I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season so far! The end of the year always seems to come so quickly, and it's a little sad to see the time go by, at least for me. However, there are so many new adventures and opportunities for growth to look forward to in the new year! That includes developing new habits that help us to feel healthier, happier, and more energized than ever! Here are a few things that I, myself, am going to work on, and I think you should too.
- Get Moving: I feel on top of the world when I'm in my peak running shape and super strong from strength training too! I have fallen off of my routine of consistently working out since I left my college team, but I'm trying semi-successfully to not beat myself up about it. Of course it's important to rest and recover because that's when you make gains! Even if I give my time some more time off in 2016, I will find other ways to move like standing instead of sitting, going for walks, stretching, and taking the stairs. Things like that are easy enough to do for anyone, no matter what kind of shape you're in.
- Hydrate: Did you know that sometimes you might think you're hungry, but you're actually just thirsty? Also, that thirst is the first sign of dehydration? There are so many benefits to drinking water, besides doing it to stay alive! It has zero calories, so if you are looking to lose weight, swapping out even just one other type of drink for a glass of water reduces your caloric intake without limiting the volume you take in. Staying hydrated also helps to prevent your skin from drying out, a concern for many people in the cold winter months. Athletes definitely need to drink lots of water to make up for the fluids lost through sweat, but you should also consider your electrolyte balance if you do a really strenuous workout. In that case, coconut water is nature's energy drink! I just tried maple water for the first time too, and I think it's just water from a maple tree so it has a slight maple flavor. It was okay, but you might enjoy it!
- Prioritize Sleep: The world we live in never sleeps. Even though technology has advanced to the point that anything can be done with the tap of a finger, people still have the same basic needs to survive, including sleep. Everything seems so much worse when you're tired, and it's easier to skip a workout or find comfort in unhealthy food too. It might seem like you always have to push yourself to do more in order to keep up, but you ultimately will be less productive if you wear yourself down. You are in control of where you set your limits, so set the standard and stick to it!
- Meditate or Give Yourself Time to Just Be: Somewhat related to prioritizing sleep, allow yourself some time to consciously do nothing. When was the last time your mind wasn't occupied by a constant stream of to do lists, plans, or worries? Connecting to our surroundings and remaining mindful of where we are in the moment can be grounding and stress-relieving. I am interested in starting a more consistent meditation practice in 2016, but before you think I've gone hippie on you, hear me out! There is developing scientific data that shows meditation is actually beneficial. If anything, I think it makes sense that taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for some quiet time can be rejuvenating. In my Strategies in Stress Management class at school, we studied from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn*, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to meditation and mindfulness.
- Practice Compassion to Yourself and Others: The world isn't a perfect place, and it never will be. So why do we beat ourselves up and put pressure on others when things don't go as planned? Of course, having a range of emotions is part of being human, we ideally want to learn from our experiences and improve each day, and there are some things that others do that are beyond forgiveness. However, how can we become better versions of ourselves if we are holding onto negative feelings, thoughts, and memories from the past? We truly cannot change who we are, so instead of looking at our faults as stains, maybe we can see them as our patterns that make us unique individuals. At the same time, we are all united by the human condition, so if we can see good in ourselves, maybe we can try to find it in others, even if it seems impossible. If a given relationship is truly important, there will be a way to make amends. However, if something or someone continues to wear on your soul, then it might be time to walk away. Being compassionate doesn't mean being weak or a push-over; it means you value life and its nuances. That being said, no one will ever be perfectly compassionate, and that's fair, but I have found that trying to see the glass half full has made me a happier person.
I hope that didn't get too deep for all of you! These are just some things I have been thinking about lately. Some people don't like the idea of a New Year's Resolution because you shouldn't need a special occasion to make an important change in your life, but for many a new year can be symbolic of a new start. These tips are just meant to be some food for thought in the coming days, whether it's tomorrow on New Year's Eve or July three years from now. If making a change in the new year isn't your thing, save this page to come back to if you're ever interested in these ideas for the future!
On a lighter note, some fun things I am looking forward to doing more of in 2016:
Eating good food (like the recipes from one of the 6 cookbooks (!) I got for Christmas, or by going to awesome restaurants like Chaia for tacos or Beefsteak for veggie bowls at school in Washington D.C.)
Seeing Coldplay (my favorite band ever) in concert...please come to North America!! Specifically New York City, Northern New Jersey, or Washington D.C.!
Running my first half-marathon...let's see how that goes...see tip #1; but I should also remember tip #5 :)
Going to farmer's markets
Taking great photos and writing awesome posts for this blog
Spending time with my family and friends
Learning new things and going to new places (maybe, hopefully for the second part?)
Also, some food blog I have since I have only posted one of my own recipes! Check back next week for something new that has been going down in my kitchen!
Happy New Year!
*I included this link because I honestly like the product. I don't get anything if you choose to purchase it.
"I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think." -Rumi