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Take Care of Yourself

As we wind down the year, November & December always seem to be the craziest months. I find myself asking how did we even get here? I swear it was just Easter!

This year as we adapt to celebrating in new and different ways, perhaps apart from large groups of family and friends, self-care becomes especially important for our mental and physical wellbeing. We've asked some experts for tips to ensure we have the energy for family, friends, feasts, and fun!

And, check out the latest The Feeder Live! to meet some of our experts in person, discover even more self-care tips, plus watch me and Alison attempt some stretches after a glass of wine and while wearing the wrong clothes...we have no shame.
Cheers to you!
Paige
The Feeder Live!

Holiday Fitness & Feast Survival Strategies

by Stacey Raza

One of the most common questions I get every year, is how to stay on track for the holidays. Boozy holiday parties, more hectic schedules, and high-calorie holiday meals can throw us off our game. So how do we deal? Here are some of my top tips for staying sane and surviving the temptations from Thanksgiving to the New Year.
 

Plan…and plan to adjust the plan!

When we talk about the holidays, we aren’t just talking about the five or so actual holidays, we are talking about the six-week holiday season. While it might be tempting to just enjoy it and get back to health in the new year, this only puts us further behind and makes things harder when January rolls around.

We know that there will be parties, family celebrations, company dinners, and more. Although things may be busier, try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible. But, be flexible when things need to be adjusted. Get out your calendar and in addition to any special holiday activities, schedule (or reschedule) your normal activities. If you see that company Christmas drinks conflict with your usual workout class, make alternative arrangements ahead of time like getting up an hour earlier to attend a class before work or taking a lunchtime walk. Exercise doesn’t have to be an hour, nor does it have to be at the gym or in a class. A quick 20-minute home workout (see below) can be a great way to save time on a hectic day when you just can't fit in a normal session.
 

It’s okay to splurge every now and then.

If Christmas turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are some of your favorite foods, then plan to have them. Save your indulgences for the things you really want and will enjoy. This makes these meals part of your plan and avoids the “what the hell?" effect when you say “well, I’ve already blown it and eaten three Christmas cookies, I may as well really enjoy it and finish the whole tray!” You’ve planned for this indulgence and so you stay right on plan for your next meal.

Staying on track during the holidays, doesn’t mean perfection, it’s about balance. Knowing that you need to eat a bit cleaner around holiday parties so that you can indulge for a special occasion keeps things on an even keel. Knowing that exercise is not all or nothing allows you to stay consistent even though it may not be your normal routine. Which circles back to Tip#1: plan it and be flexible!

Get more tips and a 20-minute at home workout here.

Find out what Stacey's favourite cheat is and how she stays on track during the holidays on The Feeder Live!

Nothing says self-care to us like a Champagne Cocktail. It's festive, a little decadent, classic, and always delicious. Since you're flavouring the bubbles, you don't need to use your best Champagne. You could try it with Prosecco or other sparkling wine, it won't exactly be a Champagne Cocktail, just call it a Holiday Spirit.
 

Ingredients

(Makes 1 drink)
1 sugar cube
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Brut Champagne
Lemon twist for garnish
 

Mix It Up

Place a sugar cube in a chilled Champagne flute or coupe. Sprinkle with 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Fill the glass with brut Champagne. Squeeze a lemon twist on top and drop gently into the bubbles.

Watch Amy & Devin mix up a Bruto Buck, another delicious cup of self-care, on The Feeder Live!
 

Cheers!

Seasonal PIES for Holiday Health

By Amanda Lim & Maria Luedeke

Even here in the tropics, the holiday season can rush in like a blizzard. All of sudden, we’re in a flurry—where to book a holiday high tea? Can we actually find enough canned pumpkin to make pies this year? Did we mail the presents in time for Christmas? Are there enough days in the month to schedule catchups with our nearest and dearest? 
 
The good news is, there’s a strategy to help you prioritise and manage your mindset during this busy end-of-year season. The acronym PIES, which stands for physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, represents the four major dimensions of wellness. When the pace accelerates and all you want to do is stop, breathe, and think, (the mantra of cognitive behavioural therapy), it’s helpful to frame those thoughts and intentions using PIES.
 
Physical wellness. Check in with your body by doing a quick “body scan,” closing your eyes and mentally scanning your body from head to toe for pain, tension, discomfort, or stress. Follow this scan with a moment of deep breathing, targeting the areas that feel tense or unwell, and letting that negative energy flow away. You can also stimulate a better mood by taking a brisk 10-minute walk, flowing through 3-5 yoga asanas, or simply standing up from your chair and circling your arms and hips to get the blood circulating.
 
Intellectual wellness. Four key words here: put the phone down! Make a habit of monitoring your screen time, and set a goal for reducing it by 10% each week of the holiday season. Be proactive in bringing other forms of intellectual stimulation into your life—committing to reading a chapter a night from an actual, tangible book before bed, or keeping a daily journal—and take the time to honour your intellectual curiosity by seeking out friends, social situations, and media (like The Feeder) that are positive, engaging, and challenge you to connect and converse.
 
