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December 2015

Holidaze

We are here.

The 12 days of Christmas, 8 crazy nights, chocolate season-whatever your fancy. How are you dealing?

Every year since I was 8 ( that was the year I learned the truth about S-A-N-T-A), the holidays have gotten a little less magical and a little more stressful. There are always more things to juggle, more things to buy. This is going to be my first married Christmas, and I’m feeling the stress of managing two families. However, it is one of my big goals this year to set a mental health PR through the winter, and I know that managing my stress level has a big impact on my endurance and mood through the season.

Here are a few simple things that are helping me through:

Protein packed breakfasts help me manage cravings, sustain energy until lunch, and say no to all of the extravagant holiday cookies that will spike my blood sugar and then leave me in a slump.

-Daily mindfulness activities help me keep perspective on what is important. Mindfulness means different things to different people. For me, it is a few minutes in the morning when I practice deep breathing and make a list of 10 things I’m grateful for. Here is some inspiration.

-The gym. It is cold, it is dark, and I can’t always make myself go run or ride outside. That’s ok. I’ve been hitting up yoga, cycle, fusion, and even a barre class to get my sweat on during these short and busy days.

-Challenges. I’ve challenged myself to maintain my weight through the holidays, entering a contest through my beloved gym. I’ve challenged myself to maintain 8 out of 10 healthy habits per day with the healthy holiday challenge. And I’ve challenged myself to work out at least 3 times per week through this busy time. I know I’m going to be inspired to ramp my fitness up full-tilt once the new year hits and focus on some new projects, so these challenges are helping me be true to myself through the stress of the season.

How do you manage the holidaze?

 

 

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Indoor plants are good, outdoor time is great.

True to form, I was reading the New York Times Well section this morning when a headline caught my eye: “Do Indoor Plants improve our Health?”. Well, do they? Over here on the hill, we love our indoor plants. We had friends over last weekend and one noted that we had “A basil, a rosemary, and, like, TWO orchids” in an awed tone. We laughed because the orchid count is more like ten at this point. We’re a little obsessed.

I love the idea of something so simple and soothing as a few indoor plants to boost wellness. However, this article says that evidence is spotty as to any clear health benefits. Boo! We do know that plants can improve air quality, a definite plus. What the article does note is that getting outdoors has significant health benefits. All you need is a short walk out your door to come to this scientific conclusion on your own, but if you’re a skeptic, here is a great study done by the National Recreation and Park Association. It delineates how time outdoors can improve symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, attention deficits, and more. Doctors are even prescribing outdoor time to some patients!

Overall, I was a little disappointed in the article itself, but I needed a good reminder to maximize my outdoor time during this cold, rainy week.

How do you get in your outdoor rx?

 

 

Healthy Holiday Challenge

Whew, the holidays are in full force around here! After a whirlwind weekend of football and Thanksgiving celebrations, I felt a little less than my best ( read: I did NOT stick to my one-slice limit on pie!) I decided to take on a little challenge to get me through to the new year. I know that this time of the year is tough for me in terms of health, wellness, and mood. I also know that there are tried and true strategies I’ve used in the past to remain healthy and active in the winter months.

Here is my little challenge for the month of December, starting TODAY!

Each day I plan to do at least 8 out of 10 things on the list:

-Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
-Drink at least 64 oz of water.
-Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
-Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables.
-Avoid preservatives and  fried foods.
-Avoid added sugars.
-Have one or less alcoholic drinks.
-Take a multivitamin.
-Finish eating by 8:30PM at night.
-Limit non-work related screen time to no more than 1 hour.

I’m going to try to get 9 or even 10 out of 10 on most days, but I do plan on indulging at holiday parties and get-together, so this plan gives me the flexibility to splurge a little while still keeping other areas in check. For example, if I want to get a little tipsy one night, I’m not going to let myself get tipsy, eat a bucket of cheese fries, AND destroy a bin of cookie dough at 3am. Moderation.

Will you join me?

 

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