3 Tips for Self-Care During the Holidays

3 Tips for Self-Care During the Holidays

The holidays are a notorious time for overextending, overcommitting, and overspending. This year is obviously a little different, yet I’m hearing some common themes in my patients.

I’m here today to tell you that it’s OKAY to NOT do any of that and to take care of you instead! 

Here are 3 ways you can practice self-care during the holidays that aren’t your typical self-care recommendations:

1. Say “no”.

You know what happens. You’re on the phone with someone you love and they ask you to do something you don’t really want to do and you say “yes” out of guilt or obligation.

Later, you beat yourself up for committing, your partner is irritated, and the whole thing becomes a really big deal.

Just say “no”! When you feel it’s a “no” in your body, speak your truth.

You’ll save yourself and your family a bunch of grief, and you won’t overextend yourself with things you don’t really want to be doing.

2. Don’t Do Things Unless They Bring you joy.

Holidays are full of traditions. Many of them are really wonderful and bring us a great deal of joy. Others we do for different reasons: maybe we do them because we “always” do them, maybe we do them because other people do them for us, or maybe we do them because we feel we “have to”?

Whatever the reason, maybe it’s okay to NOT do a few things?

For example, we decided not to put up a live Christmas tree this year. Normally, this brings me joy, but this year, it was feeling like a lot of extra work. We would have to go out in the dark some evening after work when it will likely be raining, put the thing up, add the lights, get out all the ornaments, and then do it all in reverse. (I talked about this Live on my weekly Wellness Wednesdays at Noon video on Facebook. You can watch it here.)

I simply don’t want to do it this year, so we aren’t. And, I felt a huge wave of relief when we made that decision.

Maybe for you, it’s something else like sending out holiday cards, or making cookies, or going to someone’s house who isn’t being safe with COVID, or ???

Whatever it is, I give you full permission to simply decide not to do it.

3. Don’t overspend.

It’s tempting during the holidays to try to make it “perfect”. This can include spending beyond your means. Try not to spend so much that you have to repay yourself well into the new year.

If funds are tight, start new traditions, buy gently used items, ask friends if they have any hand-me-downs that would be appropriate for your family. Little kids, especially don’t care if something is brand new.

And, buying or receiving used items is better for the planet.

Make a budget and stick to it and think of it as self-care rather than feeling deprived or disappointed.

Of course, you can do other self-care things like taking a salts bath, doing some deep breathing, or even a short break with a nice cup of tea.

I’ve learned over the years that those things are nice and it’s the deeper level of self-care like the suggestions above that make a longer lasting difference.

 

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

 

Do you have other tips like these? Please post them in the comments below.

4 Festive Non-Alcoholic Beverages

4 Festive Non-Alcoholic Beverages

With the holiday celebrations in our midst, there’s also a lot of alcohol and a lot of sugar. When you don’t want to drink alcohol for whatever reason, you’re generally offered a beverage with a lot of sugar. Or, you’re offered water only, which never feels very festive to me.

 

Today, I’m sharing 4 festive and delicious non-alcoholic beverages you can enjoy without the effects of booze or even more sugar.

 

First up, is kombucha. While some people worry that there’s alcohol in kombucha, the amount is low. The fermentation process of anything naturally produces alcohol, but commercially produced kombucha has to have an alcohol content of 0.5% or less. This is about the same amount as in orange juice.

 

I love kombucha for the bubbles and there are many, many different flavors available.

 

My favorites are still the ones made right here in Portland by Brew Dr. I love berry flavor, so I’m a big fan of the “Superberry”. I also love the “Love”. Looks like they have a new seasonal called “Vanilla Blossom” that looks like a fun one for the holidays.

 

 

Next, I recommend bitters. I talked about these in my Wellness Wednesday Facebook Live this week. I like the bitters concoctions made by Portland’s, The Bitter Housewife. They are delicious added to soda water. Just add lemon or lime for a perfectly splendid mocktail.

 

Bitters have some benefits as well. They stimulate your digestive juices to help you digest your food more easily, so consider a drink with bitters for after your holiday meals. I’ve been enjoying the “Lime Coriander”. Bitters will also contain alcohol, but because you’re only using a few drops, it’s like taking an herbal tincture. If you are sensitive to alcohol, I would avoid this choice.

 

 

Third, becoming more and more popular here in Oregon are CBD-infused beverages. These have no THC, so aren’t psychoactive in any way and might even help relieve aches and pains. There are many brands available, but I find that some have a strange after taste that lessens the experience for me.

 

My favorites come from Aurora Elixers, also located locally. They’ve done an excellent job with their packaging and I always feel really special when I get to drink one of their beverages. My favorite is the “Rosemary Grapefruit”. I especially appreciate that they don’t add a lot of extra sugar. Looks like they have a fun gift set available for the non-drinker in your life.

 

 

Last up is an Izze/La Croix combination. Both of these brands make many different flavors, so you can mix and match and have an endless variety of drinks. My favorite is the “Sparkling Pomegranate” Izze with “Lime” LaCroix with a twist of lime and/or real pomegranates.

 

Add this to a pretty glass and no one will be the wiser about what you’re drinking. There’s no added sugar and the combination will make at least 2 mocktails.

 

So, there you go.

 If drinking alcohol doesn’t feel aligned for you, I hope you’ll listen and do what feels best for you. Just because you’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t sip on something delicious.

 

Be sure to allow yourself some pretty glassware, fun shaped ice, an herb or fruit garnish, a festive straw, or whatever else brings you joy this holiday season.

 

 Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic beverage or mocktail recipe? Please share it below and be sure to pass this post along to friends who might enjoy it!

Do You Know Your Vitamin D Level?

Do You Know Your Vitamin D Level?

Most people don’t know that you actually can’t make vitamin D from the sun unless it’s at a 45 degree angle to the earth. This means that in most areas from October to April, you won’t be able to increase your vitamin D from getting sunlight.

So, it’s a very good time of year to have your healthcare provider check your vitamin D level. I like my patients to have a level of at least 60 going in to winter. If you don’t know your level, it’s time to find out!

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, not really a vitamin. We make vitamin D from direct sunlight and we can also get some from vitamin D enriched foods, fish, algae, and supplements.

You probably know that vitamin D is important for bone health. Research on vitamin D is showing that it may also be very important for avoiding certain cancers, such as breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, esophageal, and lymphatic (wedmd.com). Its’ proving to be a factor in cardiovascular disease and has even been shown to lower blood pressure. Deficiency of vitamin D is often a factor in autoimmune diseases. And, the research from COVID-19 cases is showing that those with an optimal vitamin D level at onset of symptoms have shorter and milder cases. 

When I first checked my family years ago, we were all dramatically low. This was particularly worrisome for my growing son. We starting taking a low amount of vitamin D during the summer and higher amounts in the winter. Most people can use a dose of around 2000iu daily, but I seriously recommend having your level checked and then rechecked once you are taking the supplement. Vitamin D toxicity does exist, so it is best if your level is monitored.

With all the proven and likely benefits of vitamin D, why not make sure yours is optimal? Please use the comment section below for your thoughts and questions and please share with your family and friends, as vitamin D deficiency is extremely common.

 

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