What are some of our less-than-favorite things about holidays?
Sitting for hours.
Feeling uncomfortable from too much food.
Meltdowns from children (sitting for hours is hard when you’re a kid!).
Luckily, there is an free and simple solution to our cramps, nearly-naps, and meltdowns: movement.
We’re free to move our body before, during, and after any holiday as a way of taking care of ourselves.
Now, I’m not talking about exercise. I’m talking about small, easy, enjoyable ways we can move our bodies before, during, and after the holiday.
1. If you have out-of-town guests, take them for a hike or a walk.
Show your guests the best, most beautiful things your town has to offer: the pretty river walk, the bluffs overlooking the city, or the trail around the lake. They’ll probably welcome the opportunity to stretch their legs and get some air.
2. Run errands on foot or bike.
If the weather/schedule/geography allows, incorporate movement into your last-minute errands. Walk to buy the extra bottle of wine or bike to the grocery story to get the last minute things you forgot.
3. Play for the kids.
Sitting quietly for hours at a time is hard for anyone – particularly kids. If you’re not the one preparing the meal, make things easier for everyone by getting the kids out of the house before the holiday begins. Bring them to a playground or field, and give them space and time to have some fun. Join them and sneak in some movement for yourself!
4. Focus on what you need.
When things get busy, it’s tempting to put your own needs last. If you’re the type of person (like me) who functions better after some movement or alone time, then make sure it happens the day of holiday. Give yourself permission to step away from the noise and hustle for a moment to take care of yourself.
5. Take a walk between dinner and dessert.
You know that inevitable lull between dinner and dessert? When people are clearing the table and everyone’s tired and glassy-eyed but you know there’s dessert and coffee coming? Instead of powering through and stuffing your already full stomach, why not lead the family on a brisk walk? It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous – just 20 minutes around the neighborhood is fine – but it’ll clear your mind, settle your stomach, and wake you up a bit.
6. Get outside.
Just going outside after a big holiday meal for some fresh air is a nice way to close the evening. If you’re celebrating the holiday at somebody else’s place, walk home – or walk your guests home. If you do not want to go for a walk, sit on your front steps or porch, take some deep breaths and pat yourself on the back (you deserve it).
7. Take a few quiet moments for yourself.
Cooking for and hosting a crowd isn’t easy. Find a few minutes after the meal to sneak away and give yourself a break to reconnect with yourself. Maybe for you this means cutting out of dish duty or simply ducking into your bedroom to do a few simple stretches or just resting quietly for a few moments while you close your eyes.
Do you try to work movement into your holiday gatherings? If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
photo by Rovich // cc