Perception: Half Full or Half Empty?

We’ve all heard the old adage “is your cup half empty or half full?” I’m assuming most of you have fully ascertained the significance of this question, but in case you’ve missed it, the point is to demonstrate whether you are an optimism or pessimist. It’s all about perception – your perception.


Growing up I was clearly a pessimist, especially in direct contrast to my mother, an eternal optimist, and yet, though I still lean towards pessimism (more correctly in my case cynicism), I generally see my cups as half full. I’m not sure that either approach creates more success or happiness for any of us, but I do feel that chronically seeing your life (cup) as half empty can lead you towards inactivity, indecisiveness, and depression. Some may argue that the optimistic approach can lend oneself into complacency, and they might be right. It really comes down to what you do about the cup once you clarify it’s condition.


If you feel your cup (life) is half empty, how motivated are you to fill the rest of it?

Conversely, if your life is half full, is that enough or will you strive to “top off the cup?”

I’m asking these questions today because I find that my clients often seek my help in teaching them how to fill their lives/cups fully – regardless of whether they’re seen as half full or half empty. After all, a FULL LIFE is what we all want, right?

So my advice to this issue is to first acknowledge whether you base approach to life is pessimistic (negative) or optimistic (positive). Then find a motivating goal that fits in with your approach. In other words, if you view your cup as half full – you should seek out a goal that challenges you to work harder and gain even more positive results – capitalizing on your already existing confidence and optimism.


Those that tend towards half empty perceptions, might benefit more from goals that change their approaches – find new ways to inspire and fill the voids – ways that blast through pessimism and leave achievement in their wake. You might also discover that you perceive some aspects of your life as half full while other areas are half empty. That’s okay, that’s probably what most of us do. Just remember to alter your goals to fit your feelings.

I tend to feel that positive viewpoints need to constantly up the challenge, while negative viewpoints need to think outside the box more. Either version of motivators work – but everyone and every circumstance needs a different kind of push. They key to remember is that motivators are not one-size-fits-all. (What motivates you to lose weight or improve your relationships will not necessarily work for the next person.)


When none of these approaches fit the bill – I say drink the cup down, and start fresh. As you know if you’ve followed by blog for any length of time, I generally prefer to shake it all up, and be the one to control what’s happening in my life (filling my cup) – and that way I can assure that I can fill it to the best of my abilities. Lastly I will leave you with this wonderful quote from president Harry S. Truman:


Are you giving up already?

Six weeks into the new year and I see many people/clients who were energized and committed to getting into shape (i.e., losing body fat and making healthier nutritional choices) already giving up. My standard motto is “you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make them drink.” This is highly applicable to those of you who are not fully resolved to the goal of taking healthier care of your body. No matter how many routines I create for you, no matter whether you follow one of my meal plans, or join Jenny Craig, if you are not absolutely committed to changing your body inside and out, then you have probably given up already – or are close to it.


With that said, I hope to offer a little in-your-face re-motivation, and get you, or keep you, back on track. So let’s look at the WHY of your decision to get into shape. Did you decide to “diet and exercise” because you wanted to fit into a smaller size of clothes? Were you tired of having less stamina and energy? Was your health at risk according to doctors? Or were you simply being nagged by worried family and friends? I can tell you now that all of those reasons are not enough.

If I told you that you had one month to live unless you did 50 jumping jacks every morning and never ate another french fry again would you do it? Probably. That seems do-able, right?

Jumping Jacks

But if you could stave off death by spending 30 minutes three times a week at a gym and eating healthy small portions six times a day for five days a week (eating and drinking your favorite foods for the other two) would that be too much of a change to your lifestyle to commit too? The answer appears to be yes for many of you.

It all comes down to how badly you want it. Obviously none of you reading this are facing imminent death (presumably) so again the stakes seem less tangible – more immortal if you will. But I assure you, they’re not. If you have body fat levels of 30% or more you are in serious risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and a significantly reduced life span. But like many humans, unless death is knocking blatantly on our door, we don’t consider the future when it comes to caring for our bodies.


So if you’ve given up your 2015 quest for health, I implore you to dig a little deeper, make the stakes more urgent and personal, get up off that chair and just DO IT. Same goes for those of you who are starting to slack off on your motivation and giving your goals less importance.

As the quote goes from one of my favorite movies (Galaxy Quest) “never give up, never surrender!” The journey from fat to fit is tough but the end result is so worth it – and if you stick with it, you might just thank me when you’re 80!


