December Sanity Challenge 2012: Sleep, Move, Dance & Stretch

by Valerie on December 2, 2012 · 12 comments


And, just like that, it is December 1.  This year went by at warp speed for me – I had a busy first three months of the year at my old job, then switched jobs, travelled quite a bit, and just generally felt like there was no pause button this year.  No pause. I tried a bit of pausing this past month in November – I went on vacation, and then there was Thanksgiving, but I have to admit, as I sit here on December 1, I am still trying to figure out why last December feels both so long ago and yet like it was last week.

Time for some self-care. And fortunately, there is the the December Sanity Challenge is the brainchild of the the wonderful Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness.  Of everyone in my (in-person or virtual) life, she is the strongest voice in reminding me and everyone else to take care of ourselves. I so appreciate Cheryl for that reason, as well as many others – her humor, her recipes and her kindness.  Cheryl was the force behind last year’s December Sanity Challenge as well as last year’s and this year’s Self-Care Retreats.

Before we get into my goals for December, first, the scoop as described by Cheryl:

So here’s the scoop on the December Sanity Challenge.  It can be on whatever YOU need to work on to stay sane during the holiday season, or whatever you want to make sure to remember so that you are living life to the fullest:

    1. Balancing commitments to others with commitments to yourself
    2. Getting in physical activity
    3. Creating a happy balance around food
    4. Getting enough sleep!
    5. Making wise financial choices
    6. Focusing more on living beings than material “stuff”
    7. Whatever else speaks to you along these lines

The challenge–blog on on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy.  (if you don’t have a blog and want to play, email  Cheryl through her blog and she will post your goals!) Make it specific!  Not just “I’ll get more sleep”, but “I’ll get at least 7 hours of sleep, 5 days a week”.  Not just “I won’t go crazy making desserts”, but “I’ll make a maximum of XX desserts, and space them out over XX time”.  You know what you need to do to keep this doable, and writing it down will help you get there!

As a little added incentive, for each post on your intentions and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate to (they are not sponsoring, Cheryl picked them because they have healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options). The delicious Ms. Carrie Forbes of Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl has also generously donated 2 signed cookbooks for “The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook”. What could be more sanity promoting than using a slow cooker?

I have wonderful co-hosts:

We also have a FB group–if you’d like to join, you’re more than welcome. It’s a space to support and be supported, and it’s the same one we used during the last Self-Care Retreat.

And now, here are my goals for this month:

1. Sleep – 7, preferably 8 hours of sleep a night. I am always shaving off sleep, which is not a good idea.  I keep putting off trying to sleep that much and often get by on 6-ish, feeling proud of myself when I can get 7, but never really striving for 8.  I had an aha moment this week reading something that Elana wrote: “It took tons of patience and dedication (the dedication to slow down and become competitive about things like sleeping, rather than my more preferred modes of accomplishment).  I had to fool my monkey mind.”  I know I can set and meet goals – why not try to apply that skill to getting enough sleep.

2. Movement – while my movement routine is pretty firmly ingrained (I know, I have come a long way since my Tuesday night promise and have since transformed my mornings and movement routine generally) I do want to keep movement one of my goals. It was my main goal last year, and I found the movement I did last December very grounding amidst what was really quite an ugly month.  The goal this month is to keep my usual routine of working out 6 times a week, a minimum of 30 minutes a time, with a combination of vinyasa/flow yoga classes, the elliptical, lots of walking and DanceTrance.  I do sometimes stick to  a 20 minute workout on the days after a 90 minute or 2 hour DTDC class, but otherwise 30 minutes is my usual goal.  The 6 times a week goal is not set in stone – in other words, if I continue to feel like I do right now (achy right foot, swollen scratchy throat) I will favor sleep and rest over movement.

3. Yoga – my yoga practice has waxed and waned this year, at least partially because of travel. While I can absolutely get behind hotel gyms, I have yet to be able to get behind hotel room yoga.  This month, the goal is a total of 12 yoga classes, including flow classes, restorative and yin.  In addition to yoga classes, I am going to stretch for at least 3 minutes after cardio workouts, as I have completely lost that part of my movement routine. Some stretches will be yoga stretches, and others just regular stretches.

So to summarize, sleep, move, dance, stretch.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shirley @ gfe December 2, 2012 at 3:23 am

Great aspirations, Valerie! I, too, read Elana’s post and since she’s a personal friend even got a bit of a pep talk on self care the other day from her. 😉 I cherish the quiet both late at night and in the early morning for getting stuff done, so that’s not best for sleeping that long. Add a dog who needs to go out early in the morning on weekends and things get worse. I’ll keep working on it though.

I, too, have trouble doing yoga when on travel. Have you tried yoga download with your computer? I’ve done that a few times, but find it harder in general to do yoga when on travel because one is not in one’s own space, on normal schedule, etc. I’d like to come up with a better answer because I find yoga so critical to my well being.

I agree on Cheryl. She’s incredibly inspiring/encouraging on self-care and not just for retreats.

Best of luck to you and us all on maintaining sanity and keeping our individual goals to get there!


2 Cheryl December 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

First, thank you! I’m glad it’s been such a positive influence, and I’m grateful to be part of that.Thanks for sharing Elana’s post as well.
Switching jobs can be a huge hurdle and it sounds like you’ve gotten through it intact and NOW you get your well-earned pause. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!


3 Cheryl December 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Oh, almost forgot: my post is up for wk 1


4 Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I totally need something like this this time of year. I require some structure or a schedule or things will NOT happen! I’ll stay up too late, doing things I don’t need to do, leaving no time or energy to do the things I must/want.


5 Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat December 9, 2012 at 12:18 am

I love this post because it is so easy to remember and so good for mental & physical health! Sleep, move, dance & stretch. I can do that. Thanks for a fantastic December mantra :)


6 Lillian December 16, 2012 at 2:10 am

I love this idea – thank you for doing this! I just wrote my goals on my wee slice of the blogosphere:


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