Tips to Keep Fit for Healthy Holidays

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and it’s just a few days away. However, Thanksgiving can certainly wreak havoc on your attempts to stay fit and healthy. It’s also a preview of what’s to come. The over-indulgence (and self-indulgence) of the holidays is right around the corner. But don’t worry–it really is possible to enjoy the festivities of the season without completely sabotaging your health and fitness. Since Thanksgiving weekend kicks the holiday season into high gear, here are a few easy and and practical fit tips to help you stay on track. 

Tips to keep moving.

As we say in the Feldenkrais community, movement is life! Having said that, it is crucial that you keep moving. If you are the one who is responsible for preparing the entire Thanksgiving feast, you can manage to burn off a few calories even while you’re cooking and cleaning. If you aren’t the head chef, you might have a bit more flexibility in your schedule for the day. However, please remember to include the person who is putting your special day together. Not only can they use a hand, they can also use a break. Here are a few suggestions to keep moving.     

    *Dance in the kitchen.

No, I’m not kidding. Even if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, standing for long periods of time is exhausting. What’s worse is that you can end up with back pain, hip and leg pain, a stiff neck, and sore shoulders. The solution? Put on some music while you’re cooking, cleaning, and setting the table. Boogie around the kitchen and dining room as much as you can. You’ll burn some calories, and as an added bonus, the movement will gently lubricate your joints and keep your muscles from getting stiff. You might not think it matters, but trust me, it does. And your body will thank you in return. Even small amounts of movement each and every day has a cumulative effect. It can make a huge difference on your health and fitness during the holidays and the rest of the year as well. 

    *Walk it off.    

Walking is fantastic exercise, and it’s also what I consider low maintenance. Which means, you don’t have to invest a lot of extra time to engage in a brisk walk to burn off some extra calories as well as excess stress at the same time. After all, it doesn’t matter if you are preparing a holiday meal for two people or twenty, it is still very stressful and a tremendous amount of work. Besides, if you’re expecting a guest or family member that doesn’t always behave during holiday get-togethers, that little endorphin burst will come in handy later in the day. Just in case you need it.

    *Play around.

Gather your family and/or guests together for a game of flag football, leaf gathering extravaganza, or a brisk run around the obstacle course at a local park before dinner if the weather permits. Or, you can always play in the snow if Suzie Snowflake pays a visit to your area, or stay inside for a game of ping pong or Twister if the weather is really bad. Playing ninja games is always one of my personal favorites with all of that hiding, disappearing, and running up walls, so to speak. Just use your imagination and see what you can come up with that everyone can enjoy. You could also try and plan it for after dinner, but I personally prefer the opportunity to slip into a gentle tryptophan and chardonnay induced coma. Yes, indeed, we all have our traditions to uphold.

These are just a few examples to help you keep moving through the holidays. Use your imagination and see what other tips you can come up with and please do not hesitate to share them with me and my readers. Most of all, if you do over-indulge a bit, don’t beat yourself up over it. After all, Thanksgiving is a holiday, and a time to count our blessings and to be grateful for all of our gifts, both great and small. And I am sincerely grateful to each and every one of you for being part of my life. You give me blessings above and beyond that which you could ever know. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Diary of Seven Days of Positivity: Part II

My diary of seven days of positivity certainly started with a bang. It was so good that I didn’t think anything else could quite live up to that fabulous day. I was wrong, as I discovered over the next two days.  

Dear Diary, Day Two:

The second day started off with another beautiful golden Colorado morning. It was Saturday, and I had the day off. After years of working Saturdays, I decided that I need to take weekends off. What a treat! Since I had the entire morning free, I baked banana bread from scratch. After all, is there any other kind? As the heavenly fragrance filled the kitchen, I got dinner ready in the crockpot. I do love my kitchen and love do to cook, when I have the time.

I also love going to pole class, and that was next on my agenda for my Saturday off. However, pole is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and that’s saying a lot. But, one thing I’ve noticed about pole class–the energy is always positive and uplifting, and we all encourage each other and celebrate each others’ progress throughout the entire class. Maybe that’s the real reason why I love it so much. Honestly, I believe that pole dancers must be the happiest people on earth. I guess when you have the ability to defy gravity, it gives you a different perspective on life, especially when you’re hanging upside down. 

My day ended with a fabulous finish with a long walk in the park with one of my dearest friends. Even though we’re close friends, we live so far apart that we rarely get to see each other. However, on this beautiful afternoon she just happened to be in my part of town, and we were able to enjoy some excellent girlfriend time. I drove home feeling warm and fuzzy, and it wasn’t just from hot flashes. This practice of positivity was pretty powerful and pervasive. 

