As we rush headlong into Christmas, barely stopping to take a breath as if the Festive Season were an aid station we wanted to exit ASAP, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Buying gifts for people, planning out family visits, dodging traffic and schoolies, underlying fire-season anxiety. While things are no doubt hectic, let’s not let the good habits we’ve been developing all year fall by the way side. We’re no gurus, but we are just like you, so here are a few tips we’ve put together to help our own stress levels. Maybe they’ll work for you, too?

1. There’s an old Zen saying that goes, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.” While I’m the first to admit I’m hopeless at regular meditation, another version is to cultivate empty space. That is, don’t fill every waking moment with “things” or “plans” and you’ll likely find that you’re more productive, and calmer, when you have to knuckle down to work or train.

2. Continue to eat well and exercise, but don’t stress yourself out with guilt. While It’s true that time off training will lead inexorably toward a state of detraining, it’s not as bad as you think. According to the Primal Endurance (Sisson and Kearns, p.269-271),

“While this is very hard to quantify, there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that a detraining period of a certain duration requires around an equal duration of retraining to get back to the fitness level you were at when you stopped or cut back dramatically”

HOWEVER,

“[E]ven maintaining a fraction of your normal production will greatly minimize the detraining effect. If you go from an aggressive ten- to fifteen-hour-per-week triathlon training schedule to jogging a few days per week and pedaling casually for a couple hours on the weekend, even for as long as two or three months, you will lose very little fitness.”

In other words, regaining fitness will take about as long as the break you took, but even a moderate amount of maintenance work will keep maintain your baseline. I’d rather enjoy the break for what it is than stress myself about lost gains.

3. Avoid large gatherings of crazed, fevered shoppers. Every year I try to go Christmas shopping at the local Westfield with my partner, and every year it turns into a highly uncomfortable, tense expedition. It feels like going to war. This year we’ve experimented with a few different strategies and, so far (fingers crossed), things have tickled along nicely. Heres what we did:

A. Set an agenda. It’s a bit like a business meeting. Unless you have a clear agenda it’ll just roll and ramble indefinitely. If you have to leave the house, decide who you’re shopping for and set a time limit WELL AHEAD OF TIME. Always go sub-max here, and stop before you reach your limit.

B. Agree on triggers and “Actions On”. If I start to get flustered and/or we disagree on three purchases in a row, we divide the list and go our separate ways before meeting back up later. Don’t let it reach crescendo. No discussion, no tension.

C. It’s probably a bit late for this now, but do your shopping throughout the year. Travelling for a race? Pick something up along the way and slowly chip away at your list throughout the year.

D. BUY ONLINE! No lines, no crowds, no traffic jams, no highly-strung shop clerks. This year I’ve bought 85% of my gifts online and am mentally, emotionally and spiritually far better off for it! Plenty of retailers run sales more or less consistently from Black Friday through to Boxing Day. Make the most of it! Hey, maybe the extra traffic will help Australia Post get their act together… (yeah right!)

In case you missed our flood of posts on social media recently (see a few examples below), we’re half way through our 12 days of Christmas Sale. Every day for 12 days (1st-12th December), VFuel Australia and our partners are offering four different, super awesome deals. We’ve already have discounted race entries, discounts on Hydration packs, Suunto watches and Trail running shoes, not to mention an ever-increasing discount from Us. Jump on Instagram or Facebook and follow us to keep up with the specials. If you can’t find our posts, the Hashtag #12DoXSale should bring things right up!

PLUS: Share the daily #12DoXSale sale along with this Hashtag (so we can track it), and go in the draw for a massive end-of-sale prize pool. Every share counts, so don’t be shy!

 

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