The holiday season is a weird time in my eyes when it comes to fitness. Some people let their fitness go in favor of engaging in holiday activities (with the chance to start back up in January). Other people keep their fitness routines intact during the holiday season. There are also all kinds of people who find themselves within the middle of these two practices.  Most of us however, have less time throughout the holiday season, so it is understandable overall fitness may take somewhat of a back seat. 

A majority of us also indulge in a lot of seasonal treats which are high calories. This may make someone workout even more so that any gains made aren’t lost. Either way it is a good time to evaluate one’s goals as it relates to fitness.  

The year is almost over so it’s a good time to reflect on what you’ve been doing all year.  Furthermore, planning for the next year is important during this time of year.  It’s hard to be efficient or effective if there is no plan.  In this regard, a “loss” can refer to fitness and how we tend to lose some of our physical capacity. “Restoration” can refer to gaining back the capacity you lost throughout the holidays. Loss and Restoration could also refer to one’s drive.  It’s tough to stay motivated during the holidays. It’s tough to start back up after a break.  Physically I know the more time I take off from fitness the harder it is to get back into a routine.  

November is a month of gratitude and experiencing loss is an effective way of opening one’s eyes to see how important something is and to give that something perspective.  The realization of a loss can be very motivating or demotivating depending on a number of variables.  Restoration can help us recover from a loss. A tool that I use is visualization. When I’m experiencing a loss and feel really low I use a restoration technique to help bring me back up to a point where I’m thinking more clearly and feel less negative.  I was asked by my therapist what activity tends to restore me the most.  I answered with the activity snowboarding.  When I’m on my board on a mountain I feel like there isn’t much in the world that could bother me.  So when experiencing a loss and needing to feel better I close my eyes for about 10-20 minutes and visualize what it’s like to snowboard.  After I am done I feel calm, collected, focused, able to concentrate, and I feel good mentally and physically.  Going for a walk is another activity which helps me to restore a sense of balance.  If I allow myself to dwell on losses for too long or too often makes it sometimes very difficult to get back in sync with restoration. This is when having someone to confide in really helps, personally speaking. 

The holidays seem to intensify things.  Holidays are very important to a lot of us and losing something during those times can definitely amplify that feeling. Restoration during the holidays can also seem to be more challenging because there is so much on our minds beyond the normal routine.  

I know that our bodies respond directly to what our brain is going through. The stress of a holiday can create the need for extra restoration.  I hope that after reading this someone can be aware of why restoration is important and how loss especially during the holidays can affect our mind, body, and spirit. When feeling a loss or needing restoration I know there are times where I want to beat up my body with a hard workout, but sometimes that makes things worse.  The best option I have found is when I’m in that position to do slow steady state cardio to get my blood pumping.  Then I do an activity like stretching or foam rolling so my body feels loose, relaxed, and not as tense.  A hard workout can increase cortisol levels and break us down even more.  A restorative session like light cardio and stretching can give us the good hormones without the hormones which break us down. 

If you have any questions related to exercise or fitness and the experience of loss or needing restoration please feel free to contact me. I would love to talk to anyone regarding this matter. I have my own experiences to share and therefore, also understand what workouts can do to the body and the endocrine system and which ones may suit your situation the best. I hope you all are able to restore and recover from whatever loss you may encounter this holiday season.  If you find your situation becomes too overwhelming, please reach out to anyone here at Ampersand Integrative Wellness and we will work together to provide you with a variety of helpful solutions to help achieve restoration where you may need it! 

 

Jesse Hershey

Personal Fitness Trainer

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