What Are Your Kids Drinking?

Today I am getting back on my “nutrition for kids” soap-box to address a continuing trend of parents thinking it’s okay to give kids lemonade and 7-up (or any soda) with their meals. Every time we eat out with our daughter I see other kids getting lemonade or clear soda (7-up, Sprite) with their meals. At my daughter’s school every open-house, award ceremony or celebration includes cookies and 7-up or lemonade. I want to scream out “why are you offering them sugar and sugar? Don’t you know how bad that quantity of sugar is?


If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m all about moderation, and that includes sugar. But I am astonished to see how little regard these two innocent-seeming liquids appear to have with parents.

Just on simple logic, I would think if you’re ordering high fat and carbs “kid-friendly” foods like mac n’ cheese, chicken fingers and fries, or pizza, that you’d opt for water to at least balance out these nutritionally void meals. Add into the equation that kids often get dessert after such a meal, and you’ve just given them plenty of sugar. But no, the world at large thinks nothing of sugar + sugar where kids are concerned.


Many parents and restaurants offer fruit juices as an option, thinking that these are healthier. Well, I’m here to tell you they’re not. Perhaps you need an in-your face assessment of what is really in these drinks?

8 oz of Lemonade (like Minute Maid) = 27 grms Sugar

8 oz of Orange Juice = 24 grms Sugar

8 oz of Apple Juice = 26 grms Sugar

8 oz of 7-Up/Sprit = 26 grms Sugar

8 oz of Coke = 26 grms Sugar

1 Capri Sun packet = 18 grms Sugar

8 oz Nesquik Chocolate milk = 29 grms Sugar

(Don’t forget, you often give them refills too!)


Now you might be saying “so what? What’s so bad about 26 grams of sugar?” Well, besides the fact that it offers no nutritional value, it can damage their metabolism, and increase their risk of obesity and type II diabetes, among other health issues (like mood swings and hormonal spikes). I’m not even touching upon the deadly high-fructose corn syrup issue (in sodas), or the quantity of sugars in a Jamba Juice or other seemingly “healthy” juices.

The American Heart Association has set guidelines for the limits of added sugar that kids should consume each day. (Added sugar means “refined sugar or sugar substitutes” as fruit and other foods contain natural sugars.) The amount of added sugar that a child should consume on a daily basis varies depending on the child’s age and caloric intake, but here’s their basic recommendation:

Preschoolers should limit added sugar to about 16 grams per day

Children ages 4 to 11 should limit added sugar to about 12 grams a day

Pre-teen and teens should not have more than 20 to 32 grams per day

Clearly you can see how one drink at lunch has already maxed out the quantity of added sugar your child consumes. Now factor in any desserts or sweet-treats they’ve consumed that day and you’ve easily overloaded their sensitive systems.


I was criticized repeatedly when my daughter was a baby because I didn’t give her any refined sugar until she was 2. No birthday cake, ice cream, candies, fruit yogurt, or fruit juice. I was called controlling, silly, and even, albeit jokingly, evil. My Father-In-Law asked once why I didn’t give my toddler apple juice. I replied that she had a bowl-full of apple slices in front of her and a bottle of water and once in her stomach she would have “apple juice.” (He didn’t find my sarcasm funny.) I did point out that this way she was getting fiber that is missing from filtered apple juice, but he’d already tuned me out.


The reality is that America loves it’s sugar and many well-meaning parents blindly fall into line with their children’s nutrition. But hopefully you’ll stare a little longer at the facts posted above, and at least think twice next time before giving your children that innocuous little beverage. Perhaps on another day I’ll bring up the issue of rampant use of sodium in America and how much of that harmful substance you and your children are consuming, but today my attack is on sugar. Have a sweet day!


Stuck In A Rut?

Wake up call people — it’s already February of 2015. Raise your hand if your commitment to getting in shape that was so passionately fueled last month, has slowed it’s momentum or worse, stopped completely.  Now let’s see a show of hands of those who just never got their mojo ramped up enough to even get off the couch yet this year – the fact being that you are stuck in a rut.


This is unfortunately all too common with 85% of the over-weight population in America. The task of shedding fat when you clearly don’t already enjoy exercise can seem very daunting. Combine that with poor nutrition, and the depressing momentum of increased weight with decreased energy and stamina and you will be STUCK in a cycle of immobility and negative thoughts.

