This week has been super busy for me. (How about you?) I feel like I’m still catching up from the quick weekend trip we took, and I’ve been wrapping up last minute Christmas presents. (We’ve already had one Christmas celebration, and we’ve got quite a few more coming up too.) Things are a little smaller and more spaced out due to COVID this year, which is a bummer, but we’ve gotten created and are still doing what we can to make the season special.
What do your Christmas plans look like this year?
Things I’m Loving Lately
I had a list for my Black Friday shopping this year, but I didn’t expect to find everything I needed at a single store. (Sierra Trading Post, I love you…)
For a girl that doesn’t love clothes shopping, I was pretty thrilled to get in and out so quickly considering that everything on my list was clothing. Since I’m not really a fan of cold weather (read: I hate it) I decided to embrace the concepts of hygge and friluftsliv this year which basically involves embracing the coziness of the season (hygge) and finding ways to enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather (friluftsliv).
Clothing items on my list all served the common goal of protecting me from the cold. I got a pair of fleece-lined leggings, some snow pants, and this epic winter coat that is guaranteed to keep me warm a temperatures as low as -13 F. I figure I probably wouldn’t be outside in any weather that’s colder than that, so I think I’m definitely set. Plus, I scored this hefty jacket for more than 50% off, which is significant savings when it comes to Sandova winter coats.
I know it’s worth the money because I wore it for about 5 minutes in the store and was boiling hot. Win, win, win.
To get my hygge on, I’ve been loving Bengal Spice Tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is so spicy and so warm tasting, and even has a sort of sweetness to it. I love drinking it with a splash of lactose-free milk, which adds some extra sweetness.
I ordered the tea for the first time, after trying it at my in-laws house, using my sister’s Amazon prime account. A few days later, my sister told me she’d seen the purchase and been inspired by it, ordered some for herself and loved it. I won’t lie, I was pretty pleased about this. So, if you try it (I linked to it above), let me know! I’ll give myself another pat on the back…hehe!
Shortcuts for a Simpler Life
My husband and I both work full-time, so we generally split up the housework. However, I’m pickier than he is and I tend to do most of the grocery shopping lately because I actually work outside of the home (he’s still remote due to COVID). So, since I know what’s in the fridge and I have more opinions on the matter, I often end up cooking dinners during the week.
It’s really important to me that we have lots of homemade food available because I like having options and I feel best when I have a variety of homemade foods rather than needing to fall back on store bought snacks or takeout. One of the ways that we make sure we have enough food for the week is to prepare big batches of meals every time we cook, and to make a big batch of ‘staple’ items at the beginning of the week. This usually includes a couple types of vegetables, some chicken thighs, and a carb food like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, or quinoa. (We also keep boxes of mac and cheese on hand because priorities.)
On Sunday or Monday night, one of us ends up chopping and roasting a huge pan of vegetables (brussel sprouts are our favorite) with my super easy, fool-proof method for making mind-blowingly delicious vegetables, and we eat some that nigh but have plenty left over for meals during the week. As I’ve mentioned before, the purpose of meal prepping isn’t to create rules or limits about what I’m “allowed” to eat, or to enforce compliance with a certain diet plan. Rather, we meal prep to make sure that we don’t end up skipping meals or snacks when we need fuel to perform well at our jobs.
Healthy, Happy, Whole
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is year-end, when December is wrapping up and we start looking towards a brand new year. I think most of us are a little more than excited to be done and over with 2020, but the self-reflection and thoughtfulness of the turn of a year have always been something I’ve enjoyed. I like thinking back over the previous 12 months, considering what I might prefer to have changed, and setting goals to be my best self in the year to come.
However, come January 30th, or February 15th, or just a few weeks after the start of a year, I’d often fall off the bandwagon of my resolutions (almost always diet and weight-loss focused) and end up feeling horrible about myself. There are so many years of my life that my new year resolutions triggered a relapse into my eating disorder, leaving me feeling even worse that year than I did the year before. I’m so glad all of that is behind me now, and I can set goals for self-improvement without hurting myself.
I firmly believe that all diets are harmful in some way, even if they are for the sake of health. (In a medical setting, diet initiatives are always given after a risk/benefit analysis.) But sadly, diet culture has a heyday when it comes to new years resolutions, and advertising efforts for programs like weight watchers and whole 30 go into overdrive.
The past few years, I’ve launched my own counter-campaign, designed to offer a non-diet plan for cultivating a healthier, happier, and more wholesome life without cutting out food groups or spending unreasonable amounts of time at the gym. I call this campaign the 30 Things to Do Instead of Whole 30 initiative, and so far I’ve had pretty good feedback.
If you’re looking for something to do instead of crash dieting in 2021, I encourage you to check out Healthy, Happy, Whole, a thirty-day guided plan for creating habits that support true, holistic wellness.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peaceNumbers 6:24-26