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6 Ways Not to Stress About Fitness Goals During the Holidays

Woman doing yoga on a tree trunk in the lake.
Karla Tafra

It’s tough to balance the demands (and delicious food) of the holidays with your exercise goals. Here are our top six ways not to stress about your fitness goals during the holidays.

During the winter holidays, we spend more time indoors than usual. We also eat a bit more and sweat a bit less than usual. All of that can add some extra stress and guilt for folks who are focused on fitness. But you can avoid all that by keeping things on a semi-regular schedule, while still having fun!

Create a Schedule That Works for You

If you’re determined to keep up with your usual workouts, you’ll need to create a schedule that will work for you and won’t cause you to feel stressed out. Write down all your most important gatherings and festivities (both on- and offline), as well as any other items on your to-do list.

Then, just schedule your workouts around these time slots. Whether it’s before, after, or in-between, it doesn’t matter as long as you get your scheduled sweat in. If some unexpected situations cause you to have to skip a few sessions, don’t stress about it. Just reschedule those for another time.

Another important thing to figure out is the duration of your workouts. Sometimes, you might be able to fit in a full hour, but others, you might only be able to work in 30 minutes. Do your best to plan your workouts and use all the time you have by being 100% focused and productive.

Keeping yourself accountable is crucial because then you’ll really be able to stay on top of your fitness goals. And even if you miss working out a few days in a row, you can make up for it later.

Hydration and Lighter Meals Earlier in the Day

Holiday meals tend to be on the heavier side, with more comfort food than you’re probably used to eating and more helpings than you usually indulge in. A great way to offset any bloating and potential water retention is to focus on proper hydration around those meals. It can also help to pay attention to what you’re eating the rest of the day.

If you know you’ll be having a heavy dinner, make your breakfast and lunch light, with a bunch of vegetables and lean protein. These will fill you up with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help you digest your dinner more efficiently. They’ll also lessen the impact of the high carbohydrates, and sugary, greasy comfort food.

Drinking plenty of water will help flush any toxins and excess water out of your system, and help prevent any uncomfortable bloating and puffiness.

Focusing on these two things will help you enjoy your holiday meals with less stress.

Prioritize Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is just as important as doing your daily exercises. Sleep is how we rest and recharge, lower our stress hormones and inflammation, and help our body deal with whatever comes its way in a much calmer manner.

That’s why prioritizing sleep during the holidays is crucial. It can help you digest heavier foods, flush out any toxins, preserve your muscle mass, and prevent you from gaining any unnecessary weight. If you’re struggling with falling asleep, there are some great breathing techniques you can try to help you get the most out of your nightly routine.

Stay Active Even If You Can’t Work Out

Can’t make it to the gym or don’t have enough space or equipment to work out at home? Try to find a way to stay active that doesn’t include a set of resistance bands or rolling out your yoga mat. There are plenty of outdoor activities you can participate in during the winter.

You can run, hike, ski, or even snowboard. And if none of those tickle your fancy, just engage in as many physically demanding activities as possible.

For example, you can volunteer to help your dad put up the Christmas lights, cut the wood for your fireplace, or use stairs whenever you can. Walk instead of driving, if possible, or simply take every opportunity to move your body instead of just sitting down and lounging on the sofa.

There are so many ways you can stay active that don’t require you to put on your workout clothes and carve out some time. All it takes is a little bit of willpower.

Don’t Stress

Although it might be easier said than done, not stressing about fitness during the most festive time of year is probably the best advice anyone can ever give you. Reaching your fitness goals is an endless task. You’ll always be trying to improve and update your routine.

There really is no quick or easy way to achieve any type of progress, so always approach it as a marathon rather than a sprint.

Even if you decide to dedicate this holiday season to rest and relaxation, it doesn’t mean you’re taking a step back on your fitness journey. After all, a month of intense work won’t turn you into a professional athlete, either.

Keep that in mind the next time you have to miss yet another workout.

Enjoy the Season

The holiday season is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. So, make sure you put having fun, not your HIIT class, at the top of your list of priorities. Focus on what really matters: spending time with your loved ones.

Connect with those you can’t physically be with, and be grateful for even the smallest blessings in your life.

And don’t worry—your workout clothes, pumping playlist, and that good ole kettlebell will be waiting for you whenever you can get back to them.


The holiday season makes some folks nervous about the effect it will have on their fitness goals. If that’s you, try some of these tips and focus on the joy of the season instead of stressing about your fitness goals. You’ll soon be back at it!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »

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