The holidays have always been a tricky lot. Amidst the joy and camaraderie can live stress and loneliness. It’s one of the reasons practising self-care in December is always in season. This year; however, it’s vital. As we continue to grapple with COVID-19, and the toll it has taken on our mental and physical health, we need to make time each day for acts that contribute to our well-being. That’s why we have put together 12 days of wellness plan.
Try one each day, discover your favourites, or mix and match. Our hope is that you enjoy greater health and happiness by making time for the most important person – you!
Day 1: Give yourself the gift of a better night’s sleep. Disconnect from your mobile devices 1 hour before bedtime.
Kickstart your 12 days of wellness by giving yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep. The blue light from mobile devices disrupts the release of melatonin, our sleep-promoting hormone. Disconnect from your mobile devices one hour before bedtime tonight and enjoy an easier time falling asleep. If you are looking for something to do instead, try cozying up with a book. Bedtime reading can help reduce your stress and improve your sleep quality.
Day 2: Give yourself the gift of a warm-fuzzy feeling. Perform 2 acts of kindness.
It's time to feed your soul by sharing the best of the season. A kind word, a helpful act or a donation to charity spreads the holiday cheer and helps make someone else’s day a little brighter.
Day 3: Give yourself the gift of a stronger heart. Walk up 3 flights of stairs.
Choose to take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator and you’ll be gifting yourself many health benefits. Challenge yourself to take the stairs whenever possible and get a leg up on your fitness this month.
Day 4: Give yourself the gift of a mindful reset. Take 4 standing breaks today.
Take a stand for your health. Strive to incorporate 4 movement breaks in your day. Simply standing and moving for at least 2 minutes helps improve both your comfort and work performance. It’s a two-for-one gift.
Day 5: Give yourself the gift of becoming stronger. Perform 5 sets of push-ups, planks or squats (5 reps each).
Pick your favourite strength training exercises, and perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions. Power up your legs, tone your arms and get ready to carry those holiday parcels with ease.
Day 6: Give yourself the gift of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Enjoy 6 servings of veggies or fruit today.
Did you know that vegetables and fruit are naturally good for your health? They contain vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and are also generally low in fat.
Day 7: Give yourself the gift of stress release. Perform 7 minutes of stretching.
Are you feeling as stiff as the gingerbread man? Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and aids with a range of motion. Dynamic stretching, gently moving ‘through’ the stretch will keep you limber during the work day. Try turning your head from left to right, shoulder circles and leg or arm swings.
Day 8: Give yourself the gift of hydration. Drink 8 glasses of water.
Today we raise a toast to the humble glass of water. Staying hydrated can help reduce fatigue and memory loss while boosting your immune system and improving your complexion. Cheers to that.
Day 9: Give yourself the gift of an energy boost. Set out for a 9-minute power walk.
Get your holiday hustle on, and power-walk yourself away from the mid-afternoon slump. Even short walks help improve brain function, increase heart health and ease depression.
Day 10: Give yourself the gift of a quiet mind. Take 10 deep breaths.
Help transition from work time to downtime using abdominal breathing exercises. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take deep breaths through your nose all the way to your diaphragm, slowly exhaling through your mouth, and rediscover the holiday spirit
Day 11: Give yourself the gift of connection. Schedule 11 minutes with a friend or family member.
Don’t let the busy holiday season distract you from those most important to you. Make time this evening to connect with loved ones. Even virtual connections are a boost to our health.
Day 12: Give yourself the gift of inner peace. Practice 12 minutes of meditation.
You have filled your days with 11 strategies for wellness, and now take 12 minutes to find your inner zen and drift off to sleep.