The holiday season is finally upon us. As amazing as the anticipation of the holiday season can seem with its lure of time off from work, from school and from our normal routine, we must be careful that we don’t derail the progress we’ve made by straying too far from the routine and lifestyle we follow throughout the rest of the year. Here are just a few ways that training jiu jitsu can help ensure that your holiday season is the best it possibly can be this year! By applying a few of the aspects of the BJJ lifestyle you follow year round can make the holidays more festive and healthy for you.
Jiu Jitsu and Holiday Stress
There are so many causes of stress during the holiday season. First off, the changing of seasons and the onset of the cooler weather tends to force people to be indoors much more which can lead to periods of relative inactivity compared to the rest of the year. In addition, the shorter days, especially if you’re in the part of the world where daylight savings time brings utter darkness by dinner time, the lack of sunshine can be very depressing and can actually lead to conditions like Vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression.
As wonderful as our families may be, the annual social gatherings filled with people you don’t see the rest of the year can be stressful in itself. Holiday classic films like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Christmas Vacation come to life for many of us as we spend extra time planning, traveling and visiting with as many family members as we can during this special time. Even if you enjoy this process, it is still stressful. It is still a change to your normal routine and can impact your health and well being.
How can jiu jitsu help us during these hectic festivities? Science has long shown that physical activity of any kind can help relieve stress by helping to release excess energy and release endorphins. BJJ can also do so much more because of the community that surrounds you at your academy. Chances are you have friends and peers who also train. Being around those folks can help fight off the winter time blues and give you a welcome break from the Aunt Marthas of the world.
Jiu Jitsu and Holiday Overeating
Coupled with the stress that the holiday season can bring, the prevalence of huge feasts can be a daunting obstacle to your jiu jitsu goals. Whether it’s the potluck buffet at work, or the holiday dinner with relatives, the chances of overeating are high this time of year. You just spent 6 hours in the car listening to Christmas Carols on your way to your relatives house. What better way to numb your suffering but through a pile of mashed potatoes and half a pumpkin pie.
Sticking as closely to your jiu jitsu training schedule can help with these holiday binges by helping to burn off some of the calories you may be consuming. It has also been shown that physical activity can sometimes curb one’s appetite and help minimize the amount that you eat. If you are lucky enough to be able to train on the morning of Thanksgiving for instance, there can be a truly satisfying feeling having just rolled for an hour or two before sitting down to dinner.
What are some other things you can do to help control yourself and possibly minimize the damage should you veer off course?
DON’T LET YOURSELF GET HUNGRY
When you’re rushing around and dealing with the hectic holiday season, it’s easy to skip meals or go long periods without eating. This makes us prime targets for binge eating and will make even the toughest, most disciplined athlete weak in the face of that cookie and dessert table. Plan in advance and have plenty of healthy snacks available. Protein and healthy fats can be some of the best items to snack on. Eggs, nuts, greek yogurt, and low fat cheeses can be quick snacks that will give you a few hundred calories to keep you satiated and possibly save you a few thousand calories of mindless binge eating later.
The Holiday Season and BJJ Community
The holiday season is predicated on the importance of gathering together with your friends and families and enjoying quality time. This goes for your jiu jitsu family as well. Perhaps your school plans holiday get togethers. Do you best to support and get everyone involved in these events. We cannot be successful without our teammates and this time of year can be a great time to acknowledge them.
Jiu Jitsu can be a life changing art that can inform your life year round, especially during the holidays. It will help you stay calm under pressure, burn off some stress and extra calories. By staying consistent you will eliminate the holiday layoff and the challenging return that can sometimes follow. You will also get a jump on those New Years resolutions and be way ahead of the competition!