Here’s why putting yourself first can make everyone else happier, and how you can put yourself first this holiday season.

The holidays are about being a good person, right? You’re supposed to be thankful for what you have. You’re supposed to give to others, and put others’ needs first.

I agree completely, but you can do more for others when you’re at your best. You’ll be at your best when you take care of yourself, so here are some ideas for keeping yourself in your best physical, mental, and emotional shape…so you have more to give others.

So here are some ways to put yourself first this holiday season. They’ll help you eat a little healthier, stay a little fitter, and be a little more in control than if you neglect your own needs. And they’ll help you be able to do more for others.


Eat Right

Can’t get away from this one, can you? You know when you eat well, you have more energy, feel more confident, and are happier. That’s a recipe for being able to do some quality gift shopping or even volunteer work.

You know what “eating right” means. Base your meals around lean protein like non-fat cottage cheese, tuna, beans, egg whites, or chicken breast, for example. Add a bunch of vegetables, and enjoy some fruit or healthy starches at most meals. Pretty simple, and so effective! Oh, and if you do indulge? Keep it to a small and delicious bite to savor.

Use the Trash Can, Don’t Be One

If you’ve ever eaten something just because it’s there, you’ve used your body as a trash can. That’s because you ate something you didn’t need instead of simply leaving it or throwing it out. This happens a lot around the holidays, when you might eat the leftovers or a plate of Christmas cookies because you feel guilty throwing them out.

Guess what. When you throw trash into your body instead of a can, you’re not helping starving children in Africa. If you really want to help them, why not make a donation? Donate, say, a penny for every calorie you dump, or a quarter for every cookie you toss. Now that’s how putting yourself first can help out others in need!


When you exercise, you’re happier, more energetic, and more focused. Sound selfish? Not really. You can be more productive at work, better able to entertain your friends and family, and readier to whip up that next batch of cookies when your children have a last-minute request for a contribution to a classroom holiday party.

It can be tough to stick to your regular exercise schedule during the holidays. You can save time by getting your gear ready the night before and by planning your workout ahead of time so you make use of every moment.

Since it can be tempting to sleep in instead of a morning workout or just hang out at home in the evening, make use of other people to stay accountable. Make plans to meet an exercise buddy, or commit to group fitness classes. And, if you’re feeling too stressed or tired to do a hard workout, try going to the gym for some easy stretching. You’ll still get the mental benefits and stay in the healthy habit of being a gym rat.


Have you ever wanted to tell someone to just “chill!” because they’re making you nervous? Don’t be that person! Keep yourself cool and collected so everyone wants to be around you and not avoid you.

De-stress in whatever way works for you. You can go for a walk, get a massage or manicure, take a drive, or go shopping. It doesn’t matter…as long as you do it and it works. If it involves someone else, you’re doing double duty and helping someone else out as well!

Have Fun

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of taking care of yourself and others, don’t forget to have fun. Do whatever you want, whether it’s meeting a friend for (healthy) lunch, watching a full season of a TV show in a few days, or doing all the aisles at Walmart at 1:00 a.m. Whatever you’ve been dying to do all year, do it now. When you keep yourself happy, you’re better able to appreciate what other people need or want to be happy.

Forgive Yourself

Yes, things will go wrong. You’ll eat too much, or go a little overboard on the alcohol at a holiday party, or sleep in instead of working out. Or you’ll forget to pick up a gift for someone, or burn the cake you’re baking. It’s okay, and you’re best off if you can laugh it off and move on. Fret about it, and you’ll just be hurting other people who would rather see you happy than upset.

The holiday season is supposed to be about giving, but that can drain you if you don’t take care of yourself. Just like you do during the rest of your weight loss surgery journey, you need to put yourself first during the holidays. That lets you give your best to everyone else, too.


Article courtesy of Alex Brecher BariatricPal