Emotional wellness. Our thoughts and actions are under our direct control, but are driven by our feelings and perceptions, which often are not. Dealing with difficult emotions often demands that we address our reactions (versus just sailing on the winds of our fleeting feelings) and work toward making better choices when we feel overwhelmed. Using a strategy of “name it to tame it”—which simply means identifying your emotions clearly in order to gain control over them—can help, as can building resilience against negativity, finding purpose in your daily grind, and connecting meaningfully with others.
 
Spiritual wellness. Spirituality is deeply personal and not always tied to religiosity.  It involves evaluating and internalising your lifelong beliefs and sense of purpose, then aligning them with your beliefs and behaviours. Author Carly Pollack suggests that to improve spiritual health, it is helpful to think of events in your life happening for you, not to you. Trust that everything is unfolding perfectly, in its own time, and take moments of meditation, mindfulness, and mental quietude whenever possible.
 
Self-care is important for a spectrum of reasons—taking care of ourselves in all four of these dimensions keeps us sane, motivated, healthy, and happy all year round. Keeping the PIES model of well-being in the forefront of your mind this holiday season can reframe your perceptions of what’s important—do you really need that third boozy brunch this month?—and help you find your flow, all the way to year’s end.
Amanda Lim, Peak Health Consultancy, and Maria Luedeke, Aspire Counselling, are the co-creators of The Butterfly Project.

Maria is a mental health counsellor and psychotherapist with nine years of experience. She believes in melding mind and body self care for holistic wellness.

Amanda has been a certified personal trainer and nutritionist for 14 years. She’s passionate about women's health, prenatal and postpartum wellness, and helping her clients develop lifelong fitness & nutrition solutions.

Find out more about The Butterfly Project on Instagram and Facebook.

Discover the unusual way Maria meditates and all the fitness fads Amanda has tried on The Feeder Live!
Tuesday 24, November  |  8-9 pm Singapore Time
Get the Broadcast Link!

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Our Pets, Our Joy #2

There is nothing like a little puppy (or kitty) love to make you feel great. Spending time with your pets can be a great way to take care of your emotional and physical health. A little snuggle is the perfect pick-me-up on a tough day and taking a furry friend for a brisk walk definitely counts as exercise!

Heidi Sarna continues collecting photos and tributes to our furry friends.
 

Maggie

1.5-year-old Welsh Terrier

Human dad. Matt Hannafin

Funniest behavior. Like all Welsh Terriers, she tends to melt out of her bed 'til she's almost entirely on the floor, with just her butt and hind legs up on the cushioning.
 
Most endearing trait. Her favorite place is resting in my lap with her front legs hugging my right arm and her head hanging over my elbow.
 
For me, my pet is my constant companion; my protector against squirrels, teenagers, and mailmen; the creature I look to for a quick reassurance that even though life is not OK right now, life is still OK.
 

Storm

2-year-old rescue cat

Human mom. Alicia Dunlop
 
Funniest behavior. He is known for his antics. He climbs on top of my cabinets when trying to get my attention.
 
Most endearing trait. He loves to snuggle. Even when he’s not on me, he likes to be close enough for a soft pat with his paw.
 
For me, my pet is comfort, stress relief, entertainment, and love.

If you've got a pet that you'd like featured, please email us a photo.

Travel writer & heritage buff Heidi Sarna is the co-founder of travel site QuirkyCruise.com about unusual and small-ship cruising; co-founder of
Bike-A-Local Singapore, offering self-guided heritage-themed cycle rides based on the book Heidi co-wrote, “Secret Singapore” (March 2021). 

Book Nook

by Alison An Avid Reader

Getting lost in a book is my definition of self-care. I read 10 books in October and would recommend these three.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. This fictionalization of the death of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet was completely engrossing. I am now fascinated with his wife and children. I absolutely loved this book! 10/10

The Overstory by Richard Powers. The Pulitzer Prize winner is not for everyone, but it should be required reading for the message alone: in a nutshell (pun intended) stop chopping down trees! This particularly resonates with me as I’ve watched a little forest be decimated outside our window to make way for yet more unnecessary condos. “We’re cashing in a billion years of planetary savings bonds and blowing it on assorted bling.” 9/10

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam. A family rents an AirBnB in the middle of nowhere. Two days in the owners come back asking to be let in as a blackout has occurred in NYC. Is that true or are more sinister things afoot? I love this author’s writing and characters, but I agreed with a reviewer who said she thought her book was missing pages at the end. The suspense of just seeing peeks of “the monster” is great, but the ending is ubrupt. 8/10

Our Book Nook editor is on track to read nearly 150 books this year. Follow her @theextroveredbookworm. 

And find out why Alison actively hates self-help books on The Feeder Live!
About me: I'm a writer, obsessive reader, mother, wife and one half of the marketing team known as Chop Chop.  I love to travel and explore new places, but hate to plan trips. I strive to be a good friend and a great home cook. My friends tease me about my germaphobia and being hyper-organised...it's all good. 
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