Last year, I wrote about how you should ditch your New Year Resolutions and forget about New Year, New You.
I stand by that. Winter is not a time for energetic change – it’s a time for hibernation, for quiet solitude, for looking within. It can be the perfect time for quiet shifts … small, simple things you can do every day that will help you live your best year yet.
What does that mean ‘the best year yet?’ You’ll need to come up with your own set of measures (beyond how thin is your waistline and how fat is your wallet). How about: how peaceful are your days? How comfortable is your body? How spacious are your thoughts?
Here are a few possibilities to get you started.
1. STOP COMPLAINING. Sounds simple but it’s sooooo hard. No road rage. No griping about crappy weather. Not even an annoyed cringe when the barista pronounces your name wrong. It takes practice. Start small. Commit to a complaint-free zone for a day. Don’t complain out loud about anything. The more you intercept those negative thoughts before speaking them out loud, the more you’ll realize just how prevalent they are. The more you can let your thoughts pass by without judgment, the more at peace you’ll become.
2. DRINK MORE WATER. Specifically, drink warm lemon water in the morning as soon as you wake up. It’s refreshing, nourishing, and has a detoxifying effect on your body. It aids with digestion, helps clear your skin, and makes your body more alkaline, which some studies say can help fight off everything from the common cold to cancer. Give yourself some quiet time to sip warm lemon water in your favorite chair. Make it part of your morning ritual.
3. GET 8+ HOURS OF SLEEP. Arianna Huffington is the most famous and most vocal sleep advocate of our time. “Sleep, or how little of it we need, has become a symbol of our prowess,” says Huffington. “We make a fetish of not getting enough sleep, and we boast about how little sleep we get.” It’s terrible for us, this lack of sleep. In Thrive and in her most recent book, The Sleep Revolution, Huffington talks about all the ways that sleep matters and all the things we can do to get more of it. You’ll feel your best with eight or more hours of sleep every night.
4. TURN OFF YOUR SMARTPHONE FOR 12 HOURS A DAY. Practice the zen of disconnecting. Turn off your phone (not on vibrate – shut down!) for 12 hours a day. I was inspired by reading The Productivity Project to go gadget-free from the hours of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. This means I have two hours before bed and two hours when I wake to cuddle with my husband, take a walk in the park, do yoga, meditate, enjoy a cup of tea, play with my animals, listen to music, chat with my stepdaughter, read, color in my coloring book, stare out the window … live. Try it. It’s not an easy habit to create, but it will create a spaciousness in your day that will change your life.
5. TAKE MAGNESIUM. Did you know that 80% of us are magnesium deficient? This deficiency is linked to anxiety, depression, heart disease, hormone imbalances, sleeping problems, and low energy. Magnesium calms the mind and helps the body rest by contributing to the proper function of neurotransmitters that regulate relaxation. It’s absorbed best through the skin, rather than the stomach, and because of its calming effects, a nice way to remineralize is through a magnesium oil rub right before bed.
6. KEEP A GRATITUDE JAR. It’s really simple. Get a jar. Cut up some colored paper into 2-inch squares and put them in the jar. Whenever you feel like it, grab a blank square, write down the date + what you’re grateful for, fold it up, put it back in the jar. It’s not a daily chore (like a gratitude journal) … it’s just something you do when you’re feeling full of gratitude for something big or small. And when you’re having a tough day, when feeling grateful seems hard, reach into your gratitude jar and pull out a slip of paper. Let your heart open and give thanks.