Coach Tip Tuesday: Don’t “Get Through” The Holidays
As we come up on the end of the first week of December, folks all around the world are preparing for the holidays - Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc. It’s a busy time of year for almost everyone in many arenas of life; there are social and family obligations, end-of-year work commitments, and extra travel. It can feel very chaotic at times!
Workout volume and intensity typically drops this time of year due to Maintenance Phase. Even with that drop, a high percentage of the athletes I work with often say something along the lines of “I just need to get through the holidays” in November and/or December when referencing workouts and what they are able/unable to do workout-wise during this time of the year. I cannot count the times I’ve heard an athlete say that they need to forgo exercise in December because they “just need to get through the holidays.”
If you’ve read any of my writings in the past, you know that I often bring up how much words matter. Saying “I need to get through” implies that the something you’re engaging with is something undesirable, something that you don’t feel like doing, and something that you’re just grinding through. If it was something you were excited about, engaged with, looking forward to, or had otherwise positive emotions about, you’d be using much different words to communicate what is going on.
Life is a zero-based budget. We only get one go at this. (On average, we only get about four thousand weeks.) That is not a lot of time. While not everything in life can be sunshine and roses, it does make sense that we should spend our limited disposable time on things that bring us joy.
All of this isn’t exclusive to the holiday season. How many times have you ever thought “I just need to get through [insert thing here]”? Stop and catch yourself when you think or say this. If you aren’t enjoying something and you do find that you’re just “getting through”, this should (in my humble opinion) prompt you to pause and think about what exactly it is that you’re doing.
It may not be the most popular perspective or advice out there, but if you’re needing to “get through” something, I encourage you to consider saying “no” to that something. Maybe you legitimately cannot say no to it. But maybe - just maybe - you’ve told yourself a story about how you can’t say no…and that story is false. You can say no, but saying no is a hard enough thing for you to consider doing that you have told yourself that it’s not possible to say no.
Saying no to things that you determine are actually not important to you (for whatever reason - lack of interest, too much stress, too much time required, etc.) will enable you to have the ability to say yes to the things that are important to you. Don’t make the mistake of getting to the end of your four thousand weeks and realizing that you didn’t budget your time in a way that was meaningful or important to you.
You are the captain of your ship. This applies all year long, and especially during the holiday season. Take stock of what you’re spending your time on, and don’t let yourself get carried away spending your time and energy on things that don’t actually matter to you or bring you joy. Do this, and you may just find yourself saying “I’m enjoying the holiday season” instead of feeling like you’re “getting through” it. :)
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.