Here it is, the middle of November, and you’re already feeling the Holiday Pinch. As much as you try to keep the holidays at bay, ignoring the annoyingly early Christmas commercials and store displays and shunning the Christmas carols on the radio, the truth is that the holidays are creeping rather quickly into reality. And what’s often right alongside the holidays? Just a great big helping of holiday stress.
In case you’re wondering if you’re alone in your holiday-related anxiety, consider a 2006 American Psychological Association article that reported that sometimes of often during the holidays, 61% of us feel stress, 68% of us feel fatigue, and 52% of us feel irritability. 35% of us even feel anger! Yikes. That doesn’t sound very “jolly happy soul”-like to us.
Stress during this time of year is a reality, but it doesn’t have to get the better of you. Simply keeping regular with your studio workouts is a pretty effective way to keep your stress in check. How so?
- When you experience stress, it doesn’t just stay in your mind, but rather travels all throughout your body. So it makes sense that if your body feels better, then your mind will follow suit. Not only that, but exercise actually produces endorphins, or our body’s feel-good, natural painkillers. Endorphins in turn help us to sleep better, which also tends to reduce our stress.
- Exercise acts as an active meditation of sorts. Have you ever walked into your HIIT workout with a busy and stressed mind, only to walk out, realizing that you hardly gave your stress a second thought once the class started? Exercise does a great job of taking our minds off of what is bothering us. This holds especially true for a workout like the ones you do at FIT36, when the fast pace and intense routines require your attention. Feel overwhelmed with holiday to-do lists? They won’t seem so burdensome after your 36 minutes of sweating.
- Feeling nervous about seeing old friends at holiday parties? Hit it hard at HIIT. Exercise increases feelings of self-confidence and actually promotes relaxation. And what’s not to love about wowing some old pals with the new and improved, strong-as-heck you?
- One of our favorite things about exercise as a stress-reliever? It’s all-natural; no drugs, alcohol, or expensive therapy necessary. Not that counseling doesn’t have its place in helping people with various issues, but if exercise can take the place of at least some of our other modes of dealing with stress, why not? And exercise is a whole lot healthier than the other ways we often attempt to tackle stress. HIIT is one form of self-medicating we can support!
- Why not treat yourself? While we love the spirit of giving that comes alive during the holiday season, it shouldn’t overtake us so much that we forget to be good to ourselves. After all – we can only give as much as we have inside. Taking the time to treat yourself well this holiday season will pay off in many happy dividends.