Give yourself a 'present' this year

As you've gone about your holiday shopping intent on finding the perfect gifts for the special people in your life, have you been tempted to buy a few things just for yourself?

Don't feel bad; most people do.

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We come up with a variety of good reasons. "I'm here anyways and it's something I need." "It was on sale." "I'm probably not going to get everything I want for Christmas." "I deserve it."

If you're a mom, you almost certainly deserve the recognition that you do more than any of Santa's elves.

But there are good gifts and not-so-good gifts. In the latter category are comfort food, material things that are tempting, trendy but unnecessary, and things that make you feel so guilty you hide them as soon as you get home.

Impulse buying makes for inappropriate gifts for both others and our selves. We need to consider carefully what we give our selves.

Here are some suggestions.

1. Baby your body

I'm not talking about a visit to the spa, a massage or warm fuzzy slippers. Think of how good parents care for their babies. They ensure their children get enough sleep, and they attend to everything that goes in their mouths. Young children are also known to put objects into any orifice, the mouth, nose and ears being most popular.

Grownups sometimes have to Ferberize themselves with a little tough love. Turn off the TV and computer and get to bed early. If you need a rest in the middle of the day - and you can get away with it, take one.

Attend to everything you put into your body - what you might ingest, inhale or inject, including food and drink, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.

2. Treat yourself

Do something you enjoy each day. It should be drug-free, non-alcoholic and non-fattening (What did you expect from a doctor?), and it doesn't have to cost much in money or time.

It should refresh your spirits, invigorate your body and lift your mood.

It could be a cup of tea, a call to a special friend, a walk in the park, your favourite music, or reading that relaxes or inspires you.

3. Be present

At some points in our lives, we dream of time travel. Would you like to go back into the past to relive happier times or to say and do the right things?

The great gift you can give your future self is to be fully present today. Make the most of all that you have at this moment, and appreciate those in your life today. They may be gone tomorrow. Don't let this day go by without saying all that needs to be said (i.e. forgive me, I forgive you, I love you and thank you). Show how much you care.

4. Be compassionate with yourself

Not only can we be critical of the weather, our bad luck, politicians and just about everyone else, we can be hard on ourselves.

The world would be a better place if we were less judgmental and more compassionate towards others and ourselves.

Loving ourselves is not about obsessing with our looks and thinking we are better than anyone else. It requires self-acceptance, forgiving ourselves and doing what is right for ourselves and others.

Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician at the PrimeCare Medical Centre. His Healthwise column appears regularly in this paper. You can read more about achieving your positive potential for health at davidicuswong.wordpress. com.

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