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This year, think about how you can give Mom what she really needs: relaxation, energy, and support. From massages to tonics, our holistic suggestions will offer any woman the gift of better health.
Massage is no mere indulgence. It reduces muscle-tension-related aches and pains; it boosts circulation; and, according to a 2010 study performed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, it increases immune-cell circulation and reduces stress-hormone levels in the bloodstream. All that, plus it feels fantastic. Family members can contribute to buying you a gift certificate at a local day spa; if the total ends up being more than the cost of one massage, you’ll have a great incentive to book another appointment in a month or two.
Make time for friends
Motherhood can be isolating—the sheer amount of time and energy devoted to child rearing (not to mention working, working out, sleeping, and focusing on your major love relationship) can mean there’s little left over for friendship. But numerous studies suggest that friends simply make life better: In an Australian study, older adults with a tight circle of friends had a 22 percent lower relative risk for mortality. Harvard researchers have found that having a strong social network promotes brain function as people age. And one University of Virginia study found that even challenging obstacles (in this case, climbing a steep hill while wearing a weighted backpack) seem less daunting when shared with a friend. One of the best gifts you could give yourself is a regular date with a friend or group of friends; a steady tennis game, cup of coffee, or girls’ night out will sustain you through good times and bad, and may even help you live longer. Few items on your to-do list can claim the same importance.
Remember other mothers
Mother’s Day is all about you—mostly. It’s also an occasion to honor all the mothers in your family, including those who have come before you. Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters (Da Capo, 2006), suggests keeping alive the memory of mothers who are no longer here by dedicating part of your Mother’s Day to reminiscing. “Tell a story to your kids about your mom or grandmother, or look at pictures together, or bake her banana bread recipe as a family activity,” she suggests. You’ll do more than honor your loved ones: Research has found that reminiscing with others—particularly about positive experiences—also produces a swell of positive emotions, including joy, amusement, and contentment.