With these few tips learn how you can mentally and physically prepare yourself in order to avoid stress and depression during the holiday season.
Mentally and Physically preparing yourself for the Holiday Season
It is no secret, the holidays are approaching and they are approaching very quickly! It seems like every year I tell myself this year will be different. There are things I am going to do differently so that the holiday is enjoyable. Now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my holiday, but there are so many stressors built around the holidays that can lead to anxiety, depression, sometimes even sadness that I have forced myself to take a mental timeout and assess why these feelings so seldom visit this time of year.
Anxiety. Dear lord the anxiety. Parties, shopping, gifts, food, traveling, the list goes on and on. If I get one more party invitation being asked to join another gift exchange I might crack. The holidays are a time everyone wants to get together, and while yes it is wonderful to know that people want to have you around this time of year, we have to learn how to say: “No”, “I politely decline”, “Sorry I can’t participate in your white elephant this year” (I mean I’m just going to go home with my own gift at the end of the night anyway). How many of us feel the obligations to commit to everything every year? This has to stop. When you pull yourself in every different direction to make everyone else happy, you are forgetting who the important one to make happy is. YOU.
Depression. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: You spent all summer living your best life, worked out every day, ate like a champ, drank a gallon of water a day, relaxed around the pool, mowed the grass with your shirt off because yes sir you were in shape and dad bod was a thing of the past. You were crushing it at work because you were crushing it in life. Now, fast forward a few months, the leaves have started to fall, the days are getting shorter, colder, and if you are like me and live in the Northeast part of the US, just gloomy all the time. Hello depression. Who wants to stay inside where it’s warm? Maybe skip a workout today and veg out in front of the television? Before you know it, it turns into a downward spiral and the motivation to be productive is now slipping away. I know you’ve been there, who hasn’t. According to the American Psychiatric Association Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
So yes, the holidays aren’t always the “most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. However, there are ways to avoid getting to this point and actually enjoying yourself! I’ve combined a short list of things to do in preparation for the approaching holidays to be both mentally and physically prepared:
- Budget. Make a budget for your holiday spending. Be specific, what will you be able to afford on family gifts, party food, Christmas decorations, holiday events, even holiday attire. Take the extra time to really break down your finances to see what you will be able to afford, so when the holidays are over you aren’t losing sleep over maxed out credit cards.
- Exercise. Time is precious during those holiday weeks. So treat exercise like it is your job, literally, and if you don’t put one hour of work in at least 4-5 times a week you are going to be demoted. Take a walk or exercise from home if you can’t get to the gym. Shelter Fitness offers some wonderful, affordable equipment that is easy to use right from your living room.
- Watch your Calories. With holidays comes those extra calories. Download yourself a calorie counter such as myfitnesspal to help give you an idea of how many extra calories you are taking in. When you see on the screen how many calories are in that one Christmas cookie you just snagged, you might have a little more self-restraint when offered a second.
- Rest. If nothing else, focus on getting a proper night’s sleep and a few breaks throughout the day. Running around all day we forget to take a break. 7+ hours of sleep is the recommended amount of good quality sleep you need to keep the body rested and re-energized.
- Hydration. Keep good attention to your water intake in a days time. It is recommended for men to drink approximately 15.5 cups per day and women to drink 11.5 cups per day in order to maintain proper hydration. Fill a water bottle up and carry it around with you all day.
Don’t let the holidays turn into an unenjoyable time of the year. This is the time of year for family, friends, love, and joy! Make the best of it my friends. Happy Holidays!
Author Bio - Michael Lucas
Before finishing his professional baseball career as a pitcher, within the Chicago White Sox organization, Michael Lucas was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. Growing up, he was always involved in sports, specifically baseball. As he progressed as a pitcher, he started to become more passionate about the mechanics and the things he considered to be controllable. Naturally, strength and conditioning became a focus of his as he progressed through being a 4-year starter at Division 1 Xavier University to starting his professional baseball career with the Chicago White Sox organization. The son of a chiropractor and teacher, Michael has been aware of mechanics and the importance of proper movements even before having success with baseball. The cross pollination of his athletic career alongside his passion of mechanics and teaching gives him a unique perspective on the development of athletes.
While teaching and training remain a focus of Michaels, his absorption lies within helping athletes achieve their goals through the quality products and services provided by Shelter Fitness; a leading e-commerce fitness company co-founded by Michael and his former teammate at Xavier University and brother, Matt Lucas. Michael continues to challenge himself both personally and professionally through multiple channels. He remains involved in professional baseball through various professional organizations and high-level relationships. Michael currently resides in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania with his wife and children.
I am not a medical doctor, nor do I hold a professional license in the medical field. The information presented is solely based on my experiences as a professional athlete and for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician prior to any new or changing fitness endeavors. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities promoted by this site.