So how do you get un-stuck? There’s no one-size fits all answer to this, but there are choices. Some are slow and steady, some are more aggressive.  It’s all about what kind of person you are, and how important your life and health are to you. The key here is motivation. I’ve written many times in this blog about tricks to getting and staying motivated. I won’t reiterate them here – surf this blog and read them for yourself. But know this, if you don’t really want to see/feel a change in your body and internal health, then you will stay in your rut and I suggest you just find a way to be happy there (yes my sarcasm is showing).  Below I list several options for starting your journey to health and fitness, beginning with the easiest and progressing to more aggressive choices.

Stand up! Right now!


Set a phone or watch timer and every 30 minutes stand up and move. Walk some stairs, do some stretches, march in place, whatever low impact activity you can muster, but do it for 4 minutes. You do this 6-10 times a day and the changes to your body, stamina and mood will surprise you. Then progress to more energetic activities like jumping jacks, desk or wall push ups, air squats, etc.


Take a walk.

No need to run – running is best for the young or non-obese. But walking – fast walking – preferably with a hill or two will get your heart in to the fat burning zone, tone your lower extremities and elevate your mood significantly. Start with a half mile, progress up to 3 miles. Bring music or a friend – use a smart phone app that spews out motivational reminders — whatever helps you stay on task. (A half mile will take you 10 minutes on average.)


Do NOT diet or buy a new exercise DVD.

These options are too easy to quit, and too temporary. Instead, buy a cookbook of low calorie, easy to make meals and spend some time on your feet cooking. Join a gym and commit to 3 times a week doing something different each time – for only 30 minutes. This keeps your time commitment manageable, your boredom level low, and the constant changing up of what you do there will keep your body from plateauing thereby making results continue which perpetuate motivation for you to continue.


Make a contract.

Get a workout buddy and sign a contract with each other to keep each other on task and accountable. Take turns designing the workouts – keep them fresh and ever changing. Let your egos take over as you try to one-up each other – while still not over-doing it however. (Injuries are the best way to get back in a rut!)


Set a aggressive fitness goal.

Pick a 5k, 10k, half marathon to train for. Hire a trainer and set a body fat % goal. Join a rock climbing gym, pole dancing or salsa class. After a few months you should have achieved your goal and be ready to maintain your new health levels or set another goal.


"Beginner's Pole Fitness class at ESTEEM Fitness."  (photo by Nicole Barrett)

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The key with all of these is to make shorter-term goals that are achievable and then progress incrementally. Whether it’s six months or one, you WILL get out of your rut. Once again I stress that you have to really want this! Take stock of your life and how different (better) it could be if you were physically in better shape. If that is something you want, follow these steps and you will achieve it.



There’s a new gym chain currently enjoying a marketing boost through their affiliation with NBC’s Biggest Loser Competition – Planet Fitness. Their approach to gym fitness offers a “Judgement Free Zone®” free of “hardcore, look-at-me types who strut around grunting and dropping weights and, well, judging. We believe in the latest equipment, unlimited fitness training and no gymtimidation.”


This concept interests me, not so much because in a way it’s discriminatory*, but because there is clearly a large enough demand by people to work out where they are not intimidated. Further, the idea that weight lifters who grunt and drop weights are judging us and to be intimidated by, is not something I have ever heard anyone have issue with. In fact, my clients and I usually chuckle at the grunters as 90% of the time their form is sloppy, their weights too heavy, and their over-pumped muscles are not enviable. (Guess we’re judging, eh?) Granted I don’t like it when someone is ridiculously loud or clangs the weights down beside me, but I accept it as being part of the gym environment , and know that only about 2% of the members are that obnoxious.


I’ll admit that I have felt intimidated at gyms before, usually when the atmosphere is competitive and unfriendly. Men have looked right through me because I wasn’t dressed or shaped like a pole dancing Barbie (not that there’s anything wrong with pole dancing Barbies mind you). Men and women have been unwilling to allow me to “work in” (sharing of equipment alternating each other’s sets) simply because I wasn’t perhaps cool enough or pretty enough – always using a lame excuse like “I don’t rest between sets” (unless of course there’s someone cute to flirt with).

But here’s the thing about that “gymtimidation,” it can happen at an all girls gym, it can happen at the YMCA, and it can happen at Planet Fitness. Intimidation happens when YOU feel inadequate around others. Webster’s Dictionary defines intimidate as to “make timid, fill with fear, to over-awe through the force of personality or by superior display of talent.”


