Ways to a Happy New You for the New Year
Yet another year has passed, and for the majority of us, the onset of time and the passage of what has been, gives us reason to evaluate our lives and find a freshness in the choices and actions we’ll make in the upcoming year.
We make resolutions with hopes they’ll provide us with a goal – a challenge to change some aspect of our lives. Resolutions are great, as long as they’re attainable and realistic. And, realistically, we should make resolutions more than once a year.
Exercise of course, is always at the top of people’s list to change or add. Since we live in nature’s playground and have numerous indoor venues to choose from on our cold, dark winter days, there are an abundance of choices.
Our bodies need diversity; muscles will get strong, but with overuse from the same activity, will start to weaken. Our brains need diversity not only to fend off boredom, but also to stay sharp and keep from becoming habituated in our movements. Incorporate cardio and strength training/stretching into the plan.
Remember to get outside too. Numerous studies have been done that prove time spent in nature can improve mood, release stress, and give us feelings of connectedness so that we’re less ‘self focused’ and more ‘other focused.’ Children who suffer from ADHD, patients in hospitals with a view of nature and folks in nursing homes have all proven to benefit from time reconnecting with our roots, void of distraction from others, music and stimuli.
Try to make some changes in your household too. Start with the first ‘R’: Refuse. Then reduce, reuse, and recycle. Again, start small – just one difference you make will make a difference, tenfold, down the road.
Make a commitment to shun plastic bags by keeping reusable bags in your car and use them for everything, not just groceries. Get into the habit of reusing produce bags too. Or better yet, buy the fabric kind that can be reused numerous times. Buy a set of bamboo utensils, or those made from recycled corn to use when you get food to go.
Small changes can be made in our diets too, like joining the national ‘Meatless Monday’s campaign (www.meatlessmondays.com) which promotes eating a vegetarian diet only one day a week (the meat industry is one of the biggest offenders of greenhouse gasses. . . more than our vehicles). Plus, one day off a week from meat is great for our digestion.
Try to purchase organic produce. Eating organic food is not only better for us, we’re helping offset the cancer risks from pesticides and lessening those that are going into our water sources.
Do one new thing a month: play Scrabble with friends; go ice skating; listen to music in an unfamiliar foreign language; make a wreath from dried willows; soak in hot springs; walk under a full moon without a light; give your pet extra love one day; visit someone you don’t know in Assisted Living; actually stop and watch a moose in a field like it’s the first time you’ve seen one.
The keys to staying engaged in life and young-at-heart are neither expensive nor time consuming. Whatever it is we do, be present, be grateful and give back to others and our planet.
Michele is the founder of the original Winter Park Market,
Pilates, yoga and spin instructor.
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