6 Tips for health and happiness during the holidays!

Welcome to the holiday season.  Christmas time can bring many different emotions, from excitement while we look forward to seeing family and friends, to anxiety about all the expectations.  Feeling cheerful looking forward to food, drink, gifts, and more food, then experiencing guilt for not sticking to our usual healthy habits.  Here are 6 tips to help you hold on tight during the holiday emotional roller coaster!

1.  Don't do everything!  Write out a list of everything you think you should get done during the holidays.  Now take your pen and cross out half of those items.  Keep the ones most meaningful to you.  If you don't enjoy baking, and it is just a stressful "to do" item, cross it off the list!!  No one needs the extra sugar and calories anyway.  Dread writing out Christmas cards:  cross off.  Now you are being environmentally friendly.  Give yourself permission to let go of the should's.  The only thing you should do is be kind.  

2.  Pack the fridge with veggies and fruit you enjoy.  Prior to going to a Christmas party or family event, eat some carrot sticks or an apple.  

3.  Drink water.  It is easy to replace water with hot chocolate, special gingerbread spice coffee drinks, wine, and other beverages that are often full of sugar.  Don't forget water!  Have a big glass first thing in the morning, take a water bottle with you when you go out, and drink water with your apple prior to holiday events.  

4.  Stop and breathe.  It can be easy to go through our day with shallow breaths, especially when stressed.  Take one minute.  Sit comfortably and focus on nothing other than deep breaths.  Notice your body expand and deflate with each full breath.  Let all other thoughts drift away for this one minute.  Deep breaths send signals to the body that result in relaxation and a calm feeling.  

5.  Do some physical activity every day.  10 minutes is great!  Walk around your block before you hop in the car to go to the mall.  Get down on your living room floor and do 10 minutes of your favourite mat exercises.  (Or even your not-so-favourite)

6.  Have a sense of humour.  Expecting a perfect holiday season?  Hahahaha ...  Perfect does not happen.  Find the humour.  Tree falls over after you have completed decorating it.  That is really funny.  Burned the special dish you were preparing.  Put a smile on your face.  Now you have a good story to tell.  Laughing is good for us.  Watch the movie "Elf" with Will Ferrell.  Again.  


50+ Fit and Fiery

Age 50 and over.  What is happening?  Well lots of changes, in our bodies, our minds, and in our lives.  As I turned 50 I realized that the title that I most cherished over the past 23 years, "Mom of Minor Children", no longer applied.  This also affected my social life as hanging out with the other hockey/soccer/cheer parents was over.  Mentally, we often grapple at this age with reflections of our adult life to this point, and what challenges we want to take on going forward (if any).  Okay, now the physical changes.  I have always been a fit person but now the weight seems easier to stay on, harder to come off.  Other "fun" changes include menopause, new or enhanced medical conditions, past injuries that are giving us more problems.  Fun indeed.  

Well, let's not make this a downer!  Being this age means we now have the time to invest in ourselves, explore interests, try new activities, focus on our health.  We are less in a daily survival mode of meals, laundry, bills, kids sports, career, groceries, etc.  Coming to the "Fit" part of the title, having some free time to breathe means we can investigate new types of fitness, and find out what works for us.  In my late 40s I discovered Pilates.  Both as a participant, and then as a certified Mat Pilates instructor, I fell in love with this form of fitness.  The benefits are many for all ages, and in the 50+ age group, the specific outcomes are great.  Core strength means a flatter tummy, whittled down waist, strong back, better posture, and improved balance.  

Have you ever noticed a picture of you that someone else took, and learned something about yourself?  That happened to me a few years ago.  I looked at a couple photos, and thought "what is going on with my posture?  Not good!"  So I became aware, and self corrected when I remembered, but once I started doing Pilates it became more and more natural to go through the day with a proper posture due to strengthening and stretching the appropriate muscles.  I have now had that photo experience more recently, but with a better outcome:  "Hey, my posture looks really good in this photo, a photo that I did not know was being taken (and therefore did not stand up straight just for the photo-op.)"

So in our more mature ages, we can take fit to a new level.  Trying out new things, finding what you love, and have fun at, and working a variety of physical fitness activities into your life.  

So in addition to being 50+ and Fit, what about "Fiery"?  A definition of fiery is "consisting of fire or burning strongly and brightly".  Ya baby, I like the idea of burning strongly and brightly.  Some synonyms are "fierce, hot, spirited, sizzling".  Apply these concepts to yourself and see if you don't feel sassy and sit up a little taller.  Yes, let's be Fiery.  Take a moment to think about what that word means to you.  Take a chance, try something new, laugh out loud, turn up the music and dance by yourself, learn a new skill.  Burn strongly and brightly my friends.  

What is age 50+?  A time to have a different kind of freedom, a time to take charge of health and fitness, a time to try something new.  A time to take deep breaths, smile, and enjoy.  

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Healthy, Fit, and Aging?

Check out the article I wrote for "Living" magazine using this link:


The article discussed the benefits and considerations of exercise as we get older.  The natural aging process affects our bones, joints, muscles, brain .. really all parts of our bodies.  The good news is we can do something to slow or reverse these processes:  stay active!  For example, resistance exercises using dumbbells, resistance bands, or even our own body weight against gravity, will build muscles and counteract the gradual muscle loss that occurs with age.  We can stay strong, fit, and continue to do the activities we love!