How Do You See Your Year Shaping Up?
Our New Year 2022 has indeed begun. It’s become a common theme as each New Year begins, to enter it with hope, intentions for being better, stronger, kinder…anything that we want to improve. And still, we are facing challenges, health concerns with the pandemic, uncertainty with climate change, and for many of us, tremendous loss as we start the year. So, let’s take a moment together to create quiet serenity first as we enter the year. As we reflect back over 2021, make sure you are doing so with a gentle, kind glance backwards, acknowledging all the things you have accomplished, learned, created, and contributed to others. This kind glance can help us realize our goodness, and truly provide a positive start with a vision for 2022 that can be achieved.
In appreciation to my friend and pseudo-sister, Lisa Teresi Harris, who allows me to share with you her list of 22 ways to create a dynamic and vibrant year ahead:
- Hug. Embrace somebody every day, as safely as possible. Hugging helps reduce stress, relieve fear, show support, and boost heart health.
- Volunteer. Whether it’s at an animal shelter, a food pantry, or after-school tutoring, volunteering does wonders for our hearts and our health. Plus, when you help others, it gives you a better perspective to appreciate your own life.
- Show gratitude. Showing gratefulness can help boost your immune system, increase optimism, support mental health. Plus, I’ve heard it’s impossible to hold the opposing emotions of anger and gratitude at the same time…your choice!
- Move. And keep going throughout the day. Don’t be a couch potato. Make moving a habit, and not just a 30-minute walk once a day. Research now shows the critical importance of getting up and moving, all day long. If you need a reminder, purchase an activity tracker that can help you remember to walk/bike/bend a few minutes every hour.
- Fidget. Embrace your inner child. This type of movement burns calories (yes, it’s a small amount) and helps keep your body healthy throughout the day. So tap your feet, swing your legs, and engage in all sorts of movements that embody your playful self.
- Eat more plants. A plant-focused diet is good for your body and the planet. Start by substituting one meat-based meal per week with a tofu or bean-based entree. Flood your body with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes to maximize healthful phytochemicals.
- Start a new hobby. Baking, gardening, and artistries are enjoying a renaissance with people staying home during the pandemic. Explore new ways to focus and take your mind off your problems.
- Drink water. While there’s no official recommendation, one often-quoted rule is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it in half, and drink that many ounces of water daily. Staying hydrated can be simplified with drinking a little at a time, and relieves fatigue, improves mood, and aids in digestion, to name a few benefits.
- Take your meds. I know people who conveniently “forget” to take prescribed medications. Listen folks, they were prescribed for a reason, and if you question that, talk with your healthcare professional.
- Exercise, anew. Don’t like walking? Try line dancing, hiking, housecleaning (ok, that’s a stretch for enjoyment, but it can count as aerobic activity), bicycling (stationary bikes are great), swimming, or jumping rope. Just move your large muscles and get your heart pumping.
- Adopt a special needs pet. Disabled dogs and cats are in need of loving parents. These animals can make excellent pets, and owners create a special bond helping Fido (woof) or Willow (meow) navigate the world.
- Cook more often. There are lots of benefits to homemade meals: lower cost compared to restaurants, control over ingredients such as fats and salt/sodium, and the joy of creating feasts with family.
- Create memories. If you have grandchildren, take the kiddos out in your backyard to catch lizards, blow bubbles, make heart shapes out of rocks, look at stars. Get out the old sheets and build a fort. The possibilities are limitless.
- Organize. Take the time to tidy up your desk, your office, your photos to improve your focus and decrease feelings of overwhelm.
- Journal. Daily journaling can help you track goals and progress, find inspiration, improve communication skills. And I love to read over my journals from the past year to see what I was doing and how I was feeling at different times.
- Travel. Whether you actually visit a new part of the world, or travel virtually, expand your mind by learning about other cultures and locations. I enjoyed a National Geographic special recently with a friend entitled “Welcome to Earth” that left us awestruck.
- Monitor screen time. I think we all know where I’m headed here. Our phones, tablets, and computers are our lives. If you’re concerned about the amount of time a loved one is spending online, check the Settings on their device to turn on and monitor Screen Time.
- Eyes-ercise. If you’re spending a lot of time on those screens, give your eyes a break. Every 20 minutes, look away from your device for 20 seconds, fixing your gaze on objects about 20 feet away. And blink 20 times.
- Share joy. This life goes by pretty quickly, and you’ll want to cherish every special moment with those you love. So pick up the phone, write a letter, or text, just to say “hi!”
- Sleep. I have had some challenges with sleeping deeply and restoratively every night, and learned about “good sleep hygiene.”It includes tips such as: keep your bedroom as dark and cool as possible, shut off electronics an hour before bedtime, go to bed and get up the same time every day. You might even try Tapping – it has worked well for me.
- Build strength. As we age, muscle mass and strength can diminish. Make a point of doing body-weight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, dips, yoga) and lifting weights at least twice a week. And don’t forget stretching. With all the sitting we do, muscles get tight and flexibility can decrease without proper movement.
- Prioritize YOU. We often forget to take time for self-care. But if you don’t do that, who will? And if not now, when? Schedule down time for recharging your own batteries: a soothing bath, relaxing walk in nature, meditation, yoga, reading a great page-turner. Make 2022 your best year ever!
I’m interested in hearing how you see your year shaping up - text or phone me; send an email if you’re willing. I’d love to hear from you!
619 993-8402 or email@example.com