December Sanity Retreat 2013

by Valerie on December 1, 2013 · 19 comments

Bonjours, December.  You came back so fast.  Last December, I was writing how I felt it was time for some self-care and that fortunately, there is the December Sanity Challenge, which is 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 [2011] as well as last year’s [2011] and this year’s Self-Care Retreats [2012].   

This is still all very true, except this year I got to actually meet Cheryl – twice! And eat some of her recipes she had made.  And of course participate in the July self-care retreat.

This December, Cheryl is hosting a December Sanity retreat again, with a bit of help from Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat, Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl and me. Cheryl is posting about gratitude this month

As I thought about this month, I looked back to the last couple of Decembers – my goals last December were to Sleep, Move Dance and Stretch. The December before that my goals were Move, Do More Restorative Yoga and Blog Less.  Ironically, I decided to put my yoga membership on hold this month – two trips, a small procedure and a reduced holiday schedule at the studio where I practice made me think hard about the number of days I could do yoga, and it was something like 10 out of 30. which is just not enough to justify a whole month’s membership.

It is not a coincidence that moving and yoga were big parts of my goals the last two Decembers – as I have written before, movement does not come naturally to me at all, and a big part of the last few years has been to make movement more of a habit.  Exercising in the morning has been key, but December is an especially tough month – I can usually get through the end of summer and October by telling myself Daylight Savings Time will end shortly, and I do experience a bit of a rebound in November when that happens, but then the slide towards the Winter Solstice begins, and that is way harder.  The sky outside my office at 5pm looks like it is midnight, and when I wake up in the morning, it still looks like it is midnight. 

Before I go wishing away the next three weeks, however, this month, I think I am going to fight a little less hard against my hibernation tendencies and focus more on this time as a time for reflection and mindfulness.  I used to say that if I skipped working out but meditated for 15 minutes, I would consider that day a win anyways, and somewhere in the last few years, I stopped feeling that way. Oh, and I still have not developed a meditation practice.

So my goals this month are daily reflection, daily check-in’s with myself, and twice-weekly sessions of focusing on my breath for 10 minutes (like I said in July, baby steps on the meditation front).             

More on the December Sanity Retreat 2013

The holidays can be a beautiful time of family bonding, celebration and beauty. They can also be an overdoing, overspending, overstressing time of all flavors of excess. For the last 3 years, Cheryl has  hosted the December Sanity Retreat and the July Self-Care Retreat. This is our 6th retreat! 

As a gentle extra nudge towards, the retreat includes 2 giveaways:

Giveaway #1: Let us hear your voice!

Prize: a $50 gift certificate (they are not sponsoring, but do have healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options (US/Canada)

Comment on any of our hostesses’ posts on the Sanity Retreat, like this one.  Leave me a comment on how you cultivate gratitude in your life, OR what you’re most grateful for.

big orange flutter

Giveaway #2: make the challenge your own!

Blog on your own self-care plans, and a post will be chosen at random as the winner. If you don’t have a blog, contact the hostess of the week and they’ll post for you.

Prize: um, ironing out details–either a gift certificate or a box of self-care books, meditation CDs, CHOCOLATE and other fun things from Cheryl.

As always, self-care is whatever it means to you. So the December Sanity Challenge can be on whatever YOU need to work on to stay sane during the holiday season

Balance around food * Joyful movement * Sanity & stress management * Making space for art, expression, and spirituality * Connection with friends and family

Or whatever else speaks to you along those lines.

The challenge—post on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy.  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!

I’m delighted to be joined by wonderful hostesses with likeminded blogs:

I hope you choose to join us, too.  Grab a badge and we’re good to go!

We’ll also be meeting up in our Facebook group for extra encouragement and support. You’re more than welcome to join us there.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cheryl harris December 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi Valerie,
First, I’m so honored!

I LOVE the idea of hibernation. Sometimes I think about asking the groundhog if he’d share his little hole and we could just nap until Feb, but he doesn’t seem friendly.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing how the checkins go!


2 cheryl harris December 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

oh, and it was awesome to finally meet you in person!


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