Gotta Run: Ten ways to stay on track with wellness for the holidays

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them will come an uncertainty about how to survive the physical, mental and emotional challenges of the period. This six-week period has the potential to wreck all three of these challenges. Although I likely may struggle as well, here’s my list of how I plan to cope. The goal is to still feel good come Jan. 2, the time that most people hit the gym and try other methods to get back on track. Holidays are not a free pass to derail the wellness train.

• Keep track of your to-do list and plan ahead. Doing this will help you enjoy the holiday season more. Limit the surprises.

• Keep up most of your personal routine, including exercise. Exercise relieves anxiety and increases mental acuity. Make the days as normal as possible.

• Of course, there will be much to-do about eating. Practice self-control and don’t overindulge. Start the meals with regular portions of the things you really like, but don’t rush the process. Eating slowly lets you feel full naturally. Have a treat or two but don’t skip meals to save up room. Offer to bring a healthy dish as a reminder to yourself.  Studies show that half of weight gained over the holidays is never lost.

• Drink water. You’ve heard me say it dozens of times. Water is the key to your health, and nearly all of us are dehydrated on a regular basis. Every part of your body, including your organs, needs proper hydration to function at its best.

• Sleep enough! Those same people, and again that is nearly all of us, are sleep deficient too. Enough sleep helps to keep your energy level at its best and your anxiety at a lower level.

• Go sparingly on any alcohol consumption. Alcohol impedes mental faculties, impairs your memory and packs on plenty of empty calories.

• Focus on connecting with the people that you care about instead of the food and alcohol. Take time to catch up but be more of a listener than a talker. The best conversations are when you’re learning about the other person, something you won’t be when talking too much.

• Set aside me-time to recharge. Get away from others while taking a certain period to de-stress. Go for a walk, do some yoga or just read for fun. A common phrase around the fitness industry goes something like this, “You’ll be better for others if you make sure to take some time for yourself.”

• Start thinking about your plan for the new year. Challenge yourself to better fitness. Find an exercise program you like and if new to you, begin your research.

• And my own personal favorite, do something unexpected for another person. Remember that 43% of Americans are single and 27% live alone. Loneliness and grief both peak around the holiday period. I’m picking out a person a day for either a gift of time or something they need.

Pleasing everyone during the holidays is unrealistic and the pressure to do it adds more stress. Hopefully these tips make yours and my holiday season as merry and fun as possible.

Plenty of races are ahead for the holiday season. A Thanksgiving tradition for many is the Butterball 5K held at The Forum on Turkey Day. Race director Rayna Gardner promises calories burned and a quick get-away to your next Thanksgiving event. The race benefits Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.

New this year is the Freeze Your Buns 5K at Spencer’s Winterfest Festival on Dec. 4. Start time is 2 p.m. across the street from the Transportation Museum. Proceeds support the festival. 

One of our oldest races in the county is the Santa’s Run for Hunger and Bigfoot Reunion 5K held at the Millbridge Ruritan building next to Sloan Park on Dec. 11. We can almost guarantee both a Bigfoot and Santa sighting that morning. Rowan Helping Ministries gets the proceeds from this one.

All this and more can be found at