Join me here, and on Instagram, in the counting the days to Christmas, opening up my virtual advent calendar each day, to see how you can keep the holiday season healthy. For more healthy tips, recipes, and a year of mindful journaling, preview and purchase the Conscious Living Daybook here.
Day 1 – EAT GREEN... especially leafy greens.
Get at least five full servings of vegetables in each day, to load your body up with essential disease-fighting minerals, nutrients, and fiber. Naturally boost your energy, strengthen your immune system, lower your cholesterol, detoxify your liver, and even clear congestion with this simple step.
Day 2 – STAY HYDRATED... by drinking lots of water.Did you know that 60%-75% of our bodies are made up of water? (not wine, not soda, or sugary drinks!) So if you're not feeling right, backache, headache, digestion, always tired, etc. perhaps you're not getting enough H2O. On average, women should be drinking 2.2 liters (74 fl. oz. or 9 cups) each day, while men should aim for 3 liters (101 fl.oz. or 12.5 cups) Drink water when you feel like you're wanting a snack, wait a few minutes to see if your body is still hungry. Also, note that drinking water anytime from 15 minutes to an hour before a meal aids digestion.
Day 3 – SLEEP
Especially during this festive season, try to make the time to sleep at least 7 hours a night (when you can.) Your mind and body need time to rest and recuperate. Getting those extra zzz's helps you to function better, be more alert and energetic... without depending on caffeine or sugar, therefore helping to curb cravings, and snacking throughout the day. Sweet dreams, Everyone!
Day 4 – MEDITATION / RELAXATION
In following with yesterday, if you don't get enough sleep, day 4 of our healthy holiday advent calendar is for you! By spending some time each day meditating, you can reduce stress, let go of fear or anger, discover forgiveness, and generate appreciation. For many of us, there's too much to do, too many thoughts in our minds to achieve a state of mental clarity. It takes time and practice to tune out. Yoga breathing exercises can help develop this skill. Even going for a walk in nature is a good moment of peace. And if you need a little extra help, massage or acupuncture also brings you to a state of deep relaxation while physically healing your body.
Day 5 – MODERATIONHaving a few festive drinks? Pace yourself by alternating between non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Don't lose track with that "Never-ending Glass". By taking note, you can take part in the holiday cheer and also feel great the next day too! Cheers!
Day 6 – EXERCISE!
When you move your body for 30 minutes every day of the week, it strengthens your body, clears your mind, reduces stress levels and anxiety, AND helps you sleep better. Bicycle, climb the stairs, jog, walk briskly, do aerobic exercises, crossfit, hike, row, soccer, swim, spin, tennis, weights, yoga, yogalates, zumba... Time to get moving!
Day 7 – CREATIVITY.
It is so much more meaningful to make and receive gifts. Write a poem, make some food, put together a photo gift, make some bath salts or sugar scrubs, create a terrarium, make a candle, or get crafty with a needle and thread, the options are limitless, and there's no excuse! (This is one of my favorite gifts made by my son when he was only 4!) Taking the time and care to make a special something for that someone special is gives you the chance to use your mind and hands. It gives you independence from commercialism, demonstrates appreciation, and embraces the true spirit of giving.
Day 8 – PLANT-STRONG DIET / VEGANISM
Taking a break from consuming meat and animal by-products such as dairy, is beneficial to your health. By reducing saturated fats and increasing fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals you can prevent disease, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Physical benefits of eating a plant-strong diet include weight loss, better energy, healthy skin, fewer migraines and more. Whether you start with one full meatless day (Meatless Monday, etc) or, follow Mark Bittman's VB6 (vegan + no refined flour before 6pm and eating anything for dinner) give yourself the nutrients your body deserves, with the power of eating plants.
Day 9 – LOVE YOURSELF. BE YOURSELF.
You are the only one who can truly take care of yourself. This includes your thoughts, your emotions, what you eat, and how you treat your body. No matter where you are or what you do, you are a unique special individual who should celebrate who you are each and every day. 💖 “Love yourself first, and everything falls into place.” – Lucille Ball
Day 10?! – EAT BREAKFAST / DON'T SKIP MEALS.Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body hasn't refueled since last night's dinner and deserves a good start to the day ahead. Incorporating protein with plenty of natural vitamins and minerals and a little whole grain (we're not talking about factory-made cereal!) will keep you from snacking throughout the day and "compensating" for that light, or skipped, breakfast. No matter how busy you are, keep your body balanced and eat regular meals to avoid snacking throughout the day, or bingeing in the evening.
Day 11 – MINDFULNESSNourish your mind with journalling each day. Whether it is a one-sentence journal, or morning pages, or a gratitude notebook, start by appreciating each day, every person, every moment. The words you write can capture feelings, memories, and dreams that photos cannot. What are you grateful for? How do overcome obstacles? How do you let go? Sometimes your stream of writing can bring out thoughts, solutions, or ideas.
Day 12 — HOME COOKING
Make time this weekend, or in the week next week, to cook at home. Not only is it more cost-effective, it gives you some methodic "down time" and some creativity and accomplishment in making something from start to finish. A home-cooked meal also gives you better energy just with the time you take to preparing it (as opposed to foods made from a factory or harried cooks.) Using quality ingredients and less salt, sugar, and fat than in processed or restaurant food will also help curb the pounds. Get a loved one, or the family together and prepare and enjoy a meal made with love.
Day 13 – SELF-CAREGo for a walk, stop and smell the roses, listen to music, read a book, have a nap, or a bubble bath, etc. A little self-care goes a long way to recharging and rejuvenating both mind and body.
Day 14 – EAT IMMUNITY-BOOSTING FOODS
Feeling under the weather? Fresh ginger has a great anti-inflammatory properties and aids headaches, nausea, congestion, and digestion. An inch (25mm) of ginger root sliced thinly (or pressed to release the flavors) is a delicious tea. Steep in boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Other foods that boost your immune system are healthy soups or broths, bell peppers, red cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and walnuts. You can also supplement the season with cod liver oil, vitamin C, and/or zinc.
Day 15 – SNACK WISELY
Eating naturally sweet or salty whole foods will help you curb those junky cravings. Natural foods are obviously more nutritious, and they will also provide satiety, without those blood sugar spikes. Have fruit, nuts and seeds always on hand, and prepare or chop up some vegetables so you have a convenient "go to" snack.
Day 16 – APPRECIATION
Day 17 – SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Day 18 – HAPPINESS = HEALTHINESS
Laugh every day, be silly, always maintain a sense of humor, smile, be happy, and be healthy.
Day 19 – EAT THE RAINBOW
Day 20 – GIVINGToday's Healthy for the Holidays tip encompasses what this season is all about. Practice random acts of kindness. Give unconditionally. Give wisely, from your heart. "Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.” ― Steve Maraboli
Day 21 – JUICE UP!
Day 22 – POSITIVITY
Day 23 – BE NAUGHTY
Day 24 – BE PRESENT