Like many of us tell our children, no one can make you FEEL anything – how you react to what they DO is all on your head. These “annoying” types that Planet Fitness refers to are not lording over you with looks of disapproval at your clothes or abilities. Dropping weights is bad manners and dangerous to toes, but it can’t make you feel less than worthy of being there doing what you need to do to get into shape.  “Girls” who chose to dress revealingly or provocatively at the gym are dealing with their own feelings of insecurity and that just doesn’t intimidate me.  I’m a woman — enough said.


So if a gym is your choice of venue for getting into and staying in shape, pay no attention to those around you whose agenda is to use the gym as a social platform to boost their egos. Focus on your goals and your methods for achieving them and the rest is of no consequence.

Also, I would like to point out that many times it is my ego trying to keep from feeling intimidated that has prompted me to do that extra set or rep because I wanted to keep up with that rock hard 20 year old goddess two machines away from me. If anything I should thank her for the motivation.



*As to my suggestion that Planet Fitness’ approach is a tad discriminatory, well what if I got a membership and then was told I had to leave because I work out in a zumba crop top and am showing too much skin? I’m not dropping weights; I’m not judging anyone; and my chest/cleavage is well covered. Yet according to their mission statement, my clothing choice is unacceptable. Or what if I’m really lifting some heavy weight and my exhale is a tad loud? Where do you draw the line on who can’t work out at your gym? That’s all I’m saying…food for thought. Weigh in with your opinions on either side of this debatable issue (pun intended of course).

Get Back On That Horse!

I’m sure you’ve all heard the sage old advice that if you fall off a horse, you must get right back on – both for your own confidence and to show the horse who’s boss. Well same goes for getting back into the gym after a prolonged illness.


It’s cold and flu season and many of us, myself included, have succumbed to the creepy-cruds of never ending phlegm, constant coughing, and sapped energy rendering us weak as a newborn. While in the clutches of these annual viruses and their aftermath, it’s hard to image ever having enough energy and strength to get back to the workouts. This is when the line between those truly committed and the quitters is drawn.

Every January the gyms are crowded with new members and their fresh intentions to get into shape. Every March the gyms are back to 60% occupancy as those new members lose their motivation, often because of a winter illness that interrupts their new routines and dulls their mind set back into the complacency of being sedentary and eating out of boredom or emotional response.


For those of us who have embraced the priority of exercise, it’s still difficult to get back into the swing of things after being sick, but we usually manage it within a few weeks. But those of you who were reluctant to exercise to begin with, it’s really hard to get the “mojo” back and push yourself again.

For those of you who can relate to this, I offer up a few tips to renewing your motivation and getting your butt back into exercise:

Start Slow.


Sounds like obvious advice but it’s very common that after an illness many individuals try to resume exercise with the same energy intensity (or speed) that they had prior to being sick. The disappointment at finding that your energy is just not there, or worse yet, that you have a set back, is so discouraging to many, that they simply stop trying again.

You’ve got to be patient, but know this, your stamina and muscle memory will return faster than you think, especially if you take the first week at half your usual intensity. Stretching is also very important as your muscles have been relatively inactive during your illness. Even I have to follow this. My brain says get back in their and do your normal routine. But I know from experience that I will get half way through and be weak and tired. I do half the amount of sets as I’m used to and work with lighter weights. But by week 2 or 3 I’m back to full speed again, and I’ve suffered no set backs.

Nutrition & Hydration.


Head colds and flus often leave us with dulled tastebuds and a lack of appetite. Antibiotics dry us out, and phlegm (mucus) is thicker when you are dehydrated. Coughing burns more calories than you can even imagine. Therefore, it is crucial that when resuming a workout, you make certain to have ingested enough calories, and in particular clean and complex carbs (yes carbs) to get you through even an half-speed workout. Water will flush the toxins, plump back up the muscles and get the blood moving to said muscles. All of this is essential to getting your stamina back up to full.

Stay Stable.


When resuming exercise after an illness, your equilibrium and core strength may be taxed. Therefore, alter your exercises to be seated or use machines vs. free weights, just for the first week or two until you know that any residual light headedness or muscle weaknesses are overcome. No one needs to fall down in the gym on their first week back, right?

Refresh your Motivation.


Remind yourself why you are working out – is there a clothing goal, a vacation goal, a reduction of high-blood pressure medicine need, etc? With your motivation firmly renewed your brain will help push you past those small moments of perceived exhaustion when you think about quitting.

