FitFluential Five – the “me first” approach to balance during the holidays

I’ve just become the newest (and proudest) member of the FitFluential Ambassadors and so far, all I can say is this: damn is this one highly inspired, motivated, driven and fit bunch of people! I LOVE IT and am so glad I took the plunge. (check out the FitFluential blog here if you haven’t already)

One of the areas we’ve been talking about lately is the concept of balance…and the holidays. The one time of year that tends to toss as many curveballs at us as possible. From holiday parties with friends, to the loads of treats that magically appear at the office, to the many, many, many “reasons” to skip the gym –the balancing act is just so much tougher for most of us this time of year.

Personally, in the last couple of years, I’ve taken the “me first” approach to the holidays, as terrible as that may sound, initially.

But hear me out….

“Me First” and the holidays – a FitFluential Five:

1 – Get comfortable with the word “no.” Just because you’ve been invited to the sixteenth holiday party in the two weeks leading into Christmas and New Years, doesn’t mean you automatically have to accept the invite. If you’re feeling spread entirely too thin, that you’re here, there, and everywhere and feel a little lost? My advice is that “no” is ok. No guilt needed. Your friends will understand.True friends will, anyway.

2- Consistently aim for “me first”  moments in your day. The hours in the day somehow get shorter and shorter as the holidays near. So maybe you aren’t able to get your usually killer workouts in (in their entirety, anyway) some weeks. Instead of giving up entirely, throwing in the towel “until the new year” – aim for mini “me first” moments in your day. Drop and do a set of planks and push-ups before bed. Get up a few minutes earlier to stretch out sore muscles. Take a quick walk during the day at work to grab a coffee – enjoy the few minutes of fresh air and that time *not* spent at your desk. Those little “me first” moments will add up, keeping you sane and centered. Balanced. Of course, if you can stick to your workout schedule as much as you can during the holidays, all the better. If you’re like me, you’ll no doubt feel much more centered with a semblance of workout consistency amid  the holiday fun.

3 – Eat well. Consistently. Seems like a no-brainer but I think it’s far easier to throw caution to the wind when the word “holiday” comes into play. It’s like suddenly the unspoken rule of “it’s the holidays, do it up!” comes out in full force. And before I go any further, I’ll stop and say – I’m not a party pooper, I swear. I love good wine, good chocolate, good food. But I also like to feel like “me” during the holidays – which means eating like “me” as consistently as I can during the holidays. Choosing my battles – an extra glass of wine or the frosted sugar cookie I spy on the dessert table at the holiday party. You get the idea.

4 – Make every moment count. One of my biggest faults is “can’t waiting” for the weekend, for the next social outing, for the next date night, etc. I end up rushing through life when I do that and miss out on the little moments that make the world go ‘round. It happens even more during the holidays. Sometimes the best way (for me) to slow down and embrace every moment is to literally stop myself in my tracks and whisper to myself “slow down.” I did this last night, actually. I was starting to panic about all of the holiday parties I’m hosting this year and I was sucking the joy right out of the whole thing. I pulled back. Settled into the couch. And made a to-do/to-buy list. A giant one. Assigned dates to each item. And suddenly, I was calm again. Everything felt doable. Not stressful. I felt calm and excited to embrace every single holiday moment spent with loved ones.

5 – Just be. My friend Steph has instilled this mantra in me this year. This goes hand-in-hand with #4 in that the more I step back, focus on moments and memories, the more I’m able to stay in the moment and just be…happy, fulfilled, content, joyful, energized, just…me.

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30 thoughts on “FitFluential Five – the “me first” approach to balance during the holidays

  1. Congratulations! No one ever asks me to join anything (insert sarcastic self-pity face here).

    I think the Holidays are antiquated and for the most part people get all worked up over nothing. It’s about being thankful, reflecting, reuniting with family, and getting drunk enough to endure the next 3 months of horrible weather.

    Ok, that was oversimplified. My point being, people get too worked up about fitting the formula. Make the formula fit you!

    • What a great perspective – and one that I happen to agree with, too. I think it’s important to use the holidays as an experience to remember with friends and family – not an all out excuse to throw away your usual healthy approach to life. There’s a fine balancing act that comes into play of course – because like you said, an extra glass of wine or your favorite treat? I wouldn’t say no to either one, I just wouldn’t say “yes” to a whole plate of cookies. Ha!

