A Wellness Plan for the Holiday Season

As a Certified Wellness Coach, one of the first things I often do with my clients is  help them develop their own customized Wellness Plan.  This is a plan tailored individually to them and their unique needs and lifestyle.  Everyone’s life and circumstances are different, so there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to a Wellness Plan.  A plan that might work perfectly for one person might not fit at all for another.

Before the season is in full swing, you might want to consider giving some thought to what you need to feel and be at your best in the coming weeks.  The components of a Wellness Plan can vary from one person to the next, but here are some you might want to consider including.

  • Nutrition – how you eat, and what you eat.  When do you feel at your best?  What foods seem to give you energy, and which ones drag you down?  Since so many activities revolve around eating during the holidays, awareness of what you are eating and how it affects you can be significant.For example, if you tend towards drinking sodas, coffee drinks, sports drinks, and juices sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (as many are), you’re adding in increased calories and sugar.   Water, on the other hand, goes a long toward enhancing health.  Every cell in your body needs it to function well, and it also helps with digestion.   You might want to include in your wellness plan the following:

    I will substitute sugary drinks for water and drink six to eight glasses a day.  I will start and end my day with a tall glass of water and keep a water bottle with me during the day.

  • Exercise – What’s the minimum you need to be at your best?  What type of exercise will you do and when will you do it?  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week.  This can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).  Your plan might read:

    I will do at least a 30 minute cardio workout of moderate intensity Monday through Friday.

  • Sleep – Sleep is essential for optimal functioning.  How much you need will vary from one person to another, but most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.  A good night’s sleep is restorative, so you may want to include a regular sleep/wake schedule in your plan.  Most experts recommend going to bed and waking at the same time each night – consider what you need to feel and look your best.
  • Stress and Time Management – Do you feel extra stressed around the holidays?  As much as being the season of love and good cheer, the holidays are often also the season of additional pressures on our time, our energy and our finances.  Knowing this, it may be important to include some strategies for dealing with stress, and staying out of overwhelm.  For example, if too many holiday festivities end up leaving you frazzled or drained, you may want to consider this going into the season.  Your wellness plan might include reducing the amount of stress you experience by picking 2or 3 holiday festivities you truly enjoy and letting go of others.

Something else to include in your plan might be defining your limits. There’s no rule that says you have to stay at the party all night.  If there are certain activities (or a difficult relation) you prefer to avoid at other times of the year, have an advance strategy for how you’ll cope, and limit your exposure.  Be sure to include those things that fill you up and restore you.  This can be as simple as watching a holiday movie with your spouse and kids, reading a book by the fire, or plain and simple downtime.

Think about how you feel when you are at your best.  What is that like for you?  What kinds of things are you doing?  How much are you sleeping, exercising?  How much downtime do you need?   The best Wellness Plan is one that gets you through the holidays feeling healthy, happy and strong.  The better you feel, the more you can enjoy the season and give to those special people around you.  And isn’t that really what the holidays are about?

Coach’s action step:   Pick the areas above, or create your own, and craft your own custom Wellness Plan for the holiday season.  Include in it whatever you need to feel and be at your best.  Make it your blueprint for how to navigate the holidays  in peak condition.

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