‘Tis the season to be… grumpy? As the holidays approach, we all seem to lose our minds. Between holiday parties, shopping and the in-laws, we can quickly fall into some unhealthy patterns of stress. Here are some tips for staying on track (and sane) during the holiday season.

The key to success—managing stress, keeping your diet and training on track—during the holidays is to have a plan. Always have a plan. Spontaneity and variety can be fun, exciting, and can jump start you out of a rut, but during the holidays when time is short and the “To Do” lists are long, it’s important to stay focused. You don’t need to sacrifice all of the holiday fun, but neither do you need to sacrifice your training.

When approaching the holidays with the goal of staying healthy, don’t make the mistake of only focusing on diet and exercise. Your body is a complex machine, much more than food and movement. Be sure you are taking care of your mental health as well as the physical… consider sleep and stress. Avoid excuses. Stay focused.

Tips for staying on track

Budget everything—not just your money. A budget is merely having an allotted amount and creating a plan based on the resources you have. But the real key is following that plan. You have an allotted amount of time—to work, play, eat and sleep. Decide what your priorities are and then think through the next few months. You are the boss of how you spend it all. Don’t be pressured in to attending parties or events that you really don’t want to go to. Don’t impulse buy. Blowing your money based on holiday sales will leave you dealing with the stress of credit card bills after the fun of the holidays are over. Decide how you will spend your resources. You can’t have it all.

Balance life. Continue to train—there are the same 24 hours in each day. Continue to eat clean. That doesn’t mean that you have to lock yourself in and avoid all holiday parties. But one holiday party or a handful of cookies at work doesn’t mean that you’ve completely blown your diet and now you might as well forget clean eating for the day/week/month. Stay focused on your goals. You have to choose—what are you willing to sacrifice? You can enjoy yourself at parties, but when did enjoyment come to mean binge eating or drinking? Have dessert or have drinks. Or have both—just not at every party you attend. Don’t make others pay for your healthy choices, either. If you choose not to go to a party or eat certain foods, don’t whine to everyone about it. Be an example. Show your friends and family that making healthy choices is good, not miserable.

 Believe in something. Obviously, the holidays are full of religious traditions. Belief is important—it keeps you positive and looking forward. Belief can transform you from being self-centered to other-centered. I’m not just talking about believing in God, though. You need to believe in your own power to make choices. Figure out what you believe in, hold on to that, and let it drive all your decisions.

About Amy Lawson

Amy Lawson is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer, English teacher, wife of a strength coach and mom to 2 teen boys. She competes in CrossFit, Elite Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and just about anything else that presents a new and different challenge.

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