      Love what you said at the end – make the formula fit you, amen!

  2. Great post!! I think #1 is SO important – too many times my mom fills my plate with entirely too much unhealthy food or my friends want me to have a couple of more drinks (when I have a long run planned for the next day!). Saying “no” should be something we all are comfortable with.
    Found your blog via FF – looking forward to following you as a fellow ambassador =)

    • Why hello there my fellow FitFluential! I can’t wait to mosey on over to your blog to check it out! 🙂

      I hate when food is forced on me — happens a lot with grandparents in particular, they just want to show love with food, you know? But once you figure out how not to hurt feelings by saying “no” to stuff like that, you feel better and they start to respect the boundaries a bit more, ya know?

  3. YES – loved this post my friend. I absolutely agree with all of your points (go figure right LOL). Have “me” time is not selfish, it’s soooo important. You know what I thought you might do with this post – play off your blog name. That fits so well too. 😉 So happy you joined the FitFluential group!

    • Shocked that you agree with me, absolutely stunned. 😉

      It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to please everyone and forgetting to please one very important person – YOU! Nothing at all wrong with putting yourself first, especially during the hectic, crazy holiday season.

      Ohh that would’ve been a great idea for this post – darn it! haha

  4. So glad you are learning, sharing and enjoying the group! There is something unselfish about honestly taking care of yourself during the holidays. Trying to stay on my routine is going to be hard in the coming weeks but I will do everything I can to stay focused:)

  5. Congrats sis, much deserved. I agree with your points, especially about the me-first ‘tude because so many consider it selfish and go the opposite, completely selfLESS and then they are short changed. we all need a little me-first in our lives and to enjoy the holidays for ourselves, not just go to obligatory parties etc.

    • Right – like give, give, give until there’s nothing at ALL left to give of yourself and then you’re left feeling empty and like the joy of the season has been stolen from you. Not a good feeling at all. Me first is a good mantra, not just during the holidays but all the time – in the most unselfish way possible!

    • Precisely – it *is* just like any other time of year….just usually a little bit busier and more social, but that’s ok (and fun), it just means remembering that balance is still important and totally achievable with the right mindset.

  6. Congrats on being a FitFluential Ambassador!

    I am very guilty of the “can’t wait” mentality. I’ve actually read a few books about trying to live more in the moment.

    • I’ve been trying to focus more and more on getting and staying present. Hence my attempt at less plugged-in-ness on weekends and even at night if I can help it. It’s so important to learn not to rush through life just to get to the good parts (like reading the end of a book before you read the beginning). I know I’ve missed lots of little moments in my haste to rush through things and I don’t want to do that anymore. What books have you been reading? Has it helped?

  7. Congratulations! You are perfect for this role, and I love the tips in this post. I definitely relate to the 1st one this time of year. We have to have our social boundaries, right? I need a night at home every now and then. 🙂

    • Aw, thank you my dear! I love it!

      Absolutely – there does need to be social boundaries sometimes, even if it means turning down a cocktail party invite or two now and then. Sometimes a night spent on the couch is just way more inviting, right?

  8. yay fitfluential!! you deserve it lady!!

    good tips! im definitely going to aim for healthy eating…ive already planned a grocery trip when i go home since my house doesnt always have healthy selections. i also think its important not to beat yourself up…if you indulge at a party…thats fine, get back on the healthy horse and move forward. great post!

  9. Big Congrats!!!! I love your list…and I really like the concept of getting comfortable with saying no. I love me a little indulgent eating over the holidays, but I never splurge on alcohol. Honestly, I don’t enjoy it that much & I hate feeling like crap the next day. Not to mention, I’m wacky enough without it  However, my in-laws are VERY social people, therefore we have many parties to go to. Everyone gets kind of wierded out when I don’t drink, or limit myself to 1. Oh well, that’s their issue.

    • That’s like me with saying ‘no’ to too many cookies or whatever when I’m at a party or family gathering. I get such the “look” by some friends/family who sit there thinking “c’mon, she doesn’t ‘need’ to watch her weight” when really? It’s got nothing to do with that and everything to do with not wanting to gorge myself on things I know will make me feel icky later. Sure, one cookie is an awesome treat, but multiple, plus all the more decadent food that comes up at holiday parties and that icky feeling is bound to pop up and I’d rather not, thank you! Now wine – that’s a different story. To each his/her own, I say!

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