November 1 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season and along with it all the sights, sounds, and smells that can overwhelm us for the next several weeks. Multiple social commitments, modified work schedules, houseguests, imbibing, and over-indulgence can tax our senses AND those of our kids, who we may forget are also susceptible to holiday stress.
The mix of anticipation and excitement along with lacking the structure of school can make for a cocktail of meltdowns and lethargy once the big day(s) are over. Exercise can be a terrific antidote to calm nerves, burn energy and sustain a sense of structure, and even if it doesn’t seem like it, the holiday season presents unique opportunities to enjoy fun family physical activity, including the following:
- Create a new holiday tradition of doing holiday-themed run/walk events – many communities sponsor organized ‘turkey trots’ or jingle bell runs.’ These tend to be family-friendly with shorter distance options.
- With the kids out of school do special nighttime outdoor activity – depending upon your climate, many communities have lit sliding or skating areas, others have lit tennis courts, etc.
- Take advantage of holiday sports camps offered at schools or community-based organizations – many try to help fill the no-school void by delivering different iterations of organized sports camps. Commit to volunteering to enjoy activity alongside the kids and work on your own skills at the same time.
Involve your kids in creating a master schedule and allow them to invite a friend when possible. It is the holiday season so the more the merrier. Physical activity can help steady the ship during this emotionally-charged time, and the new activity you enjoy together can be the source of great memories and make the season special.