The bright lights, celebratory feasts and gifts galore enhance the holiday season. However, all the wrapped presents and Christmas lights shining all night long, form a ton of excess garbage and energy. The Center for Disease Control reports that Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. That got me thinking. Since I research and report on taking small steps toward better health, why don’t I investigate easy, eco-friendly tips to go green this holiday season.
For bargain shoppers, creative gift-givers and home decor aficionados, the most wonderful time of year is the winter holiday season. What truly makes the season so special is the daily love and cheery sentiments. Although, in this month of festivities, who doesn’t enjoy a silly secret gift exchange or meaningful present from a loved one? Now in our third year, it’s our tradition to showcase our favorite holiday gifts that promote wellness. Check out our newly-released 2016 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide that includes ideas for kids of any ages. Hopefully these will impress and excite your favorite wellness warrior, fit kid or friend who’s ready to take small steps toward better health.
No matter who you are, where you live or what your background is, this time of year tends to be chaotic for everyone. The days are jam packed with work meetings in an effort to get it all in before the holidays; social calendars are filled, often double booked on weekends for both kids and adults; and the shopping trips often create heightened traffic and chaos in our local communities. It’s hard to be zen because everyone is moving in different directions. So many Americans cite the holidays as the most stressful time of year. So, how can we really make this easier on ourselves? Last year, I showcased some of my favorite tips for de-stressing over the holiday season. This year, I want to keep it simple – just smile.
As a recovering work-obsessed multi-tasker, I spent most days analyzing work and life situations while also writing emails, listening to conference calls in the car driving, or reading industry information during exercise sessions. The idea of “doing it all” energized me. But truthfully, I was always exhausted and stressed. I took yoga a few times to “de-stress,” but found limiting my thoughts to be impossible. In addition, I felt foolish because I thought everyone around me was “better at stretching.” So I gave up before I really even began. Despite my lackluster first experiences with it, I ran to yoga after my second breast cancer diagnosis and haven’t turned back since.
Prior to launching Pretty Wellness, I rarely revealed to friends and family how much I really knew about health and wellness. Perhaps I didn’t want to sound too preachy. Or maybe I was afraid of sounding hypocritical, given my former Diet Dr. Pepper addiction (it was once my biggest vice). Regardless, years of nutrition electives in college and part-time jobs as an ACE certified aerobics instructor have given me hands-on access to the latest nutritional information. (Not to mention the countless evenings chugging light beer and reading girly fitness magazines.) While I knew that eating whole foods would contribute to a more healthy and active body, a part of me still felt invincible and wasn’t necessarily practicing what I knew. It took my second round of breast cancer to re-educate myself on fueling my body.
As a breast cancer survivor, I’m not sure whether I love October or fear it. Seeing the spectrum of pink colors everywhere can be overwhelming. It’s a constant reminder that I’m sick. And yes, I know that thousands of women and men are afflicted with this disease yearly, so the pink promotion isn’t about me being ill. But sometimes, I just get inside my head. My thoughts go to the scary places that we all want to push away. And sometimes, I just want to cry.