Give friends and family a gift that’ll keep on giving through the new year.
By Grace Derocha
From events to gifts and cooking to travel, the holidays are often hectic with stressed schedules and monetary demands. In fact, a 2015 Healthline study showed 62 percent of people feel stressed during the holidays, primarily about presents, health management and finances. It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos, especially when it comes to shopping for loved ones, but gift-giving doesn’t have to be a holiday headache. Giving wellness-related presents is a great way to remind loved ones to make their well-being a priority and help them live healthier lives. Consider some of the following options for a gift that won’t break the bank, but will keep giving into the new year:
Gym Subscription: Instead of buying a friend or family member a set of weights or resistance bands they can use at home, pre-pay for a month-long gym membership where they can explore different machines and any group classes that might be offered. Access to a variety of options, like those typically provided by a dedicated fitness facility, can increase motivation and the likelihood of regular exercise. This could also provide a good opportunity to schedule buddy workout sessions to keep each other accountable and enjoy some quality time in the process.
Yoga Mat: Yoga is great for the body and mind, which makes it a perfect gift for busy loved ones who are always stressed. Since this form of exercise promotes positive self-image, a yoga mat is also a great stocking stuffer for someone who would benefit from a boost of confidence or needs a positive outlet. Many studios even offer a free class for newcomers, so the recipient can find the best fit for regular attendance.
Healthy Cookbook: A 2015 University of Illinois study found most Americans do not consume the recommended amount of daily nutrients. Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for those looking to lead a lifestyle of wellness. However, finding recipes that are both nutritious and satisfying can be difficult. A cookbook focused on healthy recipes serves as a convenient resource to provide new meal ideas and inspiration, so friends and family are more apt to adopt or continue good eating habits with homecooked meals. For a cute handmade gift idea, print recipe cards of personal favorites and string them together to make a custom cookbook.
Fruit-Infusing Water Bottle: One of the simplest ways to ensure good health is to stay hydrated. Doctors recommend drinking eight, 8-ounce cups of water per day or half a person’s weight in ounces. Reusable bottles with built-in infusers make consuming the right amount of water easier for those who may not like the taste. Infusing water with fruit, vegetables or even herbs is a natural way of adding flavor and encouraging regular fluid intake. With this gift, friends can create their own infusions and enjoy the many health benefits of good hydration. These bottles come in a variety of styles and colors, so each one can be tailored to its recipient too.
Spa Services: A gift card for a massage and/or facial is a perfect way to help friends and family de-stress. In fact, massages promote better sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle tension, and can even reduce chronic pain. Consider scheduling dual appointments to get in some quality time and enjoy the relaxation together.
Sunlight Desk Lamp: Vitamin D deficiencies, commonly experienced by Michiganders during the winter months, can lead to sullen moods or even seasonal affective disorder. This is because vitamin D helps maintain serotonin levels in the body, which are responsible for feelings of happiness. A sunlight lamp provides full spectrum lighting, which increases vitamin D production and the release of serotonin and reduces feelings of fatigue. This is a great gift for a loved one who may work indoors or is unable to spend a lot of time outside.
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.