Join me during December as I count down ten tips for practicing self-care during the stressful festive season.

Staying physically active and eating well are key to maintaining vitality for as long as possible. With both of these things, the primary aim isn’t related to weight, but to improving body strength and function, maintaining heart health, and fostering mental wellbeing.

When it comes to physical activity, any amount is great. In ideal circumstances, most adults would eventually aim for around 1-5 hours per week, depending on the intensity of the activity. It is important to build up to this gradually, however. Many of us lead sedentary lifestyles or are restricted due to various illness and ailments. It all depends on what point you’re starting at. If you currently do minimal activity, then just walking to the end of the street or around the block is a good beginning. If you have moderate-severe airways disease then it may be just walking to the other end of the loungeroom! If you do have considerable health problems then please see your doctor before making any significant changes to your exercise levels.

Even if you are already in a routine of getting regular exercise, it’s often one of the first things to go when life gets hectic. But I encourage you to try to keep it going, as exercise has a multitude of benefits. It reduces the risk and slows progression of many disease processes, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, and some cancers. Regular physical activity also affects our general functioning and mental health:

  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Reduces feelings of sadness
  • Reduce depression

If you can exercise in a natural setting, this has also been shown to reduce stress. And you will also benefit from some sunlight and fresh air. Don’t forget appropriate sun protection!

In terms of what type of activity you should do, the main thing is that it’s something you enjoy, can, and will actually do. Experiment and see what you can maintain. Or mix it up – there’s no rule that you have to pick one thing and stick to it. Cycling, running, walking, dancing, swimming, team sports. Some people enjoy exercising alone, and this can give an opportunity for mental space. Others prefer the social side of exercising with a friend or as part of a team.

So keep moving, feel better now, and reap the benefits of regular physical activity for many years to come!

Over the next few days, I will be sharing more tips to reduce stress and improve wellbeing over the festive season. If you missed the last post about enjoying food over the holidays, you can find it here. To make sure you don’t miss the rest, you can follow me on Facebook, sign up for my emails, join my Facebook group, or simply check back in on my website!

Tip 2: Celebrating with food!

Tip 4: Messed up sleep

Published by Dr. Amy Imms

Disclaimer: All advice provided through this website and blog is intended as general advice, and not specific advice to any individual. Every individual is unique and has different needs, so please seek advice from your own health professional for advice tailored to your specific situation. I aim to provide high quality information based upon current research, guidelines and accepted practice. The possibility of error or omission remains, and I am not liable (including liability by reason of negligence) to the users for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred or arising by reason of any person using or relying on the information and whether caused by reason of error, negligent act, omission or misrepresentation in the information presented or otherwise.

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