Keeping calm, simple for Monthly Challenge

coffee

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is tradition in our house to go Christmas tree shopping. I normally hit the grocery and a yoga class Sunday mornings. I decided this morning I needed to relax and drink my coffee in peace before picking out our tree.

I asked my readers for ideas for the November Monthly Challenge. I got a lot of great ideas and used them.

I saved one idea for Go Fit Girl’s December Monthly Challenge.

We’ll get to that shortly.

December is a tough month for me and for many others as well. We are so busy with the end of the year at work, with the holidays, travel, extra tasks, multiple parties, certain expectations, many pressures.

Be kind to yourself this month. Let’s not forget the post I wrote in August titled, Do you want to be happy? Make sure to take care of yourself during this hectic, stressful over the top time.

Exercise: Exercise of any kind is important all year round. But it is really important when under stress. Try to exercise at least three times a week, but more is better. Go for a walk, catch a yoga class, take Zumba. Whatever you like to do do it. Make sure to make time for yourself. You can do as little as 15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a full exercise regime to alter your mood.

Nutrition: We can probably guarantee any diet or healthy way of eating we try to maintain will go out the window this month. Be OK with that. Decide if it is worth it to drink a bottle of wine (yes, I said bottle and not glass). If you have a party to go to on Saturday night make the choice on Friday to have a moderately healthy dinner and not have too much to drink. If you want that Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, then have it. But drink lots of water for the rest of the day.

5 for December: This idea comes from one of my friends and readers, Nicole M. As Nicole, pointed out this time of year many of us feel that we don’t have enough time or money. So how about a challenge based on those very real concerns?

There are things you can do for yourself or others that are simple, easy, free and mean so much.

Let’s try Free 5 in 5 (thanks, Nicole). You could attempt 5 things each day, each week or this month. It’s simple and we can all participate. And almost all of these suggestions are free.

Meditate for 5 minutes; take a brisk 5-minute walk; try handstand or headstand for 5 minutes (this one is definitely one for me); do crunches for 5 minutes; do a couple of relaxing yoga poses for 5 minutes; how about a round of jumping jacks for 5 minutes; or 5 minutes of savasana …

Let 5 cars ahead of you while in traffic (doesn’t have to be all at once); smile at 5 strangers; give 5 strangers a compliment; find 5 things you like about yourself; pick up 5 pieces of trash (maybe while on your 5-minute walk); have 5 servings of water before having an adult beverage; have 5 fruits/veggies 5 times this month (or more);

Since it is the holiday season we could give just a little. If money is tight but you still want to give maybe you could donate $5. Think about the food bank and toy drives.

Just 5 bucks at the food bank can go a long way. According to Alameda County Food Bank (the local food bank I support), they distribute $4 worth of food (retail value) for every $1 donation. According to another food bank website: For every dollar, the Food Bank can acquire 15 pounds of food, or 11 meals for those in need.

You could also volunteer 5 times this month or help 5 people. Maybe someone needs help shopping at the grocery store; or crossing the street; or help filling out paperwork at the bank; or needs a seat on the bus or train …

It’s great to help others and is the true spirit of the holiday season. But don’t forget to take care of you. If you need that glass of wine or chocolate or yoga class or walk or movie and popcorn then do it.

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