December thoughts

Hello from my yellow (and red and green) office in Encinitas. The tree is decorated, the garland is hung, and one of my employees has admitted that she loves Christmas so much that she was driving around with decorations in the trunk of her car for the last month, anticipating the day she could reasonably start decking the office. Ah, the holidays: such a magical time and so full of good things, but potentially overwhelming. Here a few suggestions to take care of your skin, your sanity, and your beautiful Self in December:

1. Slow down. Accept each moment as it comes. This sip of cinnamon tea. This local street parade. This treasured friend come to visit. This long line. This traffic jam. This empty tape dispenser. This cold morning. This quiet moment under a dark sky. This too, this too, this too. This moment is your life.

2. Give mindfully. Give experiences: yoga classes, concert tickets, amusement park passes, hot air balloon rides. Wrap gifts in silk scarves or use reusable bags. Shop locally.

3. Get off the crack. Erm, I mean sugar. Some people can savor a nibble of dessert here and there. Not me, I have to eat the whole thing until it's gone. Then I have a sugar buzz, and then I crash. Then I eat more sugar to make myself better. Rinse and repeat. Something about this time of year makes me want to reach for refined carbohydrates, whether it is the desire for that jolt of energy to sustain all the extra activity or because I'm trying to negate the urge to crawl under my down-alternative comforter and sleep when it's dark at 6 PM. Fortunately, Mother Nature has thoughtfully provided wonderfully starchy, non-processed treats (see the recipe below) that fulfill my craving for serotonin wihtout launching me into a cycle of edgy highs and sluggish lows. Besides, the carotenoids and other antioxidants in a sweet potato are way better for skin health than refined sugar.

And you? How do you find ease and health amidst the hustle and bustle?