The impending holidays call for some R & R, typically accompanied by soul food, excess amounts of alcohol and a lack of activity. As this month begins, it’s important to remember just where our mindsets will be come January 1.
Get ahead of your New Year’s Resolution and take this month to try out new health and fitness activities so you don’t feel as much pressure when the clock strikes midnight.
1. Try a yoga class
Yoga shouldn’t make you feel emasculated. In fact, yoga is proven to be amazing for our minds and bodies, so don’t let the Lululemon-clad, middle-aged women scare you. Yoga prevents injuries, ease pain from various medical conditions, and allow us to forget about the clutter of our lives. But, if you still can’t find the guts to enter a predominately women’s class, Broga is the latest yoga craze for dudes.
2. Try a healthy new recipe
A hearty winter soup? Or maybe a winter salad? Trying new recipes gets us out of our seats and busy in the kitchen. Enlist your significant other or a friend to try making the recipe with you. You never know, you may just find your new specialty dish, or learn that you love cooking. Sip on some healthy holiday beverages while you’re at it!
Ring bells for Salvation Army or spend a day packaging food at your local food bank. Giving back and helping the less fortunate is not only a selfless thing to do around the holidays, but we also reap benefits of volunteering – psychologically.
“People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness,” says Mark Synder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, as he told to U.S. News. In addition, perform random acts of kindness!
4. Set a fitness goal
Whether you want to drop 5 pounds or get more toned by the end of the holiday season, set a goal and stick to it. When you have a specific thing to work toward, you’ll be more likely to get out of the house and accomplish it. When your schedule is riddled with holiday parties, don’t hold back, but don’t go all out. It is good to allow yourself some cheats here or there. Other tips: work out during lunch (if you have an event afterward), plan meals and activities in advance, and stay motivated to meet your set goal.
5. Put down your phone when you’re with family
Family time, no matter how painful it may seem, won’t last forever. Wake up your snoozing grandma, turn on some music and encourage a game of monopoly or cards. Technology is proven to be bad for prolonged periods. Turn off the electronics to foster your reflective and creative self.
6. Do an activity in the snow
Working out in the snow increases the amount of calories we burn because you are pushing your body harder to trek through a barrier. Even walking, running, or playing with young kids in the snow can amp up calorie burn – plus cold weather makes your heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. This will make the heart muscle of those in great cardiovascular health even stronger.
7. Plan ahead
In the New Year, we set a resolution just because everyone else is. Half the time we are working toward something we only feel half-passionate about. Take time to reflect before the New Year starts of what you’re proud of accomplishing this year, and what you can do better the next. Going into the New Year, we won’t feel pressure to figure out what it is we want to start fresh. Be it a weight loss journey, a plan to get more sleep or a plan to strengthen your relationships, planning ahead is always beneficial.