Is your mother celebrating a special day soon? A birthday, maybe? This year, skip the chocolates and instead, give the gift of wellness. Consider the following tips and hints from TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, for the woman who is starting or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
• Be her workout partner. Make an effort to exercise regularly together, and schedule it on the calendar as a reminder. If she's bored with her usual workout routine, gift her a package to a series of fitness sessions that you can attend together. "Deal of the day" websites make it easy to sample a variety of classes and try something new. Exercising with another person will also help hold you both accountable and is an opportunity to find support during the wellness journey.
• Prepare a light brunch. Avoid the overpriced, artery-clogging brunch and serve Mom a nutritious meal that will leave energy to spare. Fruit salad, whole wheat pancakes, scrambled or baked eggs, smoked salmon on whole-wheat bread or crackers, and dessert cake made with applesauce instead of oil or butter are all sensible but delicious options. Select recipes from a new, healthy cookbook and leave the book behind to inspire her later.
• Compile a get-fit basket. Consider including a reusable water bottle, a set of light hand weights, pedometer, sweat-wicking top, yoga mat, or workout towel. Most fitness DVDs require minimal equipment and can be done anywhere, home or away. Add a tape measure so she can gauge her progress, too.
• Give her the gift of support - a TOPS membership. TOPS provides weight-loss support and wellness education for only $28 per year in the U.S. and $32 each year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. Visit www.tops.org for more information or to find a chapter near you.
• Boost her mental well-being with added rest. Skimping on sleep can leave Mom at a higher risk for a weakened immune system and type 2 diabetes, among other health problems. Give the gift of a good night's rest by investing in high-quality bed linens or a luxurious new pillow. For new mothers, offer to watch the baby periodically so Mom can rest restoratively.
• Start a garden. Does your mom have a green thumb? Buy planters and seeds so she can grow healthful and tasty fresh basil, mint leaves, or other herbs. A kitchen or windowsill garden is a convenient option for those with limited space outdoors. For a little something extra, include healthy recipes for using the plants once they've grown.
• Help her relax. If you can't afford to splurge for a full day's worth of treatments, a gift certificate for a spa massage, facial, or manicure and pedicure will give Mom the opportunity to de-stress. You can also get her bath salts or a comfy robe, so she can bring the experience home and relieve tension when it's most convenient for her.