Staying motivated can be hard over the holidays. There’s more temptation in terms of distractions, social activities and obviously all the food that tends to be around at this time of year. There are a couple of popular ways of dealing with this. Some people say that a break, a change from the usual routine means that you return all motivated and fresh in the new year. Other people have the opinion that getting out of the healthy habits means that it can be harder to reinstate them. That once the body has acquired a taste for less healthy choices, and especially getting into the sugar roller coaster ride of ups and lows, it can be really hard to get off the ride.
I tend toward moderation and forgiveness. A few days where we can relax previously strict routine and forgive ourselves lapses in dietary control are OK. Sometimes letting ourselves remember how pooh and heavy in both mind and body we can feel after a meal of processed food is a great motivating factor. It can remind us that the reason we eat well and make time for relaxation and movement is because we feel so much better for doing so. This also helps when people who maybe don’t understand, who don’t live such a healthy life, consider our lives one of deprivation or restriction. Then we understand that is simply because they haven’t experienced the way it makes you feel. The contrast between feeling good from the inside out or permanently using props such as sugar or caffeine to stay enthusiastic throughout the day. They maybe don’t realise that actually it is more deprivation to feel constantly tired, blurry in mind and demotivated physically. That actually to restrict ourselves physically, to not allow our bodies to move and to play, or to allow our mind to expand and to open to opportunity is actually more restrictive.
So this holiday season be kind to yourself. If there’s a few days where you gym is closed, don’t beat yourself up…just move! Don’t vegetate in front of mindless TV and munch through boxes of chocolates, instead aim for quality. Quality relaxation as well as quality mobility.
Recognising that sometimes we need some down time and that is actually good for us. So enjoy this time for what it is, an annual time to reflect and to notice. To notice that when our bodies naturally slow in the darker evenings that this is fine. That we can enjoy gentler physical exercise or a change of activity rather than pushing onward with the same routine. Also recognise that just as a rest day is important in any training regime, so is relaxation time in general. Savasana, the relaxation at the end of a yoga class, is often considered the most important part. The time when your body accepts and acknowledges the benefits of the physical practice. This is an important lesson too about the seasons, maybe the winter is our natural savasana. The time when bodies need to relax a little, get more rest and recuperation ready for the longer warmer days ahead.
So be kind to yourself this holiday. Don’t succumb to the temptation of gluttony or social pressure to eat badly. Yet also don’t put pressure upon yourself to maintain the level of physical activity that you usually do. Listen to your bodies needs and practice acceptance. Enjoying maybe a little extra food or relaxation but not going to extremes in any direction.

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