December is a busy time. Between work, family obligations, and preparations for the holiday, many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed and neglect their health as a result.
When it comes to wellbeing, a little can go a long way. That's why we've put together an easy 12 day wellbeing challenge to help you look after yourself this holiday season.
Day 1: Take a Break
Rest is vital for good health, and most of us do not get enough of it. Therefore, kick off your 12 Days of Christmas Wellbeing by taking a few minutes for yourself.
Today, give yourself full permission to read a book, take a hot bath, play a video game, call a friend, play with your pet, or do any other activity that is fun and relaxing to you. It could even be taking a nap!
Day 2: Do 10 Minutes of Yoga
Yoga has a vast array of health benefits, from improving flexibility and strengthening muscles to giving you energy and boosting your mental health.
You don’t need any equipment to start practicing yoga; just your body, a few spare minutes, and an intention. Why not start with one of Yoga With Adriene’s 10-minute home practices?
Day 3: Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is all about taking steps to give yourself the best chance of sleeping well. Take some time today to consider what might be preventing you from sleeping well and take some steps to remedy it.
Some easy sleep hygiene hacks include following a set nightly routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, unplugging from screens 60 minutes before bed, and cutting out caffeine later in the day.
Day 4: Help Someone
When we help others, everyone benefits. Give someone else the gift of your time and assistance today, and you’ll feel great about it as well as making the world a better place one small act of kindness at a time.
How about getting some shopping for an elderly neighbor, donating money or items to a cause close to your heart, or volunteering your time at your local food bank?
Day 5: Ask for Help
Many of us are willing to help others, but unwilling to ask for help ourselves. We may believe that we have to “do it all” or that asking for help is a weakness.
That’s why today’s challenge is to ask for help. This could be as simple as asking your partner or child to handle a chore for you. Or if you’re overwhelmed at work, talk to your boss and tell them you need some help with your workload. Whatever is currently stressing you out, reach out and see if you can find someone to take some of it off your plate.
Day 6: Try a New Fruit or Vegetable
Most of us could benefit from eating more fresh produce and from widening the plant-based foods we include in our diet. Today, choose a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had before and give it a try. You might discover a new favorite!
Day 7: Track Your Water Intake
Do you drink enough water? Even mild dehydration can cause headaches and mood swings, reduce your energy, and give you cravings for unhealthy foods.
Track your water intake today and aim for at least 3 liters if you’re a man and 2 liters if you’re a woman (according to the Mayo Clinic, men need about 3.7 liters of water per day and women need 2.7, but around 20% of this comes from the water in food such as fruits and vegetables.)
Day 8: Have an Alcohol-Free Day
If you drink alcohol, you may find yourself drinking more than usual in the period from Thanksgiving to New Year. But after a few heavy nights you might find yourself struggling to sleep and to get going in the morning, feeling tired, and craving unhealthy foods such as refined sugar.
Giving yourself a day off every now and then will help you to stay healthy through the festive season. Why not try an alcohol-free beer, mocktail, or sparkling fruit drink instead?
Day 9: Get Outside
Getting out in the fresh air has so many health benefits, from improving digestion to lowering blood pressure to helping you feel happier. Aim to get outside for at least 30 minutes today. This could involve going for a walk, run, or cycle, gardening, playing with your children, or just drinking your morning coffee on the porch.
Day 10: Dance
Dancing can work wonders for both your physical and mental health. For today, we’d like you to try out some of your best moves.
Dance with your friends at a Christmas party, do a dance workout on YouTube, attend a dance or Zumba class at your local gym, or just put on some favorite tunes and dance around your living room.
Day 11: Go for a Walk
Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise. You can do it almost anywhere, and all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Set aside some time today to take a walk. Take someone else along and talk as you walk, put your headphones in and play some uplifting tunes, or just enjoy the scenery.
Day 12: Be Kind to Yourself
Today and as we move closer to Christmas and the end of the year, focus on speaking kindly to yourself. This time of year comes with many additional obligations, as well as the usual stressors of life. Treat yourself with patience, forgiveness, and compassion, and don't forget to breathe.