It can be enjoyable to visit and stay with friends and relatives as well as for them to be guests in your home. However, whether you’re host or guest, these events may disrupt your activity schedule—but only if you let them. If you’re determined to take care of yourself because you wouldn’t have it any other way, this situation is no problem at all.

Years ago, I got together with old friends for a few days at one of their homes. Because I try to do some form of activity daily, I made a point of suggesting we walk rather than sit around (which usually led to mindless snacking). After all, you can catch up with people walking as easily as you can over coffee, wine, beer, or a meal. One morning while my friends were lingering at the breakfast table (and picking at leftovers) long after the meal was over, I got my exercise on a piece of the host’s old aerobic equipment—which had to be dug out of storage! My friend also scheduled a line dancing session for all of us which was great fun and she encouraged us to try Pilates at her gym. This example shows how both guest and host can take responsibility for staying active.

Recently a couple who are good friends visited us for a few days. She’s a marathon runner and he recently converted to a healthier lifestyle post cancer surgery. They went for morning walks before I even awakened. We did a group walk with my husband one day and another without him the next day. I took time to do my usual exercise routine while they prepared and ate breakfast. The husband used my quiet office to do his daily 20-minute practice of meditation and yoga, while his wife and I schmoozed over coffee. Blending our needs, we each took responsibility for ourselves while also encouraging each other to do whatever was needed for our bodies to feel good.

In each example, there was no guilt for taking self-time nor fear or shame of disrupting someone else’s schedule. My attitude as a guest is that I don’t want to mess with my hosts’ schedules, but I expect that they will respect my taking care of my health. My expectation as host is that people will feel comfortable enough in my home to do their thing because it brings me joy to see them do whatever is best for themselves.

No matter where I am, my job—my pleasure, actually—is to take care of me. I don’t need permission to do so and no one has to ask for mine to do the same. I try to work around others, but don’t cave in just because someone might be put out at what I’m doing. I stand up for what I believe is my right to care for my body while respecting the rights of others. I hope you enjoy keeping active this holiday season.