The 12 days of Christmas are upon us as we approach the middle of this crazy busy month. And we’re wondering (and channeling Chandler Bing), could there BE a busier month? On top of the mile-long to-do list that comes with everyday life— the dog is out of food, someone lost their toothbrush, the toilet paper needs replenishing and so on— December is a flurry of shopping, parties, entertaining, more shopping, figuring out stocking stuffers, attending holiday plays and events, and even more shopping.
It’s easy to put ourselves last as the holiday season approaches. Heck, I’m no better than anyone else—that vegan(ish) diet I had started in early November has all but gone out the window this month—but remember, it’s harder to keep going, going, going if you fail to take care of yourself. That’s why we’re encouraging you to take a “holiday health challenge” this December, and take some time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes at a time.
Here, we’ve listed 12 little things you can do this December that can help you on your path to overall health and well-being this holiday season.
Enlist someone’s help
Sure, you’re a #bossbabe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little help every now and then. Not into shampooing the carpets before guests arrive? Call a steam-cleaning service and let them handle it. If you love to shop but wrapping’s not your thing, enlist the help of a local teen who’s looking to make a few bucks—they’d be thrilled to help! Bottom line—stop trying to do everything yourself. Step back, take a breath, and get some help. It’s numero uno on our holiday health challenge.
Enjoy a healthy meal or a healthy day
Studies show that there are some serious benefits to going meatless, even for one day each week. Can’t commit to that? Keep those holiday doldrums at bay by opting for one healthy meal whenever you get a spare moment; all it takes is just a bit of planning. In other words, it doesn’t do you much good to have a lavish holiday meal if you exist on nothing but Pop-tarts for three days prior.
Take a walk
Yes, there are tons of errands to run in December. It’s pretty much endless. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip exercising for an entire month. If you have an errand that’s close by, why not walk there? It’s a great way to build in some exercise while you tackle that to-do list.
Do a good deed
There’s no better way to boost your emotional well-being than doing something kind for someone else. And the holiday season is just brimming with opportunities to do just that. Whether you donate toys to charity, help an aging neighbor, or sponsor a family in need, you’ll benefit right alongside those you’re helping, which is a total win-win.
Get your hair done
All those holiday parties and get-togethers require you to look your best, so it’s a great idea to take an hour out of your busy schedule to get your hair done. You’ll look and feel great, and you’ll be glad you invested in yourself.
Get a physical
You’re religious about getting your kids into the doctor for well visits whenever they’re due, but we’re guessing you may not be quite so dedicated about having yourself checked out. But regular physicals are important for adults, too. And since January is right around the corner, when you’ll make those all-important New Year’s resolutions, there’s no time like the present to get a physical. Doing so can give you a comprehensive view of your health.
Use your journal
Not keeping up with your journal? I don’t know a single soul who does. But, in the spirit of renewal, why not go ahead and write an entry? You can reflect on the past year, write about your hopes for the upcoming year, or simply vent about your neverending to-do list. If you don’t have a journal, perhaps it’s time to add one to your Christmas list!
Call or write a loved one
Is there a loved one you haven’t been good about keeping up with over the past year? Maybe it’s time to sit down and write them a letter, or at the very least, give them a quick call. They’ll be thrilled that you took the time to reach out, and it’s even more special when you do it around the holidays. We’re guessing it’ll make you feel pretty good, too!
Spend time with your kids
Your kids certainly make you busy, but they make you whole, too! Don’t forget to take time out of your busy life to sit down and spend some quality time with your kids this month. When it all seems to be weighing on you, remember that years from now, your kids are far less likely to remember what they got for the holidays than the experiences they had and the time they spent with you.
Have an attitude of gratitude
They say that attitude is everything, and that’s never more true that during the holidays. Simply taking a moment to live in the present and be thankful for all you have is the best way to recharge your battery this holiday season. The best part? Your positive attitude will rub off on others, as well.
Remember the reason for the season
Whether you’re religious or not, take a moment to remember the reason for the season. Don’t lose sight of the celebratory nature of the holidays, and hold close that which is most important, whether that’s God or another deity, or your family, or anything else.
Finally, a fun thing to do for your own well-being is to go out and purchase a small gift for yourself. It doesn’t have to be lavish, just something small that you’ve had your eye on for awhile but never get around to purchasing. Bonus points for wrapping it and putting it under the tree! Last year I invested in a bullet journal for myself, and I’ve used it almost every day since. It was only $25, but every time I pick it up, I’m reminded of how it represents a special gift I gave myself last Christmas.