12 Rules for Living in December (and beyond)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

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Why are there 12 days of Christmas? There’s 31 days in December. There’s only 6 days after Christmas until New Year’s. Why did 12 become the magic number that everyone talks about or sings about or writes lists about?

Far be it from me to ignore tradition. In the spirit of true December lists, here’s my list of 12 Rules for Living in December (they really apply all year round, but you can introduce them now so that you start 2022 feeling good).

  1. Eat nuts and seeds. They’re full of healthy fats, fibre and important minerals like zinc, which is good for your skin, and magnesium, which helps you relax. Sprinkle them on salads, throw them into your baking, add them to yoghurt with fruit and nuts for breakfast.
  2. Drink water. Lots of it. Every single cell in your body needs water. Don’t deprive them!
  3. Eat fruit. In Summer in Australia, we have so many delicious options – mangos, peaches, nectarines, cherries… and that’s just scratching the surface. Make the most of our Summer fruit deliciousness.
  4. Eat your greens. Your parents and grandparents were right – they’re good for you. Make them special by sauteing with garlic and extra virgin olive oil; throw handfuls of baby spinach into your summer salads; experiment with broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the air-fryer (just keep a close eye on them – they go from pleasantly crisp to charred dust in a matter of minutes – speaking from experience…).
  5. Oily fish, twice a week, is one of the best things you can do for your skin, your hair, your heart, your hormones and more. Trout, salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel. Take your pick.
  6. Go outside. Sit on the grass or the sand, swim in the ocean or head out for a bushwalk. Go barefoot so you can really connect with nature (perhaps not barefoot on a bush walk; you need protection from Australia’s many venomous snakes and spiders). Too often we spend all our days indoors or running from place to place. Stop, breathe, relax (and don’t forget the sunscreen).
  7. Find something that makes you laugh out loud – maybe it’s a book, maybe it’s a movie, maybe it’s cat videos. Laughter helps reduce stress, supports your immune system and lifts your mood. Who doesn’t feel better after a big laugh?
  8. Move more. Walk, dance, swim, play sport with the kids, run, cycle, lift weights. There are so many ways to move, you just need to find one that works for you. No excuses. Find the movement you like best and do more of it.
  9. Sleep. Relax. Repeat. Do this regularly to give your body and your mind time to reset.
  10. Celebrate your body. Focus on all it can do, how it supports you and carries you through life. We spend too much time lamenting parts of our bodies we’d like to change and not enough time focusing on the positives.
  11. Indulge during the holidays. A few days of indulgence will not undo all the other days of less-indulging throughout the year. Enjoy the holiday period for what it is – a celebration with family and friends – so needed after the year that 2021 turned out to be.
  12. Prioritise your health. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Merry Christmas everyone, and here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.

Develop a positive relationship with food