Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas
It’s ironic that I’m passing along advice on how to stay healthy during the holiday season.
Gurrrlll! I’ve been sick for a week. Some nasty cold has laid me low.
I do, however, understand the need for preventative care. When I was 27 years old, I had a near fatal episode of congestive heart failure. I have since struggled with staying healthy (and alive) and have been in treatment for cardiomyopathy for the past 18 years (which makes me about 29).
I can’t emphasize enough how important preventative care is for anybody and everybody . . . especially mommas.
Staying healthy for the holidays can be a struggle. There is the change in seasons. The stress. The extra goodies and rich food. The stress. The events, parties, and impromptu Christmas-around-the-World unit we thought would be a good idea to spring on the kiddos. The STRESS.
I realize that much of it is self-induced, but as laidback as I normally am, I STILL find myself ignoring some good habits that will help me have a healthier and happier holiday season.
I want to share with you some of my favorite tips and practices that constitute my holiday wellness plan.
You do need to know that I am not a medical professional. The closest I got to practicing medicine was an Anatomy and Physiology class I took in college. I was the ONLY education major in that class. Those baby nurses scared me to death. They were entirely too chipper about blood cells and infectious diseases.
1. My crockpot is in constant rotation. Soups and warm meals are what your family needs. It’s tempting to order pizza or just graze on the Christmas cookies you just made. Have a plan and work it. I also like to make sure my meals contain lots of healthy spices and herbs. Turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon—those are my go-to add-ins. This Chicken Soup on my blog is in constant rotation during the summer months. I wrote the post a few years ago when my husband was a bi-vocational pastor. He now has a full-time pastorate, and can I tell you that we are even busier? My crockpot is still my best friend.
2. Pay attention to your skin. I like to apply a creamy ointment to my wet skin right after my bath. I also keep a supply of Vaseline and similar products to use on lips and cracked feet. And speaking of bath, have you ever taken a soak in a warm tub sprinkled with Epsom salts and lavender? Heavenly. Plus, it is a good way to keep those magnesium levels up.
3. Keep a consistent bedtime. This is HARD . . . I know. I have had too many late nights. But the body needs sleep. And it needs good sleep. Momma of new babies . . . I’m sorry . . . it will get better.
4. Not everybody’s jumped on the diffuser train, but we love them. Google an immune booster blend to make or buy. I like some of the spicier scents that smell more like Christmas. If all else fails, you can simmer orange peels and cinnamon sticks in a pot of water on the top of the stove.
5. Make sure you’re moving. It’s harder to talk oneself into a walk when it’s colder, but dancing around the living room to some peppy Christmas music will do a body good . . . plus the kids will love it!
6. Plan a time every day you can sit down with a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate. There is something calming about this kind of break. Open up a book of Christmas poems or read aloud to enjoy time with your family. Hot cocoa breaks have always been a hit at my house!
7. This might sound counterintuitive to not complicating your days, but working on a creative project like knitting or embroidery is perfect for stimulating creativity and rest at the same time. I also like coloring in one of my adult coloring books. In fact, you can download an adorable FREE zendoodle to color on my blog. What is even more specialer (not a word) is that my mom drew it. It is one of three little Christmas choir girls. Adorable!
8. Speaking of Mom, she is a Respiratory Therapist and one of the practices I have taken with me into adulthood is using a cool mist humidifier during the winter months. There are quite a number of benefits to running one. Your lungs will like it.
9. Music can be a healer. Create a playlist of beautiful Christmas music. Play it throughout your day.
10. Don’t overschedule. We really don’t have to do everything our friends are doing. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. Especially when visiting family for the holidays out of state. My energy level has always been low. I sometimes have to say “no” to shopping trips and late night games around the table. I don’t please everyone, but I pay for overdoing it.
And to add to the overscheduling point. Consider lessening your homeschool load for the month of December. Believe me. It will all still be there in January.
11. Simplify those precious traditions. If you think back to your childhood, you most likely will remember those simple Christmas traditions the most. One of our big traditions was holiday baking. I have discovered over the years that there are baking projects I just need to stay away from. I really am not a good cookie maker, but my family loves Christmas cookies. My solution is to buy refrigerated cookie dough.
12. In our culture it can be difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I think a lot of us homeschool mommas have done a pretty good job in that department. I am always touched by the Jesus trees, advent traditions, and Scripture studies I see you mommas doing with your kids. We also can’t neglect our own personal prayer and devotion.
There is something precious and holy about setting aside time for worship during the days leading up to Christmas. I can’t tell you what a balm it is to the soul. Think about it! No matter what you are experiencing, He is the Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father. He was sent in a lowly manger to become MY Savior and the Savior to the entire world.
My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you take care of yourself. Don’t get wrapped up (ha! See what I did there) in expectations and burdened by busyness. Embrace simplicity and learn to say “NO” to drama and complication. Fill your heart and soul with Scripture and beautiful music. Learn to appreciate the quiet moments and find joy in the small things.
Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining