Many of us are familiar with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  I do personally like this song.  Listening to this song made me think of the number of different steps I have taken through the years to keep healthy.  Some of these health tips you may be familiar with as I have shared some prior.  They are simple steps but small simple changes can bring about great health benefits. 

1. Drink Lemon Water. Begin each day with drinking 6-8 ounces of water with a teaspoon of lemon and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This is a great way to hydrate yourself but to also wake up your liver as lemon is a great liver detox. 

2. Practice dry brushing.  Ideally incorporating this technique 3-4 times a week prior to a shower.  The health benefits include lymphatic drainage, exfoliation  and cleanses skin pores.   When you dry brush obtain a soft natural bristle brush with a handle.  Brush towards the center of your body as that is where the heart and lymphatic system drain.  For example brush from your hands up to your shoulder and from your feet to the hip area.  Brushing 8-10 times in one area gives the necessary health benefits.  

3. Oil pulling.  This is a technique that is a form of Ayurvedic  medicine that dates back a couple of thousand years.  You take a teaspoon of either coconut or sesame oil and swish in your mouth for 10 minutes.  Be sure to spit out then rinse your mouth with water and spit again prior to eating or drinking.  This is a great way to prevent cavities removes bacteria and maintains healthy gums. 

4.  Breathe Deep. Take 3-5 minutes every day to take some deep breaths. This is both cleansing and relaxing.  It is easy during our busy days to not think about breathing which is automatic. Many times when we are busy we tend to subconsciously take shallow breaths.  Taking deep breaths iincreases oxygen to cells. 

5. Practice Gratitude  Each day i write or say three things that I am grateful for.  The health benefits of being grateful range from improved relationships and self-esteem to enhancing empathy, improving sleep and psychological health.  Studies show people who practice gratitude live longer healthier and purposeful lives. 

6. Incorporate movement daily   Whether it is walking, taking a  class such as pilates, aerobics or YOGA.  Movement increases brain derived neurotrophic factor which improves mood. 

7. Keep a similar sleep/ wake schedule.  This can be challenging with the holidays upon us, but keeping our circadian rhythms stable helps to maintain good cortisol levels during the day and adequate melatonin levels at night so that we wake feeling refreshed and ready to start our day. 

8. Don’t Stress.  It is easy this time of year to be overbooked with parties, traveling and shopping.  Stop and ask yourself the question what is really important. When you prioritize what you need to do and let go of tasks that may not be necessary stress levels decrease. Practicing this regularly keeps low levels of stress in the home school and work life.

9.  Make a shopping list.  When purchasing food make a shopping list and stick to it.  This helps to keep within a food budget and decreases food waste.  

10.  Be mindful when eating.  Take time to slow down and chew your food.  This aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients.  It also makes meal times enjoyable and relaxing. 

11. Engage the brain.  We tend to be creatures of habit and it can be good to periodically change that routine. Consider driving an alternate route to work, or park in a different spot. Consider starting the hobby you have been thinking about.  New activities stimulate the brain and create new brain cells. 

12.  Smile more and laugh daily.  Laughing has numerous benefits including increasing oxygen, endorphins, lifting mood and decreasing pain. 

Hope you find these simple tips helpful. May your Christmas and Holidays be Happy, Healthy and filled with Joy.