Former Winter Olympian & leading expert in womens health and fitness, Steph Prem shares her tips on staying mentally and physically well throughout the silly season...
In my line of work, I often get asked how I manage my work/life balance in the lead up to (and during) the silly season. I work with so many clients who are in relentless pursuit of this so called perfect balance between work and life and while I’m a strong
advocate for the pursuit, to believe that you can have perfect balance at all times, especially this time of year, is setting yourself up for failure.
I equally enjoy my personal time, social time and my work time, they are all part of my life, but trying to be good at everything all at the same time can be hard. It can be f**king exhausting actually. I’ve found the key to being physically and mentally on my A-game during the silly season is consistency and discipline.
Having a toolkit of ‘health hacks’ and being quite ritualistic about implementing them into your week is
the only way to achieve long standing sustainable results and keep the self-loathing at bay when making poor (but fun) decisions.
At the end of the day we need to have a plan of attack and try our best to stick to it. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves and throw all the hard work out the window when we stray from the plan. For example, if you overdose on canapes and champagne at your office Christmas party, don’t spend the next day agonizing and kicking yourself over it. Get Back on the horse – today’s a new day!
Here are my best physical and mental tips to keep you on track, accountable and help you make better choices during the naughty season.
1. Daily movement
Try get in 30-45 minutes of exercise a day. If you are really looking for a challenge, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the Boxing Day sale of modern workouts. HIIT is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Time poor? 20 to 30 minutes is all you need to get that heart racing.
2. Making Time for Wellness
Positive affirmations, meditation, breath work and gratitude are powerful tools to keep your stress and anxiety in check during the crazy months. Don’t see it as something extra to do on your to-do list, just make it part of your routine (I listen to meditations and do breath work in the shower and in my car on the
way to work!).
3. Alone time
It’s easy to start to dread the obligation and expectations of spending time with, and entertaining, friends, family and co-workers during the silly season. Research shows that time spent in solitude is so important for recharging your batteries and also helps foster creative thinking. All the more reason to prioritize ‘you-time’ when you feel that overwhelming feeling start to set in.
4. Dry body brush
Try aim to do this three times a week before you shower. Dry body brushing aids in detoxification which can be useful at a time of year where it’s almost impossible to avoid the extra re-toxing!
5. Pilates and Yin Yoga
Both are fantastic practices for calming and balancing the mind and body. They also assist in increasing circulation, balancing the internal organs and reducing stress and anxiety.
6. Foam Roll
Foam rolling improves cell recovery and blood circulation of your fascia (your connective tissue), muscles, tendons and ligaments, which in turn rids the body of congestion, toxicity and cellulite (farewell Christmas canapes!).
7. Do Something You Love
Cooking for me is a relaxing outlet. I love cooking and despite not being a great cook, I love eating and entertaining which inspires me to be better at making healthier food choices in the mad months.
8. Finally Red Wine
Because antioxidants and …. Just kidding. Just have the wine, you deserve it. Within reason of course!