Staying healthy over the holidays can be a challenge for even the best of us. Balancing family, traditions, and our own mental and physical health can take its toll. At Pilates in the Grove, we don’t just stop at the physical. So we wanted to give you the ultimate holiday health guide for your complete wellness this holiday.
Holiday Health Focus: Mental Health
The holidays can be positive and negative on our mental health so it’s important to listen to our own needs. Here are a few ways you can avoid being overwhelmed!
Take a Breath
Feeling tense or stressed? Breathing exercises can help you stay calm and truly enjoy the day. Of course, Pilates has mental health benefits. But if you don’t have time for a full session, then just being mindful of your breathing is a great way to relax and put yourself in a better mindset.
It’s Okay to Say No
For those who are stressed or anxious and get triggered over the holidays, it can be overwhelming! It’s okay to say no to activities or meet-ups if it’s going to damage your mental health. If groups are a problem, politely decline and arrange to meet up with individuals over the holidays instead.
Ultimately your mental health is important so if you feel you’re being pushed too hard, remember it’s okay to say no.
Mental Health Resources:
- Learn more about the mental health benefits of Pilates here
- Try these breathing exercises to release stress and tension
- For mental health support, check out the Miami-Dade County National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) here
- Find out whether pets help with mental health here
- ‘Tis the season to relax!
- The power of ‘no’
Holiday Health Focus: Nutrition
Whether it’s cookies, cakes, or other holiday treats, nutrition can really take a hit! Here are some of the ways you can keep up with healthy eating:
With plenty of food served, it often means we try to rush through meals. We’re all in favor of dessert but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t savor what we have in front of us. In fact, if you eat slower, and spend more time enjoying your food, you feel less hungry and less likely to overindulge!
Bigger plates shouldn’t always equal a bigger meal. Serve-yourself style tables over the holidays make it easy to overeat. Avoid grazing and instead put all of the food on your plate at once before you start eating. This gives you a clear indicator of how much is on your plate. You can then divide your plate into sections to make it easier to know what you are eating. A good rule is to make sure at least half your plate is vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter carbohydrates.
Switch Out Your Ingredients
Are cakes a favorite and you don’t want to miss out? Try something different and bake by switching out the flour or sugar for healthier alternatives. You could even set a family challenge where everyone can only bring a healthy dessert. Have a competition to see who is the most creative and bakes the most delicious treat! It gets everyone involved and stops you from giving in to the sweet tooth!
- How to read a food label
- Healthy eating tips for the holidays (and every day)
- Portions sizes for adults
- Genine’s Top 50 Diet Mistakes
Holiday Health Focus: Staying Pain-Free
Do you have an injury that tends to pop up over the holidays? This can happen because we spend more time sitting and less time moving. Or we move more, in unusual positions like being on the floor with the kids. Here are a few ways to prevent the pain:
Take a Rest
It’s okay to take a rest if you’re feeling in pain over the holidays. Many families use holidays as an opportunity to do activities that aren’t always conducive to those with an injury. Know your body’s limits and be prepared to take a rest and join back in with the festivities when you’re feeling better.
Take a Walk
It seems like the complete opposite of what we just said, right? Well, it is and it’s not. If you find yourself sitting at the table, or the sofa, or on a stool for too long, actively get yourself to walk around. This is particularly true if you’re usually an active person. Sitting can shorten your hip flexors and aggravate existing back injuries. Finding a healthy balance between rest and movement is the goal!
Bring a Towel
Dining chairs, in particular, aren’t very ergonomic. This means it can force the natural curvature of our spine to be less supported, leading to low back pain. To try and combat this, roll up a towel (like you would find them in a hotel) and place it at the small of your back when you’re on the chair. This is an inexpensive way to give your lower back support when you’re sitting in chairs that aren’t comfortable for your injury.
Don’t Forget Your Stretches
The holidays make it easy to fall out of our daily routine and stretches are often the first to go. Yes, it can seem annoying to carve out 10-20 minutes to complete your stretches. But it’s better than taking a step back in your pain management program and struggling to enjoy the holidays. If you can’t find 20 minutes to do them all together, why not break them up? Do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night and stay pain-free.
Resources for Pain Management
- Physical Therapy session with one of our expert trainers to diagnose the problem
- Mobility for low back pain
- Sitting is the new smoking!
- How to get on and off the floor over the holidays
- Does Pilates help with Osteoporosis?
- What is shoulder impingement syndrome?
Holiday Health Focus: Pilates Practice
All routine tends to go out of the window during the holidays which means you may not be able to make your usual class! That’s okay, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your Pilates altogether!
The early bird gets the worm, and in the case of the holidays, all the cookies too! Try getting up and fitting in a full Pilates workout before your day starts. This means you won’t have to give up any of the festivities and it gets it done early in case you’re feeling a little merry later.
Involve the Family
Become a Pilates teacher for the day and get your family involved. The kids can even try it too! You never know, you may foster a love for exercise and Pilates in the rest of your family. Just make sure to start off with something simple and easy.
Foam Roll It Out
Don’t feel disheartened if you can’t fit in your Pilates exercise. A great alternative to relax and stretch your muscles is to foam roll instead. It doesn’t take much time or space and it can work wonders!
Pilates Resources for the Holidays:
- Exhausted by the holiday hustle and bustle? Escape into Pilates
- Five travel tips for Pilates this holiday season
- Try one of our Pilates videos
- Can I do Pilates at home?
- Five daily exercises to keep your body strong and healthy
Here at Pilates in the Grove, we want you to have an amazing holiday season. Hopefully our Ultimate Holiday Health Guide will have given you all the resources you need for total body wellness!
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