Tips for Staying Guilt-Free During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us. And with it comes paid vacation days, way too much delicious food, and fewer available days for training… because, hey, your coaches need to enjoy their own holidays, too.
If you’ve been training long enough, you’ve likely already experienced some serious FOMO (“fear of missing out” for you old fogies) any time you have to take a day or two off training. Excessive calories, combined with forced days off because the academy is closed, tends to sprinkle a little guilt into the mix. Silly, I know. It happens.
But it doesn’t have to. This holiday season you can choose to think differently – and act differently – in regards to your tumultuous schedule. Here are some tips to help you stay guilt-free during the holidays, and keep your body and mind tuned up and productive.
Don’t Skip Practices You CAN Go To
If you have a tendency to take a day off during the week, make that day the day you know your academy will be closed. Or if you know the evening classes will be cancelled – to give everyone a head start in getting wherever they need to go for the holidays – try to make one of the available morning classes. Getting yourself up at the crack of dawn – or before – once or twice is far preferable than that feeling of “I should have.”
Hit Those Holiday Open Mats
There are bound to be a few nutjobs willing to open the academy, or a neighboring academy, on a holiday. If you’re not bound by some duty to your family to be home all day, sneak out to one of those open mats. It will be even better if it’s an open mat that isn’t hosted by your home academy… usually the jiu-jitsu spirit is a lot lighter and more welcoming during the holidays, and you’ll find yourself meeting new people and potentially a new best friend/training partner.
If you can’t sneak away during the holidays – or you’re stuck somewhere far from any available jiu-jitsu training – take some “me time” to study up on some jiu-jitsu. There are a ton of great online academies out there these days, with easy-to-use apps that allow you to save your favorite videos. Take advantage of your down time by creating a list of techniques you’d like to drill when you do get back to the mats. If you can’t afford an online membership, there are tons of great free resources, as well.
Share the Joy of Jiu-Jitsu
During the holidays, you have a captive audience: your family members. Yeah, yeah, they might be sick and tired of you talking about jiu-jitsu all the time, but now is the time to show them a few cool techniques. There will always be one or two people at any gathering who will be curious enough to be your willing yuke. The rest will be absolutely ecstatic to watch the spectacle. At the very least, you’ll be able to sharpen your teaching skills… and you might even inspire someone to try it out him/herself!
Relax… and Heal
There are few things worse for your jiu-jitsu journey than not knowing when to take a break. BJJ is a physically demanding sport, and even if you don’t train every day, all those little nagging injuries that you try so hard to ignore tend to add up. If you learn how to recognize when your body needs a rest, and actually take a day or two – or ten – off, you’ll find that it actually improves your jiu-jitsu. When you allow your body to heal, you’ll come back to the mat in a better frame of mind and body to handle the rigors of training. If you ignore that need, each practice that you “push through” will be putting yourself at greater risk of a serious injury… and even more time of the mat. So, lean into the holidays, rest, relax, and heal.
Last, but not least, remember that the holidays are for appreciating the people in your life and enjoying those moments you have with them. Focus on that. Happy holidays and stay safe.