It’s that time of year when we are all abuzz with gift giving.

Driven by our innate desire to give, we are in hot pursuit of the best gift for everyone on our list.

And out of pure generosity, we throw in pleasing others by doing, inviting, attending, and bringing.

It’s all great fun, but if you aren’t paying attention, it can bump you right out of your healthy routine and into the arms of temptation.

You skip your walk in lieu of sleuthing for gifts, or forgo sleep to attend a holiday gathering. In all the frenzy you forget to plan your snacks.

Then in a moment of sheer exhaustion—and hunger—you reach for that sweet morsel. Before you know it, many sweet morsels have passed through your lips. Now you are possessed by cravings and all you can think about is your next fix.

Faster and faster you go, trying to do it all. But you haven’t eaten well or exercised or slept enough. You are crabby and irritable. Family members and co-workers dive behind furniture when they see you coming. So much for spreading holiday cheer.

You reach for another cookie.

At this point, it’s easy to get discouraged and throw in the towel, proclaiming, “It’s the holidays. I’m just going to do whatever I want. I’ll get back on track in January.”

This is the tradition many of us have practiced year after year: Focusing solely on the gifts we give others, neglecting our self-care, and arriving on January 1st, dragging our regrets behind us.

Luckily, it’s only mid December. There’s still time to retire the traditions that deplete you and create ones that empower you.

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Rethinking Your List

What if the best gift you can give is the one you give to yourself?

What if that gift is taking good care of you, especially during the holidays?

The person most worthy of the top spot on your list is you. Your gift of self-care will not only make your holidays brighter, it will benefit everyone around you.

This is the year you give your husband or wife or kid or mother the gift of a healthy…and sane…person to spend the holidays with.

And the year that you spend January 1st marveling at how well you did during the holiday season and how it feels to look back, regret free.

5 Top Tips for Self-Care During the Holidays

  1. Eat regular, healthy meals with lots of protein. This is the best way to keep your your energy up and resist the temptations you encounter.
  1. Clear your home or workplace of all sweet, carby treats and minimize your exposure to them. It’s hard to eat things that aren’t there.
  1. Move every day. A short walk or 5 minutes on your elliptical will do wonders for your energy and appetite and disposition.
  1. Get adequate sleep. Not only will you feel better and be more pleasant to be around, your metabolism will benefit.
  1. Avoid or limit your time with people and situations that drain you. Many of us think we have to spend hour upon hour in such circumstances, but the truth is, we don’t.

By focusing on these self-care practices, you are giving yourself, and all those around you, the best gift there is—a healthy, centered you.

I’d love to hear how your gift-giving season goes. Feel free to post a comment or send me an email at sam.chris@im-wm.com.

Please share with those who could use a little self-care this holiday season!

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