Give the gift of health this season – to yourself

What does the holiday season hold for you this year? A gathering of family and friends perhaps, or a trip to some place warm? However you choose to spend this years’ holiday, don’t forget one of the most important persons on your list, you, or your most valuable asset, your good health.

We deserve to receive as well as to give, besides how can we give freely of our time and energies if we are tired, stress or not feeling well? It’s so much easier to create fond holiday memories when you are healthy and feel good about yourself. Your personal message of love is visible in your smile and your relaxed state of mind because you do feel well.

Here are some simple ideas that may help you keep your health, mental or otherwise during this holiday season.

To spare your mental health, first take care of your physical health. Most of us find it difficult to keep up with exercise schedules during the holiday season, but try not to let it go completely. Allow yourself some feasting and don’t be critical of your choices. Just plan to return to your usual good eating habits following the holiday. Protect yourself from colds and flu with common sense measures: plenty of rest, lots of good water, B vitamins, zinc lozenges and vitamin C.

Plan some simple meals before and after the feast to allow your digestion to rest. A simple soup made with vegetables or some leftover turkey stock and rice will be a welcome break from the heavier foods of winter and feasting. Or, try a meal of brown rice and steamed vegetables. Many of us end up with colds or flu following the holiday season and chalked up to the cold or the rush and no sleep, yet excessive eating can be part of the picture too.

Wrap up a gift to yourself, if not physically then mentally. Give yourself the gift of time with a special book that you’ve wanted for so long. Following the holiday plan a personal day or half day off to do with as you want.

The Institute of HeartMath ( has devised several stress-prevention techniques including one called Freeze-Frame. The term itself says several things, but essentially don’t act or speak rashly until you stop and more clearly evaluate the situation. Frame the moment in your mind, focus and ask for direction. This simple technique saves unnecessary hard feelings between friends and family and saves your sanity. If you have acted unfairly a sincere apology, "I’m sorry" with no excuses or explanations will hopefully salvage the relationship but more importantly salvage your own mental health.

And finally be thankful for your health even if it’s not perfect it’s a gift that can usually be improved upon. To all my readers out there thank you for your continued support of my column. From my hands to your heart happy holidays, Rebecca.