After the plethora of holiday parties, dinners, sweets and treats, the new year offers a chance to start over with a clean slate. Almost everyone decides to make a new year’s resolution and very often it’s about losing weight or something vague. I prefer to make many small resolutions. I think we all have more than one area we can improve upon in our lives so why not pick a few, attainable changes we’d like to make in 2016. Here are some ideas for possible 2016 mini-resolutions that I hope you can add to your list.
Stop texting and driving. I have to admit I am guilty of this myself sometimes. When the phone is sitting right on your lap it’s hard to fight the temptation of looking at your phone when it lights up and makes a noise. Yet, I think the research is undeniable that texting and driving is more dangerous than drunk driving! With that in mind, let’s decide to break this addiction and put the phone away while driving–preferably somewhere you can’t even reach it from your seat.
Take a weekly bubble bath. If a bubble bath is not your thing, find some other way to pamper yourself. Resolutions often are about taking things away, but you can also make a resolution to add something to your life. On airplanes they tell you ‘if the cabin loses pressure put the mask on yourself first before helping others’. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself. This applies to life, too! So often we take care of others at the expense of our own health and well-being. This may work in the short term but in the long term it is detrimental. So here’s a fun resolution- pamper yourself! Whether it’s a long walk, a massage, a Pilates class, or a vacation–enjoy!
Meatless Monday (or even better–meatless many days). The research is pretty overwhelming that eating meat is bad for the environment and your health. Remember that your cells are created and fueled by the food that you give them so your health depends on what kind of nutrition you put in your body. Today, there’s a plethora of vegetarian/vegan cookbooks and websites/blog if you prefer paper free options. My favorite blog is www.ohsheglows.com for delicious vegan dishes.
Try a new healthy recipe once a week (or month depending on how often you cook). Cooking or baking in the kitchen can be relaxing and fun. I enjoy finding new and healthy recipes, turning on some music or good TV, maybe a glass of wine and cooking something new with my husband. I have found some amazing new recipes and, of course, some not so good ones but I always had fun.
Meditate. I wrote a blog on this a while ago but it’s worth saying again. Meditating, even for 5 minutes each morning can bring peace and focus to your day. It also has physiological effects such as decreased blood pressure, improved sleep, decreased heart rate, decreased cortisol, improved focus, weights loss and immune function, etc. For me, it brings a sense of purpose and peace to my day. It makes me calmer on my drive to work, more present with my patients, and puts everything in perspective.
Raw ’til 4. Especially after a day of unhealthy eating or just eating too much, I like to eat raw until 4pm- so breakfast, lunch, and snack. It’s pretty difficult to eat unhealthy when you’re eating raw food. Raw foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and even some grains. My favorite breakfasts are smoothies, cut up fresh fruit and nuts, overnight soaked oats to make oatmeal, and buckwheat porridge- also soaked over night and blended in the morning. Lunch is usually a big salad with tons of veggies, nuts, seeds, and even fruit with a fresh homemade dressing. Get creative here! Zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, sunflower seeds, beets, etc. Raw foods are high in fiber and, since they’re not cooked, they have all their nutrients! They’ll keep you feeling full and fuel your body!
Exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes weekly of cardiovascular exercise. That’s 30 mins, 5 times per week, which is really very little. The relationship between exercise and health is linear, meaning the more you exercise the more benefits to your health. So if you can commit to exercising most days of the week for 60 minutes your heart will thank you!
Lastly, I like to pick a word at the beginning of the year to help inspire my actions and behavior for the New Year. It needs to be short and simple. Last year my word was gratitude. I reminded myself to find something I was grateful for everyday and to look for something to be grateful for in difficult situations. I was grateful for my husband, my amazing mother who passed away too soon, my jobs that I love, the chance to positively impact patients and client’s lives, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, nature, my health, my family and friends, living somewhere where I can be free to practice my religion and free to be myself…just to name a few. This year my word is generous. I want to be generous with my time, generous with my love and friendship, generous with my talents, and generous with my money. I think time is one of the best things you can offer people. Time to be by a friend’s side in a tough time, time to listen to a patient share their struggle, time to be fully and completely present in whatever you’re doing. I recently saw a segment on a billionaire who every year around Christmas time hands out tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) to random strangers in $100 amounts. I remember thinking, “I wish I could do that!” Most of us can’t afford to hand out that amount of money but we can all be generous with our money relative to our own finances. I have a handful of organizations that are close to my heart that I donate to in small amounts when I can. Try to find some organizations that reflect your values and dreams and help fund their mission to make this world a better place!
Ok, now it’s you’re turn! Pick a few mini-resolutions that you’d like to see happen in your life and a word to help guide you along the way! I hope this New Year is full of peace, calm, health and happiness for you and your family. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Sabina Gempel, DPT, PT, PMA-CPT