! Try not to judge yourself for it because I can guarantee you that when the pleasure of doing nothing is tinged with other emotions (especially those pesky ones like guilt), the experience just isn’t the same!

So when you start noticing the negative self-talk, take a moment and ask yourself what you’d say to a friend in a similar situation. I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t say the things you say to yourself to a dear friend. 💛

In the meantime, let me know what you think! Will these tips be helpful for you? Is there anything you would add?

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