4 ways to combat holiday stress

We all know how it feels when we’re tense. And the rush before and after the holidays really adds to the stress load.

Stress takes a toll on our bodies. It affects your workout program, too. That tense feeling means your muscles are tired even before you start using them. Consequently, your workout performance is going to take a hit. To avoid that, there are several things you can do to help.

1. Get more sleep. If six hours do it for you normally, you might need eight or nine for a few nights to get back on track.

2. Drink more water. Stress leaches water out of the system. That dehydration makes muscles sore. Avoid that by sipping water throughout the day.

3. Watch what you eat. When we’re stressed we tend to reach for “comfort foods” that are high fat, high salt and high in calories. Stress depletes the body of nutrients making it more important than ever to make good food choices — even during the holidays.

4. Don’t get discouraged. Understand that when stress makes that workout tougher and less rewarding, it’s temporary. Don’t let poor performance turn into an excuse to quit.

The key is to be on the lookout for the signs that you are at the stress threshold. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Once you recognize the signs, you can manage the situation and keep your program on track.