4 Steps to Giving Yourself the Gift of Health

4 Steps to Giving Yourself the Gift of Health.

This time of year, we give gifts, both material and immaterial. The focus is on others and this is, of course, a wonderful thing. However, after listening to many clients’ nutrition troubles over the past month, I realized how much the pressure to give could stand in the way of our own well being. Sometimes there is just not enough time in the day to give and to live!

This month, I heard from moms and dads who are so busy during the holidays that they can’t find a minute to sit down to eat a healthy meal or to exercise. I heard from devoted employees who, in order to cram in work before their holiday vacations, work longer hours, and live on the holiday baked goods in their offices. One young mother showed me a picture that had been taken several year prior. She said: “If I only had time to look like healthy and trim like that again. I keep rushing between work and the baby.” Well, I hereby give her—and every reader—permission to make 2013 your year. You deserve it, you can do it, and I’ll be cheering you on.

It’s easy to forget how important it is to give to yourself—that is, until you get sick, injure yourself or find yourself totally exhausted. We can’t give to others if we don’t have good health and happiness ourselves. So this holiday, be smart and think of the holidays as yours, too. Think of the New Year as a new chance for you to give to yourself as well as to others.

Here are 4 steps to giving yourself the gift of good health:

  1. Don’t wear yourself out and end up drained by January 1st. Take time to enjoy family and friends—and this includes sitting down and enjoying their conversations. Get enough rest—present wrapping and online shopping is not more important than a good night’s sleep. Ask a friend to take a walk outside and window shop to get some fresh air and good exercise. The holidays are about togetherness…not self-annihilation!
  2. Give yourself permission to eat well. You don’t owe it to anyone to eat holiday junk food just because someone took the pains to make it. What about your health? Enjoy holiday treats that you seldom get other times of the year (a special family candy recipe, hand-crafted chocolates) and leave the giant boxes of so-so chocolates and workaday stuff for, well, some other day.
  3. Remember that gift giving extends to you. You deserve good health, time to devote to your own well-being and peace of mind, and those are gifts that you can only give to yourself. Remember that without them, you won’t be as effective a parent, employee, spouse, or friend –or you!
  4. Make 2013 the year that you rebuild the best you that ever existed. If you’ve never gotten to the best you, get building! You give to everyone else, why not yourself? Enjoy your holiday and a have a happy, healthy, active 2013.

This post was written by guest blogger Christen C. Cooper, MS, RD (www.coopernutrition.com)

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