As we welcome the holiday period, we too welcome indulgence, joy, and healthy habits that fly out the window….and that’s ok! After this troublesome year, I think we’ve all earned some much-needed rest and indulgence, don’t you? That being said, in between all the much deserved nourishing, it’s nice to also have the option of maintaining balance and self-care. Below I’ve listed some mindful, yet simple ways in which we can maintain our wellness during the Christmas and New Year period, whether you’re staying home or on the road visiting your nearest and dearest.
Of course, incorporating Pilates into your Christmas routine is highly recommended, not only will it allow you to feel aligned and strong, but it will also assist in keeping you calm and centered during this joyous, yet sometimes stressful time of year.
Here are my top 3 tips to help you throughout the holiday season
- Move your body Our bodies were designed to move, so take advantage of these beautiful Summer days by getting outdoors. Try a walk along the beach, swim a few laps in the pool or ocean, stroll through your neighbourhood and enjoy the light displays or treat yourself to a 30 minute online Pilates/Yoga class (check our Unite Health's IGTV for easy to follow Pilates routines). Movement also helps with digestion so this is a perfect way to soothe your insides in between all the feasting!
- Don’t punish yourself when it comes to food A blowout is inevitable on Christmas day, enjoy yourself and remember that it’s not an everyday occurrence (Tip: In between the bounty of festive food add a plate of fruit or salad). When it comes to our relationship with food the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and allow your body to enjoy life's little treats like Christmas pudding, pavlova, potato bake, glazed ham, or whatever it may be for you. Christmas day mantra: Be kind to your mind!
- Stay Hydrated Sounds obvious, but many people tend to mistake thirst for hunger. Try to drink 2 liters of water a day, this helps…
- Regulate your body temperature
- Keeping your joints lubricated
- Improve your sleep quality, cognition, and your overall mood.
- Deliver nutrients to cells, and;
- Helps your organs functioning properly.
Simple, mindful ways to move your body
Just five minutes of movement a day can help maintain mobility, below I’ve listed a handful of Pilates exercises you can do without the use of special equipment during the holidays.
- Roll-Ups Start by lying on your back with your legs flat on the floor, leg hip-distance apart, and arms extended overhead with your palms facing each other. Inhale as you slowly lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor (keep your neck in proper alignment by imagining a plum under your chin), and then exhale as you continue to roll up, reaching up and over toward your feet. Keep your core engaged with your spine rounded in a ‘C’ curve, and then inhale to prepare and exhale as you roll down one vertebra at a time, keeping your heels pressed evenly into the floor the whole time.
- Complete 5-10 reps, repeat 2-3 times.
- Sidekicks Start by lying on your side with ribs and hips aligned, and extend your legs slightly in front of your body (bottom leg bent for extra support if needed). Rest your head on your bottom arm and place your top hand on the mat in front of your abs. Next, raise your top leg to hip level, keeping your torso stable and core abdominals engaged, inhale as you flex your foot and draw your leg forward, and exhale as you point your foot and draw your leg back.
- Complete 5 -10 reps each side, repeat 2-3 times.
- Swimming Start on your stomach with your legs extended hit distance apart, allow your shoulders to relax away from your ears. Reach your arms straight overhead and engage your core. Gently lift your head away from the floor and keep it in line with your spine. Now, alternate lifting your left arm/right leg, then right arm/left leg, progressively moving them up and down in small pulses. Time your breath with the movement so that you are breathing in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts.
- Swim for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times.
- Cat-Cow In tabletop position, start by inhaling and engaging your core, exhale and arch your back into a deep c-curve, dropping your head between your arms. Inhale and hold then slowly unravel the other way as you exhale, just lifting your head far enough to look at the floor in front of your hands.
- Complete 5 -10 cat camel transitions.
In addition to the above mobility exercises, try incorporating Pilates cues into your day-to-day festivities. For example...
- Checking the ham or turkey in the oven? Engage your center as you bend down!
- Pouring a beverage? Lengthen through your spine and neck.
- Fixing a decoration on the tree? Relax your shoulders as you’re doing so.
Before you know it, the entire festive season will be filled with Pilates.
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Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year from the Unite Health Team. We look forward to seeing you rested and ready for a new, fabulous year!