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Christmas cheer or Christmas fear?? 4 steps to survive this silly season!

Updated: Dec 19, 2022




The traditions of the festive season can be exhilarating for many, while equally draining or heartbreaking for others.


Behind the smiles, the clink of the champagne glasses, and the familiar sound of tearing wrapping paper, many people carry around heavy hearts or an invisible blanket of anxiety or fear.

The journey to these feelings are varied… so as you look around you, think about someone you might be able to reach out to. Someone who might feel lonely, sad, or anxious around this time of year. An invitation to go for a casual jog, walk or coffee might just make their day, their week or their year!

I recognise that this is a fitness blog. So I will be focussing on physical activity and nutrition over the silly season but I just wanted to recognise your mental load over this period of time and how maintaining your physical health encourages mental health and well-being.


Grab a cuppa, a protein shake or a cocktail... lets dive into my 4 steps to surviving this silly season!

1. Drop the Guilt!


I want to start, by asking you to think back 12 months. Do you remember everything you ate on Christmas Day? Everything you drank on New Year’s Eve? Did you cancel social events because you were worried about overindulging? Can you remember something funny or heartwarming that happened during the holiday period? Were you fully present with your family, your friends and your actions?

Now think forward 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years. Will your training and nutrition on the 24th December 2022 to 2nd January 2023, really matter??

Now of course I am a strength and conditioning coach, and I want to motivate you to be physically fit and I advocate for your ideal mental wellness. But this looks different for everyone. So take your mask off, pop it in your top drawer and let’s drop the guilt and be true to ourselves. even if it’s just for 10 days a year!


So, how do we do this?? Read on....


2. Fine tune your current context


Where are you at right now?

  1. Have you been taking some time off and you’re keen to ramp it up while you're on leave?

  2. Have you been going hard all year (I see you trail runners) and you’re ready for a break? To rest? To recoup? Knowing come January, you’ll be ramping up again!

  3. Are you in a phase of maintenance where you can replace your structured efforts with some fun? Dance in the kitchen while basting the ham, jump on the trampoline with your kids, or learn how to dominate a skipping rope!

Control what you can! The biggest barrier to maintaining your health (both physically and mentally) during this season is time. For those who continue to work; have family or friends in town or staying with you; are travelling; or have several social commitments, your effort might look a bit different in this season.

Remember your WHY

  1. Why do you train the way you train?

  2. Why do you eat the way you do?

3. Every effort counts


  • Choosing to rest is an effort (right coach Andy 😉?? )

  • Maybe your effort is to indulge in foods you usually avoid, so, savour the taste, and the memories!

  • Maybe your effort is to sleep more, read more, play silly games

  • Own that effort, be present in it, enjoy it, take a photo or write a journal entry about it so it becomes a fond memory

  • Don’t let a 2 week period of the year rob you of the moments that matter. I guarantee you, while you’re running your goal event next year, or lifting the heaviest deadlift you have ever lifted, you won’t be thinking about the sessions you skipped over New Years, or the extra piece of pavlova your enjoyed at Christmas dinner!

On the contrary, some of us are coming out of a year of relative rest, rehabilitation, chaos or change (🙋🏼‍♀️) and you might finally get to take the time and do all the efforts that you’ve been missing out on all year. And that’s okay too, go for it! As above, just be present and remember your why!


4. Hope you've been doing your yoga! It's time to test your flexibility!


If this is yoga... sign me up!


You've heard the saying... fail to plan, you plan to fail! But I think this is too rigid! Have a flexible plan, yes! But instead of having a Monday- Sunday training schedule you might benefit from a list of sessions. Depending how your day is looking you can select an effort that will suit your family, your social life and yourself. For example:

  • 75 min trail run

  • 60 min interval session

  • 45 min strength session

  • 30 min stretch

  • 30 min swim

  • 20 min meditation

Write your plan NOW! Download our holiday health check and write up your plan. Go on… have you written it yet??

Holiday health check
.pdf
Download PDF • 5.96MB


So...what are your trainers up to this holiday season???


Claire: run like a dog!



Like this...but without the pram!


Have you ever taken a dog for a run? These are the most present animals around. They will be trotting along, enjoying the sun, tongue hanging out the side, holding a consistent pace, then their nose goes to the sky, then to the ground and then they stop dead because they have smelt something so enticing that they HAVE to stop and explore. That's going to be me! I am going to use the extra time, and the extra sets of hands around to watch the kids as I trot. But I have no expectations of how far or fast I will go. I'm going to hit the beach, and the trails (lol if you know me...you know I'm lying) and enjoy the view!


Brendan: not holding back!


I won't hold back when it comes to food or drinks and I'll enjoy myself! However I'll be fasting every morning until late afternoon and eating well when not at an event.


I'll be training at the gym 3-4 days a week with hill intervals, skipping, short runs or walks on the other days. Trying to do some form of exercise every day but allowing myself freedom!






Sophie: just another day in the office!


My training won’t change too much over the holiday period. Training for me is just a part of any normal day and it’s something I enjoy so that makes it easier for me to stay consistent when life gets busy.


Training will be less structured and more just moving because it feels good. This time of year is like an off-season for most runners with the major races not starting for another 3-4 months so it gives us a good time to get back to just enjoying running for what it is without any race pressure.


Last year I celebrated NYE with a 5km run at midnight which was a fun way to kick off the new year.



Andy 'Loves a Challenge' Smith:


You only celebrate Christmas once a year so why not create your own special celebration day by doing a challenge that is your personal “Christmas present” !


Examples of Christmas challenges I have done in the past:

  • Rower marathon (42.2km on the rowing machine)

  • 100 x 100m sprints every 45 seconds

  • Run 10 x repeats of the 10 steepest hills in Sydney in a single day

  • Run 50km a day for 7 days

  • Ride 1,000km over 7 days

  • Palm Beach to Manly run and stop to swim 400m at each rock pool along the way

So what’s my 2022/23 challenge ? - sand run a marathon





In conclusion: Own your efforts


Every morning you wake up remember these three things that are true about yourself, say it after me:

“I am breathing”

“I am grateful”

“I own my efforts”

Then choose one effort to care for yourself and your health for that day. Whether that’s drinking more water, exercising, stretching, playing, reaching out to someone who might need a friend. Own it, do it and be proud of yourself!!


Have a safe, happy and loving Christmas period from all of us at North Shore Running and Sydney Performance Lab! We can't wait for a big year full on fun, fitness and friendship in 2023!!

UP NEXT: goal creation! Join our workshop on January 8th and set yourself up for success in 2023!






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