Remember how fun making Christmas lists used to be as a kid? I’d grab a toy catalog and get to work circling every other picture with my red pen, then happily write it all out into one, long list.
Somewhere down the line, Christmas list-making became a lot less fun and a lot more stressful.
With so many presents to buy, decorations to put up, and events to attend, it’s hard to think about what I personally want for Christmas. Then when I do, it’s often something incredibly lame, like “replacement shoes for the ones that are worn out,” or “a handyman to fix our fireplace” (by the way, if anyone knows a good handyman, please let me know).
So much of “Adulting” means putting others’ needs before your own. This is not an entirely terrible idea in theory, as I am all about working to live a more selfless life. But there is a difference between selflessness and an abandonment of self-care; between being mindful of others’ needs and losing a sense of what YOU need. The reality is, we can only help others to the extent that we ourselves are healthy; so in that sense, investing in yourself is also investing in the ones you love.
Adults, UNITE! It’s time to reclaim our Christmas lists! Not with remote-controlled cars or toy trains (unless that’s your thing; no judgement), but with ADULT indulgences: splurges to make your life happier and healthier. Here’s the thing - most people find it hard to spend money on the items below; so why not ask for some of these things for Christmas instead of getting one more sweater that you only half-like? Below is a Christmas list I’ve actually ENJOYED coming up with. Some of the links below are Raleigh-specific, but the ideas can be applied anywhere:
Healthy Gifts to Ask Santa (or Aunt Etna) for this Christmas:
Classes are a chance to explore something you love that you probably don’t give yourself enough time to do...they are also an excellent excuse to get out of the house, let someone else handle dinner, and have some me-time at least once a week for 6-8 weeks. Hobby classes are awesome (I have taken sewing & cooking classes that I looooved), and regular exercise classes are always a great idea. Below are a few other movement-type ideas you may not have considered:
- Ballroom Dancing. Admit it: you think about doing this every time you watch “Dancing with the Stars.” That is precisely why my husband just gave me this present for my birthday! Check out Southern Star Ballroom in North Raleigh.
- Circus Techniques. These places are getting more and more popular, which is so fun! Places like Cirque de Vol can teach you how to hang from a trapeze or twist yourself up into silks! A childhood dream come true!
- Parkour. Yeeeeessssssss…..doesn’t this sound crazy? CRAZY-AWESOME: Check out Enso Movement with locations in Raleigh and Durham.
We don’t always have the time or money to make it to a gym. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to turn your home into your own personal gym. Seriously: no giant treadmills or large-scale workout systems required (but totally cool if that’s what you’re into!). There are tons of great workout programs where the below equipment is all you need (Want some help getting started? Let’s have a quick convo…). At minimum, here’s what to ask for:
- A set (or two) of dumbbells. These dumbbells should be heavy enough to be as challenging as possible while still maintaining good form. Grab one set of two equal weights, then one more single dumbbell that’s just a little heavier.
- A band, or set of bands. Having a band allows you to do a workout anywhere: on the go, in a hotel room, at your Aunt Etna’s house. Having a few bands on hand allows you greater flexibility when an exercise feels more or less challenging. This set is a little pricey, but they are super-versatile and I love them.
- A mat. Not absolutely essential, but a mat makes floor work feel better than using an old beach towel or laying on your dog-hair-laden carpet.
Sure, everyone loves to feel pampered, but remember, this is more than just pampering: the below may be a much-needed stress relief, muscle relaxation, or brain break for YOU…
- Massage. Lately, I have been seeing Ityra at Capital Massage for a Thai-style massage to get some extra flexibility in tight muscles. A-MAZ-ING.
- Chiropractor. Have some lingering pain that just won’t go away and you can’t figure out what's going on? It may be something that could be easily worked out with a few visits to a good chiropractor. I can’t recommend Jess at Oak City Chiropractic enough!
- Babysitting. Yes, I mean it. Parents, this is SELF-CARE. You don’t have to have a great excuse or a big event: ask for babysitting for a few hours to just sit in a coffee shop, enjoy the peace, journal, or do nothing at all.
EXERCISE AND NUTRITION SESSIONS
- Personal Training. For many of us, classes just don’t fit into our chaotic schedules. Heck, driving to a gym might not even fit into the chaos! If you don’t feel ready to tackle exercise on your own, consider trying at-home personal training! I travel with a gym in my trunk and bring the workouts to you: all you have to do is roll out of bed and answer the door. Personal training may feel like a big indulgence for you to pay for year-round, but I have a great “jump start” package to help you feel confident and set up with your own workout and nutrition plan so you can take off on your own.
- Online Coaching. This is an incredible way to find daily accountability and a nutrition/exercise plan for the entire year. My online coaching program starts in January, and spots are limited; if you have questions, I’d love to tell you more!
I’ve jumped on the supplement train late in life because my general viewpoint on such things is that we should all just eat healthy foods and get our nutrients the old-fashioned way. The reality, however, is that we DON’T always eat the healthiest, and even when we do, there are important nutrients our diet benefits from getting a little extra help with. I will write a more extensive post about this later, but below are some ideas and info to help get you started on what to ask for:
If you find cooking at home extremely difficult, perhaps the reason is your environment is working against you. Some questions to ask yourself:
- "Do I have basic cooking staples in my pantry/fridge that are included in most recipes?"
- "Do I have kitchen equipment that makes cooking easier and more enjoyable?"
- "Do I know what to cook and how to prep, or do I need some help learning these skills?"
Look for another post on this later in the year, but for now, here are a few cooking items to consider putting on your Christmas list:
- A good set of pots and pans. “Good” is subjective, as everyone’s price point will differ. But if you are using the same pots and pans you inherited from Aunt Etna while in college, it may be time for an upgrade.
- A good set of knives. Same story as above: if your knives aren’t actually cutting anymore, it’s time to get new knives.
- A healthy assortment of spices. Spices are a great way to make cooking more fun and add variety to your dishes without adding calories. You can ask for a box of spices without even knowing what to do with half of them, then make it an adventure to slowly begin trying them out on new Pinterest recipes.
- A pantry/fridge re-stock. If money is super-tight, it makes flipping your kitchen into “healthy and user-friendly” very difficult. Use Christmas as a way to get your kitchen ready for action by making it a gift from someone to help fill it with the essential basics. Not sure what those are? Reach out and I can send you a list!
- Meal delivery services. If cooking every meal is just not where you are right now, online companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron offer an easy way to have meals delivered right to your doorstep.
- Help learning how to prep, plan, and cook. If the main problem is a knowledge one, this is a good time to reach out and ask for help! I offer nitty-gritty nutrition sessions where we tackle whatever it is you are struggling most with and find a way to move through it. Sessions are super-practical and individualized to your life; they can take place in your kitchen or mine.
...So there you have it: your fun and healthy Adult Christmas List. Aunt Etna may be a little perplexed when you tell her what you really want (please, no more socks), but she loves you anyway.