Best Health



…COME IN THE FORM OF ADVICE. I realized that a few years ago while lunching with my friend Ruth. Much like my mother, Ruth was born in the same decade and spent her formative years in Montreal. In fact, we met just a few years before my mom passed, and she was instrument­al in helping me move forward. We’ve been friends ever since – over 30 years now.

Ruth and I have a unique relationsh­ip: I look to her for advice on how to grow up and she comes to me for ideas on how to stay young (relatively speaking).

It was during one of our traditiona­l holiday lunches that I got the best gift ever: her sage advice about the holiday season. I was stressing about all the items on my to-do list and, between sips of her white-wine spritzer, she looked across the table and said, “Beth, cut yourself some slack.”

Those words changed my life.

See, until then, I was that person: the one who lined up in the cold, dark hours of December for some must-have toy, who baked deep into the night for the annual cookie exchange, who cleaned like a fiend for our traditiona­l Christmas Eve party. (Why I thought dust-free baseboards would make for a better party, I have no idea.)

I know better now. While all those behaviours sit high on my to-do list, none of them makes it to the top of my I-remember list. Celebratio­ns should be about people, not things; love, not judgment; joy, not stress.

My favourite songstress, Sara Bareilles, has a beautiful song called “Love Is Christmas.” She writes, “Why so scared that you’ll mess it up? When perfection keeps you haunted. All we need is your best my love, that’s all anyone ever wanted. Love is how we do, let no judgment overrule it.”

Beautiful, right? Bareilles writes about Christmas, but we can insert any celebratio­n into this theme – they all work.

So this year, I encourage you to stress less and enjoy more. We’ve got articles on make-ahead foods that will keep you out of the kitchen on party night (page 46) and insight into why (and how) to shed holiday guilt for a healthier you (page 28).

But that’s not all! This is a bonus issue. You could say we’re all party in the front and business in the back. While the December side is about getting down, the flip side is about getting healthy, with good advice from trusted sources that will help you make small yet powerful changes come January. Like I said earlier, advice is often the best gift of all – we just need to believe.

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