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Wise man's gifts for the healthy holidays
Mike Thompson mug
Mike Thompson

Wise Man’s Gifts for the Healthy Holidays

Christmas tradition tells of the 3 Wisemen traveled far to give gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  I understood gold but was always confused about frankincense and myrrh.

This could be compared to invaluable biopsychosocial gifts we can give to ourselves during the holiday season. Wise men and women give themselves thoughtful gifts this time of year.

Biopsychosocial refers to the whole health from a biological, psychological, and sociological perspective. Bio meaning your physical, psycho meaning your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions and social is the social and cultural environment you’re in. 

Break it down and keep it simple.  Here are Magi-like gifts with priceless potential.

Bio-Consider your body during this time. 

1.      If you are maxing out on food at parties, track it and trade excess calories for more movement.  Get your gym or outdoor activity time on the calendar and try to burn enough to offset your indulgence.  You’ll feel great!

2.      Treat your body first by eating a healthy meal with fruit and veggies before going to a party or work environment with holiday snacks (full of sugar and fat).

3.      Drink water first-never have one alcoholic drink without drinking water before and after.  Filling up with water makes you less thirsty, assures you have fewer drinks and lessens the pain of hangovers.  It also gives you control and the self-esteem that comes with it. If you’re picky, take your own water bottle to the party.

Psycho-Plan for your happiness and minimal stress.

1.      Plan time off the party scene with quiet time for rest, outdoor activities, or meditation to recharge. This is a must for introverts (see social below).

2.      Enjoy the season. Give your mind self-care gifts like gratitude. Literally count your blessings by writing 5 things you’re grateful for.  Anything goes, especially friends and family.

3.      If you are a workout champ, grade the number of workouts (or physical activities) for the month-A=25+ workouts, B=20-24, C=15-19, etc.

Social  Consider your environment so you can thrive

1.      If you tend towards the introverted side and are challenged by the holidays:

a.       Give yourself time to recharge.  Plan your calendar alone time and feel good about it.  Take at least one day off after big get-togethers.

b.      Feel good about saying no.  It’s OK to take the time off.  Try to plan for the most important family events for you.

c.       Think before, during and after:  Before and event, take time to think through what you will do before, during and after to help yourself manage any stress or discomfort.  What can you do to make sure your stress level is as low as possible? Consider spending time alone, going for a peaceful walk or meditation.  Maybe you can find a spare room at a family party to spend some time alone or take their dog for a walk.

2.      Everyone can get involved in the reindeer games.  Games with grandparents, kids and cousins make memories that last a lifetime.  My friend Susan regaled in her Thanksgiving story about how she set up pickleball games with her grandkids and great grandkids.  Her face glowed as she told how everyone had a blast-even those who never played before. I still cherish the Christmas card games I was invited to play with my usually unapproachable grandpa.  This joy still lives in me.  What game can your family play?  You won’t have to ask twice if you get the kids involved in group video games. Being around family and friends helps you feel cared for and included.  They can also keep you grounded and help you solve some of your problems.  Enjoy this time to connect and catch-up.

In the Christmas story, the Magi traveled months and hundreds of miles to give gifts.  You are truly one of the wise men and women if you go out of your way to give yourself the gift of biopsychosocial health.  It feels good and it lasts.

Mike Thompson is a health coach and writes about nutrition and amazing aging.  He lives in Richmond Hill, is certified in exercise nutrition and founder of SelfCare Sustained. Reach him at


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