Hug your way to a healthy and happy holiday!

Social Connection

Here we are with the holiday season upon us once again.  Usually these days I’m all about food choices, mindful eating, and ingredients, ingredients, ingredients. Even though there is plenty of that to address, today I’m going to focus on a different way to nourish our lives and that is with our social connections.  

I’ve been continually reminded of the social impact in our health and well being.  We are social beings.  We see this play out throughout our days.  Just think about all of the devices you have to stay connected.  (And it plays a role so much in our food decisions as well.)  Just today, my doctor reminded me yet again that another good reason to go to yoga class is the community that is there.  I had already spent the morning reflecting and thinking about the importance of feeding our lives with social connections, and so again here was this message.  

In my health coaching training at IIN, I learned that actual food is our secondary food.  Our primary foods are things such as our relationships, careers, physical activities, and spirituality.  Reflect on the fulfillment you feel from these.  Also, how do you feel when you are lacking in one of these areas?   

Also, my yoga teacher Ray shared with the class that his teacher had told him that the most beneficial yoga pose is a hug,  Wow.  I spent a lot of time reflecting on that one, and it holds true for me.  Have you ever experienced how healing a hug can be?  I recall a time where I had spent time with my nieces and nephew.  I felt so full after an evening of these kids and the resulting hugs.  I was smiling ear to ear.  Small children know the power of a hug,  As adults, do we forget this simple healing technique?  

I was going through a ted talk last night titled How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google manipulate our emotions.  Scott Galloway shares, “One of the other wonderful things about our species is we not only need to be loved, but we need to love others.Children with poor nutrition but a lot of affection have better outcomes than children with good nutrition and poor affection. However, the best signal that you might make it to be part of the number-one fastest growing demographic in the world -- centenarians, people who live to triple digits -- there are three signals. In reverse order: your genetics -- not as important as you'd like to think, so you can continue to treat your body like shit and think, "Oh, Uncle Joe lived to 95, the die have been cast." It's less important than you think. Number two is lifestyle. Don't smoke, don't be obese, and prescreen -- get rid of about two-thirds of early cancers and cardiovascular disease.The number one indicator or signal that you'll make it to triple digits: How many people do you love? Caretaking is the security camera -- we call the low-resolution security camera in our brain -- deciding whether or not you are adding value. Facebook taps into our instinctive need not only to be loved, but to love others, mostly through pictures that create empathy, catalyze and reinforce our relationships.”

Again, here we are with this message of the importance of not only being loved, but loving others.  Here we are again with the importance of community.

Here's another example.  Brigham Young University writes in an article from ScienceDaily, “Previous research from Holt-Lunstad and Smith puts the heightened risk of mortality from loneliness in the same category as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and being an alcoholic. This current study suggests that not only is the risk for mortality in the same category as these well-known risk factors, it also surpasses health risks associated with obesity.”

I’ve experienced the role of loneliness so much in my own life.  I had someone very close to me tell me to just focus on my illness.  And I battled with this message.  And I see this happen to others battling illness.  I felt so alone and excluded.  I felt this isolation also when I was making healthier choices.  Similarly, I feel so much better just being surrounded by people I connect with.  It literally lifts my spirits, inspires me, motivates me, connects me, calms me, and even normalizes my crazy thoughts.  This is one of my driving forces behind my work with Vibrant Cincy.  I want to break down this isolation.  Because not only will social connection actually help heal in itself, but also it helps to build the healthy habits.  Losing your social circle when sick or when making healthy habits can be devastating and leads you to being well sick, exactly what you are trying to resolve, right.  The unhealthy habits-> sick.  Lack of social circle-> sick. So, to me, the answer is to build community with healthy lifestyles.  Share and connect.  

So back to the holidays, before we eat to fill ourselves with this secondary food, let’s spend some time to be grateful for our blessings and people in our lives.  Let’s focus our attention on the nourishment we give and take time with our families and friends. Also, take some time to include others.  Holidays can be difficult for people experiencing changes in their lives and/or experiencing loneliness.  Connect with others to have a healthy and happy holiday season and life.  

Please contact me at if you are looking for ways to connect in Cincy.  There’s no need to be alone.  Also, I’ll be announcing very soon ways to connect with others in 2018 with Vibrant Cincy if you’re looking for groups to build healthy habits and lifestyles.  More coming soon!

Happy Holidays Everyone!


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I am also very excited for the upcoming holidays. This year I have planned to go to London with my kids and husband and we are really excited to spend some quality time there. Hope everyone has a great writing service time at holidays.