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If you have any tricks you follow that you’d like to share with me and my readers, please do. Good luck, and persevere!

Shake It Off

When someone says or does something that hurts your feelings what do you do? Do you keep silent while letting it fester? Do you speak up hoping to get an apology? Or do you just shake it off? I suspect a majority of you do the first option, a handful do the second, and very few shake it off.


I bring this up because I find that one of the largest stumbling blocks I encounter when coaching/training a person is their inability to get past something that happened IN THE PAST. We’ve all had hurtful comments lobbed our way on the school yard, or had a sibling poke relentless fun at our weaknesses. Many of us have some kind of baggage about our parents that comes into play when we ourselves become parents. For some it’s a lack of support or good communication from loved ones. But whatever the issue is, we keep analyzing, rehashing and refocusing of our mind’s microscope onto the hurt instead of fixing it so we can move on.


This becomes a big deal when you’re trying to get into shape, i.e., lose body fat that has accumulated because of your reactions to past hurts or your choice to play the martyr and not put your physical needs into the priority column. I can teach you how to eat, I can teach you the most effective way to perform cardio so as to burn fat, and I can work your muscles to the point of calorie burning exhaustion. What I cannot do is keep you from negative thoughts and behaviors (like emotional eating). That tasks lies solely on your shoulders.  Raise your hand if you’ve skipped a workout or had a bad workout because you were too focused on an emotional issue.

Okay, so how do you do it, you’re asking your computer right now? Well keeping in mind that I am NOT a licensed therapist/psychologist I can only offer this sage wisdom:

Shake it off!

(I could say Let It Go, but that seems to provoke people to spontaneously start singing Frozen!  Wink.)


Obviously I am a huge proponent of speaking up (lovingly) when feelings are hurt so as to clean up that figurative spilt milk immediately and move on with a cleaner (healthier) relationship. But sometimes these issues that sabotage our successes are old and weather-worn. Those issues are the ones that as adults our best and quickest path to happiness is to simply let them go. Shake them off. Move on! We cannot change the past. Staying stuck because of something that happened (and that undoubtedly would happen again proving that we could not have changed it anyway) is a waste of precious time.

I reminded myself of this very lesson today. My 9 year old daughter did something last night that really pissed me off. I dwelled on it, stewed over it, held it tightly in my angry fist, and consequently did not sleep well. In the clearer light of day I was able to remind myself that she’s only 9, it’s past and cannot be changed, and I just need to shake it off and get on with being her happy, albeit tired, Mom. The lessons I can teacher her are far better received when I’m teaching through positive action instead of harping on her immature choices and their consequences.


So the next time you find yourself reliving angry or hurt emotion over something that happened either yesterday, or years ago, either fix it immediately, or shake it off and move on. Your body and mind will be healthier for it. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ms. Taylor Switf’s song Shake It Off is firmly implanted in my gym playlist and I played this morning in the car as a reminder.  Thanks for the great and catchy song, Ms. Swift!)


New Year, Old You?

Whether you’re a new year’s resolution kind of person or not, everyone tends to approach the new year as a fresh opportunity to change when they’re not happy with – most notably, getting their body in shape. “New Year, New You” is a common slogan with weight-loss products and services.


However, as I’ve discussed in several articles last year, most people set unreasonable expectations and therefore unattainable goals when it comes to their fitness. Everyone wants it to happen quickly, affordably, and without having to spend a lot of time actually exercising. Worse yet, there are still millions of adults who think they need to go on a diet. As all of you who have read my articles know, a diet implies temporary. Temporary changes to your nutrition will not result in a successful and permanent transformation of your body.


So how can you make this year’s attempt at fitness finally a success? First, you can stop trying to make it happen quickly. Your body didn’t get out of shape in a month, conversely it can’t get into shape in a month.

Next, your nutrition, or in plain English HOW AND WHAT YOU EAT (and when), must be a lifestyle change, i.e., permanent, for your body to stay healthy and lean. Please remember as I frequently rant, this does not mean you have to give up fun foods, comfort foods, sweets, alcohol, or any foods you’ve previously labeled as your “vices.” It simply means an overhaul to the ratio of clean, unprocessed foods in a balanced proportion (proteins, carbs and fats) consumed in small quantities on a regular basis.

