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Add “Me” to Your Holiday Shopping List

No, not me. “Me.” I despise when people talk in riddles. That is why this message is best read rather than simply spoken. At the top of your list, write the letters M and E. This is not encouragement to be a grinch and think only of yourself. It is actually encouraging the opposite.

Alameda Post - a graphic of a person in a yoga pose with a plant in the background

When you are healthy and at your best, you are best able to serve those around you. Those you care for benefit from you being healthy. Those you work with benefit from you being productive. Those you socialize with benefit from your positive demeanor. Those who love you benefit from knowing you are living your best life.

As a caregiver to your household, when you are not well, it affects everyone in your home. This includes your fur babies. When your body is not functioning well, it is prone to fatigue. If your cup is empty, how can you pour into others? This is especially relevant if you are a caregiver for someone who is ailing. Their comfort and care lie in you being able to attend to them. For many situations, this also requires you to be strong and fit.

When you work with others, what you do may impact the productivity of the team. Not paying attention to your health may make you vulnerable to becoming ill. If your job requires your physical presence but you are out sick, others have to take over your tasks. If you come to work sick, you risk the health of your co-workers and their families. If you work from home and do not take the time to get well, the quality of your work may be affected. Ask anyone, in any profession, if it matters that someone is not able to do their part or pull their weight. They will very likely have an opinion on the matter.

Alameda Post - a walking path in nature

In social settings, your mood can set the tone for both your enjoyment and how others feel being with you. In “Mind and Mood,” an article from Harvard Health Publishing, we learn that mood and mental health are related to physical health.

“Your mood and your mental health affect every aspect of your life, from how you feel about yourself to your relationships with others and your physical health.” the article states. “There’s a strong link between good mental health and good physical health, and vice versa. In the other direction, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.”

Not much can bring me more joy than knowing that someone I love is healthy and strong, feels good, is able to do what they enjoy, and is truly happy. And not much can cause me more worry than knowing someone I love is struggling with their health, is uncomfortable more often than not, and is not able to do the things they enjoy. If you can relate, know that it is likely that others feel the same when it comes to you.

Alameda Post - someone chops vegetables on a cutting board

If you are healthy and living your best life, people who care about you want to see that continue. Invest in yourself and in staying strong and fit. Make sure you have what you need to stay on track. Should you invest in a new pair of shoes for working out? Are your favorite leggings so well loved that you might want to try another? Does your bike need a tune-up? Has the elastic in your swimsuit seen better days?

If you find that you have some challenges with your health, those who care about you would love to see you put some of your focus on yourself. They would rather have you around than have that piece of clothing or gadget that you gave them. Don’t let yourself get intimidated. You don’t need to start big. You just need to start. Get a fun water bottle and a new pair of walking shoes. Find a friend to walk with—even if it’s just around the block—each day. Replace one higher calorie beverage each day with a glass of water, just one. (You can stop yelling at the screen, I never said to stop drinking coffee.)

Maybe your best start would be to find a counselor to help relieve some anxiety. It is a blessing to have a trusted friend to talk to, but sometimes your mental health will benefit from a trained professional who is able to assess and help you plan for a brighter outlook.

Alameda Post - one person on the top of a mountain reaches down to help another person up

Or if you are someone who needs a kick in the booty and to be kept accountable, you might want to consider hiring a personal trainer whose success comes in seeing that you are successful in reaching your goals. It’s great to have a workout buddy, but here also, a trained professional has the education and experience to get you results.

Sometimes, what you need is to think outside of the box. I host Dare to Dream Fitness Retreats each year at exciting locations. Don’t let the word “fitness” scare you away. All activities are optional, but at each retreat most attendees choose to participate in most of the activities and then treat themselves to a daily spa treatment. The next retreat is in Cabo. It is going to be CALIENTE! Just sayin’.

Contributing writer Denise Lum is a Health and Fitness Coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or Her writing is collected at

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