Dear Diary, Day Three:

The next day I had to do the grocery shopping, which is not my favorite thing. I have a fantasy that all the groceries I need for the week will magically appear in my kitchen. So far that hasn’t worked out for me, so off I went to the store. When I walked to my car after doing my shopping, I was approached by a man asking me for money. He said he was hungry. I told him I didn’t have any cash on me (which was true). He smiled and thanked me anyway. He started to walk away when I had a head smacking moment. “Wait a minute,” I called after him. “I have bananas. Do you like bananas?”

His smile got bigger as he turned back toward me. “Yes, I like bananas,” he replied. I handed him 3 bananas with a curtsy, and he graciously bowed in return. As he bowed, I remembered I had a sandwich in my bags as well, which I bought to share with my husband for lunch. I dug it out of my bag and handed it over to him with a flourish. He accepted it with a twinkle in his eye. He had such a kind and gentle spirit, and I smiled to myself the entire way home. I was grateful that groceries didn’t magically appear in my kitchen.     

I could go on, and on, and on. Actually, Day Four was even better with an opportunity to laugh at myself. But you get the point. When it seems like you’re drowning in an ocean of bad news and negativity, it really isn’t that hard to turn it around. Just change your perspective a bit, and focus on what really matters. When you do that, life sure is a lot more fun, and the negative influences just fade into the background. 

Please feel free to share your own positive experiences….my readers and I would love to hear from you! After all, we can all benefit from positive stories. Don’t you agree? 

Life is Good: A Practice of Positivity

Life is good, and so are people. At least, most of them are, most of the time. But the past few weeks have been pretty brutal. As the election season went into overdrive, I was overwhelmed with the negativity associated with it. People just didn’t seem happy, and they weren’t being very nice to each other. As a matter of fact, some of them were downright nasty. The tsunami of negativity swirling around me threatened to sweep me away, never to be heard from again.   

Everywhere I went, people were either trying to draw me into a political conversation, or making snide remarks about both candidates and what they stood for. My attempts to change the subject didn’t work. So, when someone pressed me for my “honest” and candid opinion, I gave it. I was rewarded with verbal attacks on me and my character. Once it even earned me a glass of wine thrown at my face. Fortunately, I was able to get out of the line of fire in time, thanks to my outstanding ninja skills. But it sure was a waste of good wine as well as a wake up call. Perhaps when someone asked me for my honest opinion, they honestly didn’t want it unless it mirrored theirs.    

Time for a change.

It was time for me to come up with a new strategy. After all, one of the many things I learned in my Feldenkrais training is that there is always more than one option. Obviously my first two didn’t work, so I had to come up with another tactic, and I did. The next time someone tried to pull me into a political conversation, I simply nodded my head, kept my mouth shut, and tried to look intelligent as I followed their monologue. It appeared that I was intently following their conversation and carefully considering every word. But in reality I was mentally writing my grocery list for the following week. This technique worked so well that I progressed to creating a menu for the week, too. As a result, I came up with some fabulous new recipes to try.

As an additional distraction, I decided to make a practice of every positive encounter I experienced over the course of the next seven days. And what a revealing and uplifting practice it was! It reinforced my affirmation that life, indeed, is good. And so are people. At least most of them are, most of the time. Here is just a sample from the first day in my seven day diary of positivity.           

Day One and a life well-lived. 

I started the day with a fantastic session with two of my favorite clients. Awww, who am I kidding, all of my clients are special, and really terrific. After work I decided to treat myself to a manicure, and what a treat it was! I was fortunate to sit next to a delightful lady and had a wonderful conversation. She was 91 years young, and full of life, energy, and vitality. My kind of woman! She was a widow, and her husband had been a survivor of Pearl Harbor.

Once she started talking she just couldn’t stop. She shared many stories of her husband, her family, and their life together as well as his struggles from dealing with his experience in Pearl Harbor. It was fascinating, and the more stories she told me, the more questions I asked. to hear. 

What impressed me the most was her attitude. Although she and her family experienced a lot of difficult times, she never lost her positive outlook and happy disposition. I know that happiness is a choice, and so is positivity. Once my new found friend’s nails were dry, she bade me farewell and hopped into her snappy little sports car to drive home. I still smile when I think of her, and the affirmation that life, indeed, is good. And so are people. Sometimes we just need a little reminder. 

And to think, all of this positive energy flowed from just the first day, and there is still more yet to come. Until then, please share some of your positive stories with me and my readers. It’s always great to hear good news!