08 Dec How To Keep The Merry In Your Christmas: for fitness competitors who struggle with holiday blues.
By: Tanya Burk
The holidays are supposed to be bright, cheery, and wonderful! What if they aren’t though? Depression can occur during the holidays, and if you’ve ever struggled in this area you know that holiday blues are much more than a theme for songs. A battle with depression and anxiety that occurs during the holiday season can be devastating, leaving you feeling out of sync with the rest of the world that is beaming with Christmas cheer. Fitness competitors that deal with these kinds of struggles get a double whammy as the holidays fall during the time of year when the competition season has come to a screeching close. Although this season can be used as a time of improvement, the short term goal of a show is nowhere in sight. The added body weight from not being in show prep mode doesn’t help the competitor feel any better during this time. At TwinFitness we understand the potential emotional pitfalls this time of year may bring. We have some tips for helping you stay on your game and out of the prison of depression and anxiety during this time.
1. Although you are not in show prep mode, eat right! You know as a fitness competitor that nutrition is key to how your body looks. It is also a key factor in how you feel and think. “You are what you eat” is so much more than how you look on the outside – it is how your body functions, how you think, and how you feel. Even though your nutrition plan is not as tight as it is in show prep mode, keep it clean! Choose foods that boost your mood. Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may help in this area. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel have omega-3s along with flaxseed, nuts, and dark green vegetables! Try to stay within 5-10 pounds of your competition weight, and don’t allow yourself to go crazy with extra food consumption during the holidays!
2. Stay connected! Although the Holidays are supposed to be filled with family and friends there are plenty of days within the season where you are not with family and friends. This is when loneliness can peak. Make a point to get together with people and stay connected. Talking with a trusted friend about how you are feeling may help boost your mood. If a lot of social events involve food you shouldn’t indulge in, create a social event with like-minded fitness enthusiast. You could plan a get together that involves activity, and not food – like a scavenger hunt, shopping with friends, caroling, hiking, or doing service projects together. If you usually workout alone, this may be a great time to try working out in a group setting. Connections with other people can help you overcome the sluggish, lonely feelings of depression. Remember all those lunch dates you turned down during show prep mode? Now is the time to get together with a friend for a healthy lunch!
3. Try something new! Your workout schedule is probably not as strenuous this time of year, allowing you time to do those things you say you never have time for! Being creative and trying something new is good for you! It may help you in a variety of ways! You will probably meet new people! Take advantage of this time and get out there and explore a new adventure! You
have worked hard for your health and fitness, now go out and enjoy living your life healthy and fit!
4. Don’t stop working out! Most fitness competitors don’t completely stop working out during the improvement season. Most of us work out a little less, but we focus on parts of our body we need to tweak for the next show season. Some competitors feel that they need to take a break from the gym during this time, so they don’t burn themselves out. If that is the case, don’t stop working out completely! Studies show that exercise has the same effect on some people as taking antidepressants! If you need a break from the weight room or cardio machines, find a new way to exercise during this time. Take a Pilates or yoga class. Try an outside hobby that involves exercise, like ice skating or hiking. No matter how much you may think you need a break, do not completely stop moving! Eating looser and doing less exercise equals one thing – weight gain. Extreme weight gain is going to make depression and anxiety worse. Keep moving to ward off the blues!
This year the Elite Coaching team created an Improvement and Recovery Program to keep our competitors accountable and on track during this time of year. Having an intent program in place is proving to be a wonderful tool to help our competitors stay focused on their fitness goals, even without a show in the near future. The comradery of this group, along with the plans it has in place is giving our competitors a great outlet for staying positive during the holiday season!
If you do feel depressed during this time, you are not alone. I wrote this blog for you! At TwinFitness, we want you to know you are not forgotten. We believe in you! Think of all you accomplished last year! You are a goal setter, a go-getter, and we (along with many others) admire your competitive spirit. Channel that spirit, and use these tips to keep yourself merry and fit this season, and always!