Happy December! For some, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. For others—many of whom have reached out in recent weeks—the holiday season is more bitter than sweet, more stressful than serene. Whether you absolutely love this time of year or wish you could hide away and hibernate until Spring, here are a few thoughts to help you make the season as joyful as possible.
Consider it the Coaching Corner’s version of a gift guide, a few gentle reminders and simple ideas to help make the holi- days healthy, happy and bright. Some may involve spending a little money, but others are absolutely free. In each case, you have my express permission and full encouragement to lavish these gifts on anyone you love—or entirely on your fabulous self.
The Basics – Nothing says I love you like simply paying at- tention and taking good care. That’s why you can never go wrong by starting with the basics. I am talking about sleep, nutrition and exercise—the essential building blocks for health, motivation and general well-being. Yes, I may refer to these in almost every column and coaching session. Yes, they may be the most obvious “tips” around. Still, far too many of us can be cavalier about our health. We fail to take proper care of ourselves—especially around the holidays—then won- der why we are grumpy, overweight, exhausted, stressed or even sick.
And so it bears repeating.
You need sleep. You need healthy, nutritious foods. You need exercise. Everything else in your life will be better for it.
We all stray from our routines this time of year. We eat and drink things we normally wouldn’t, often to excess. We get too-few zzz’s, then over-caffeinate just to make it through the day. We skip our workouts, too busy with end-of-year dead- lines and social obligations.
I am not here to scold, but simply to remind you—because I care—that this annual disruption to the system does not help at all when it comes to the other stressors of the season. In- stead, it creates a vicious cycle. Exhausted people make poor- er decisions throughout the day—decisions that wreak further havoc on health and wellness.
Whether it’s you or someone you love, consider the following stocking stuffers to cover the basics.
For the Sleep Deprived. Light signals our bodies to stay awake, so invest in a low tech sleep mask (I like the silky kind), or even a fancy high tech version. Noise machines come in a range of prices, or for those who just want quiet, ear plugs are as inexpensive a gift as you can find. If your hubby always gets up early to walk the dog, make him a certificate, redeemable at his pleasure, offering to swap places, or if you are the one in need of rest, indulge yourself with permission to nap when needed.
For those in Need of Nourishment. Consider taking a break from the cocktail party circuit. Stay in, cook a healthy, delicious meal for yourself or someone you love. Maybe treat yourself to a new cookbook first. If you’re feeling flush, hire a personal chef for an evening, or try a subscription to one of those healthy meal delivery services (friends recommend Green Chef). If kitchen gadgets are your thing, I love my In- stant Pot. Nothing like a low-fuss, hearty, comforting, nutritious dinner waiting at the end of a busy, blustery day.