Saturday, December 15, 2012

Self-Care Continued: The December Sanity Challenge

While waiting in line at Starbucks last weekend, I heard the song "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" -- but in my sleepy state, I found myself making up new lyrics. My little ditty went something like this:

All I want for Christmas is some R&R
Some R&R
Please God, R&R

Gee, if I could only have 
Some R&R
Then I could feel
Like I'm not dyyy-ing

The "so tired I could curl up on this rock-hard floor and sleep for the next week" motif goes hand-in-hand with this week's (unintentional and spontaneous, but nonetheless apropos) theme of self-care.

December is, for the better part of the free world, known for its utterly insane pace. Holiday parties, gift shopping, menu planning, traveling...the list goes on, and it's exhausting just to think about it. Luckily, the lovely Valerie from City, Life, Eats has teamed up with the equally lovely Cheryl from Gluten-Free Goodness to host the December Sanity Challenge -- a challenge designed to help us all take care of ourselves amidst the obscene op-tempo of the holidays.

Here's the dealie-o, as described by Cheryl and Valerie:

So here’s the scoop on the December Sanity Challenge.  It can be on whatever YOU need to work on to stay sane during the holiday season, or whatever you want to make sure to remember so that you are living life to the fullest:
    1. Balancing commitments to others with commitments to yourself
    2. Getting in physical activity
    3. Creating a happy balance around food
    4. Getting enough sleep!
    5. Making wise financial choices
    6. Focusing more on living beings than material “stuff”
    7. Whatever else speaks to you along these lines
The challenge–blog on on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy.  (if you don’t have a blog and want to play, email  Cheryl through her blog and she will post your goals!) Make it specific!  Not just “I’ll get more sleep”, but “I’ll get at least 7 hours of sleep, 5 days a week”.  Not just “I won’t go crazy making desserts”, but “I’ll make a maximum of XX desserts, and space them out over XX time”.  You know what you need to do to keep this doable, and writing it down will help you get there!
As a little added incentive, for each post on your intentions and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate to (they are not sponsoring, Cheryl picked them because they have healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options). The delicious Ms. Carrie Forbes of Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl has also generously donated 2 signed cookbooks for “The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook”. What could be more sanity promoting than using a slow cooker?

In addition to Cheryl and Valerie, other co-hosts include:
We also have a FB group–if you’d like to join, you’re more than welcome. 


Sanity? I like the sound of this already. Here are my goals:

* Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: I tend to slack off on my water consumption when things get busy (most hated part of an insanely busy workday: when I don't have enough time to escape to the ladies room), and I want to be more conscientious about drinking my agua. So, my goal here is to have two full Nalgene bottles of water each day.

* Unplug and read: I luuuuuuurve my Kindle, but I've noticed that using it before bed keeps me up at night -- and if there's one thing that's most definitely not a girl's best friend, it's insomnia. Knowing that the light exposure from the screen is the culprit here, I'm going to reserve my pre-sleep reading as a paper-and-ink only space. Whether it's magazines or library books, not staring into the bright screen will help me relax and fall asleep faster.

* Temporarily take a leave of absence from cooking soup from scratch on the weekends: I usually spend Sunday morning chopping vegetables and making a big pot of soup that I use for my lunches throughout the week. Right now, however, that'd basically require getting up at 0500 in order to have enough time to do it. So, although I know canned/pre-made soups are generally frowned upon, I'm ok with relying on it until the holidays are over. Nobody ever died because they spent three weeks nestled in the loving arms of Progresso/Pacific Naturals/Imagine GF soups, right?
It's alright if I need to go there.
* Buying gifts online: In years past, I drove myself mildly insane trying to make super cute, uber crafty, cost-effective gifts for friends and family. All these ridiculously adorable -- and so very inspired! -- ideas were floating around the blogosphere, and I wanted to make all the things. As it turns out, this nearly pulverized my last shred of sanity. I found myself wild-eyed, panicky, and neck deep in Mason jars, gluten-free flour, and Christmas-themed note cards. So this year, if it can't be purchased online, it's simply not happening. Sorry, friends and family: get yourselves an Amazon wish list and make me a happy girl. It's a "help me help you" sort of situation, you know what I'm sayin'?

* There shall only be one batch of cookies made before 2013. End of story.
Limited edition, y'all.
 * Breathe and stretch: I don't like to acknowledge this (um, AT ALL), but I'm not anywhere near as flexible as I used to be. I always aced the hamstring stretch portion of the Presidential Fitness Test in elementary school; I used to be all manner of show off-y as I sat there with my forehead smugly resting on my knees. Now? Good gawd, my hammies are tight. The solution, obviously, is to actually stretch. So, I'm making this part of my bedtime routine as well: five minutes of stretching and yoga before turning in for the night.

I really like (really, really, really like) the idea of supporting each other as we all strive for sanity, not domestic holiday perfection -- feel free to join in!


  1. Hi Lillian, I'm so happy to meet you and glad you're joining in on the December Self-Care Retreat/Challenge! I think we can all relate to your goals and the reasons/memories that inspired you to set them. ;-) Best of luck! See you on the other side of December. Hopefully, we will all still be sane and less tired, stressed, etc. than usual. :-)


    1. Thanks, Shirley - I'm so glad to have found out about the retreat/challenge, and I thank you gals for putting it together! It's already making a big difference, and this December will be much less insane than it has been in years past. :)

  2. I love this challenge! I need to do the sleep portion badly...I think I will...and I think you picked some great things to nourish yourself with this month! Especially the buying gifts online...I'm a huge fan of online shopping this time of year :)

    1. Aaaah, sleep - so elusive, yet so lovely. Hopefully you're resting better now that big life decision of yours is in your rear-view mirror! :)