Apple and hamburger on scales conceptual

Lastly, you have to deem exercise as a priority, and it MUST be scheduled on a weekly basis (by that I mean 3-5 times a week). As I have written on numerous occasions, exercise can be highly effective to your fat loss goals with as little as 30 minutes a day. Approaching your exercise schedule with the same level of commitment you approach responsibilities such as work or getting the kids to soccer practice is the key to making these necessary changes stick.


So for those of you who are set to make 2015 the year you reduce your waistline, tone those jiggly legs and arms, or lower your blood pressure, risk of diabetes and heart attack I offer these three simple mind-set alterations that will definitely help you finally succeed at having a New You in the New Year!

Once you’ve embraced them, feel free to contact me for more specific help with your fitness goals.

2015 Will Be The Year You Succeed!

The door on 2014 is closing tonight and a brand new shiny hope-filled door called 2015 awaits you. Once again you face another opportunity to set goals, make “resolutions” and attempt to achieve them. Unfortunately every year many people fail at those goals within the first three months (for one reason or another), and then resign themselves to trying once more in the next new year. Well this is the year that cycle can stop for you. It’s easier than you think – here are three tips to help you achieve your goals whether they be getting in better shape (fat loss), career enhancement, or better relationships.


Having a big picture goal is important (losing a % of fat or scale weight, finishing courses that will enhance your career, etc.) but success is easier to achieve if you work in increments – 10 lbs. at a time, one class per quarter. Set a realistic time line for achieving each increment, make sure you have someone keeping an eye on your progress (holds you accountable), and use your phone or calendar so schedule daily time increments where you work on said goals.


Seeing and feeling the completion of each increment and it’s furtherance of you toward your goals keeps your motivation fresh. Also, by making sure that each day you attend to those goals (daily workout, time spent on homework) it sets you into a routine that will soon be hard to ditch.



All goals in life that are worth pursuing are worth sharing. Support systems are the key to success in everything in life. As long as your goals are realistic and attainable, and cause no harm to those around you – everyone will be in your court and gladly help you. – you just have to ask! Buddy up with a friend to share weekly updates on your nutrition and exercise achievements AND set backs. Put together a group of people who are seeking to enhance their careers and have a weekly “mastermind” meeting where you help each other think outside the box and network. Schedule a weekly “catch up hour” where you and your significant other, child, or friend talk, share and reconnect.



Set backs are NOT failures. Life for most of us is a series of a few steps forward combined with one or two steps back. If you give up every time you have a set back, your life will stay stagnant and unmoving. Embrace the set backs, learn from them, and make sure the next set back is something different. In my experience, failures cut a path to success if you allow yourself to learn from them.


So take a deep breath and open the door to 2015 with the knowledge that you can achieve ANYTHING you want if you simplify and stay focused. I’m here, as always, to offer my support, guidance and expertise. Happy healthy new year to you all!



3 Holiday Health Hints

Well it’s Christmas eve and the week has been hectic for me as well as for many of you. Therefore, I thought it the perfect time to I remind us all of some very important perspectives that help keep our lives FIT (hence “Dane Life Fitness”). Here are my top three tips to having a better time through the holidays – and everyday!

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.

Such a simple statement from Richard Carlson’s best-selling self-help book. Don’t sweat the small stuff – because it’s ALL small stuff. I always tell my clients to picture their dilemma/issue/problem as a spec on the road of life. If you believe that when you look back a year from now it will have been a pebble sized blip, then don’t sweat it. If the issue has significant importance, staying calm will help you solve it all the quicker anyway! (I recommend the book by the way.  Great quick read that will inspire you.)


Time Together Matters More Than Perfection.

So many of us get wrapped up this time of year (pun intended) in making sure we get family and friends the perfect gift(s) or presenting a perfect meal, perfectly decorated house, flawless backed goods, etc. In reality, every single one of us would rather just be together having good laughs and making fun memories, wouldn’t we? I’d rather have my best friend here sipping a $10 bottle of red while we play Uno with our children, then stress over how much I have to spend on a present, and how early I have to get up to cook a turkey.



As other of my blogs have addressed, breathing is crucial to stress management. Deep slow breaths lower blood pressure and clear your head. Taking time to breathe when you feel harried gives you a better perspective (once again referring to my first tip). As you and your peeps sit down to a holiday meal (be it roasted turkey or KFC), grab hands, close your eyes, and take 5 deep slow breaths together. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.


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I wish you all Happy Kringle, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, but most of all, Happy Healthy Hearts!