As the holidays disappear in the rear view mirror and lonely trees litter sidewalks, menorahs and other holiday swag get stuffed into closets and boxes and the spirit of 2018 starts to fizzle...let us breathe. Now, as we collectively dive into a new year, let us breathe once more. It's easy to give in to the making of resolutions and personal revolutions and keeping up with the mania across social media. Some of it is so persuasive.
But, why not ask yourself what "you" want out of 2019? Who are you now? Who would you like to become? What is your reality? What are your dreams? What is your plan to begin to live them? For what are you grateful?
What do you believe? Whom do you miss and long to spend more time with? Which people, places or things make you radiate joy?
It's a lovely time to allow yourself to think on these things. Pontification is underrated. Intuition is an underused superpower. if you were to use yours, what might your intuition tell you? 2018 is water under the bridge. Perhaps it was a winner of a year. Maybe it was a doozy! Either way, it's over. The only way to go is forward. So here are some things to consider as you set sail for the new year and prepare for a beautiful journey...
1. Be the Master of Your Own Ship
It's always good to remember (especially at the top of a new year) that you are the master of your destiny. Your choices will shape your life. Your intentions will help guide you on the right path. Get in touch with those intentions and keep them in mind and close to you at all times. If you falter or lose your way, and your compass starts spinning, you can always get back by recalling your intentions or your Sankalpa. In yogic philosophy Sankalpa means "intention". It's your spiritual reason for doing what you do, and it can inform your body, mind and soul. The best part is that you decide what your intentions are. They can change from week to week or remain the same. The important thing is that you determine what they are and follow your heart's lead.
2. Go slowly
The world is fast, wired and things move at a "now, now, now" pace. Why not ease into the new year with grace, gratitude and purpose? Having respect for the process of things can really help you feel more grounded and present. Each day is a process. Each moment is an opportunity to move, rest, learn, teach, do, be and blossom. There are infinite possibilities that come with a new year, a new day or even a moment, but if we are speeding by on the road that is life as if on the autobahn, we miss the meaning, the metaphors, and the beauty that is all around. We starve the world of our gifts when we move too fast. Whether it is a smile, a laugh, a moment to listen to our loved ones, we cannot be present when we are always moving so fast. Easing into something new is also a great way to give your system an opportunity to regroup, recalibrate and remember what is important.
3. Reclaim your Health
This is something you can start at any time, but there's nothing like a holiday hangover to get you thinking about your health and the goals you hold dear. Okay, so you're up five pounds, feeling tired, maybe less than fit, not quite bikini ready or not even close. So what? Instead of self-deprecating and resolving to work out seven days a week until you look like Jennifer Lopez or drop doing it, why not self-appreciate instead? For what can you be grateful?
Maybe you endured some tough times in 2018. Perhaps you had a baby and can marvel at your own strength. Maybe you completed a semester, a tough job or worked extra hard at a marriage or did your best under pressure. Look in the mirror and thank yourself for all your hard work, tenacity, courage, kindness and then start to write down those intentions. You probably need more greens and more water in your diet. Everybody does. Maybe you really need to cut out the gluten, the greasy or packaged food because it doesn't work for you. Perhaps you need to remind yourself to get outside and walk. Listen to your body. What does it tell you it needs? It knows the truth. If you listen you will know, too.
4. Practice Self Care
Booking a massage, a facial, some acupuncture or a yoga class does not make your selfish. These things fit nicely in the self-care category. If you don't practice these rituals, no one is going to do it for you.
You've heard the saying that goes.."you can't pour from an empty cup", or "you can't love others if you don't love yourself." It's really the truth. Take care of you and then you can take care of others. Or take care of others first but don't forget to take care of you, too! You are going to be better at home, work, life in general if you feel good about yourself. So, if it's a weekly blowout, a mani/pedi, a few minutes of meditation, fresh flowers from the market, carving out quality time for a phone date with a friend, or face-to-face time with people you enjoy, be good to yourself starting now.
5. Listen to Your Heart
This seems obvious but so few of us actually follow our hearts or intuition. Most of us do what we feel is expected of us, or overextend ourselves. Assisting others is truly important and can actually help boost your health and sense of contentment, but not at your own expense. It's a balance. Stop saying yes to things you really don't want to do. Start spending time with people that truly do make you feel happy, understood and loved. Make it a daily ritual as you begin the new year. You will thank yourself.
6. Lower your Expectations
It's a good time to pause and give things a break. Usually at the top of new year people make resolutions, seal their expectations of themselves and others and become greatly disappointed by February. 2019 may just be the year to ditch some of your expectations and be pleasantly surprised when things work out well.
When we expect things to happen a certain way and they don't, it can be terribly depressing. When we put unfair expectations on ourselves it can be awfully oppressing. Begin the new year with a new mantra, "I will do what I can and not get hung up on the outcome." There are too many variables in life to control. It's not natural to force things or to know how everyone will act or expect people to do as we do and feel as we feel. Do yourself a favor and loosen the reigns on life. You just may get more than you ever wished for.
No one is advocating for you to sleep 2019 away, just to sleep enough hours at night that you actually feel rested when you begin each day. The winter months can be tough. Most of us could simply hibernate until May, but there are places to go, people to see, work to be done and we're all trying to make our mark, or at least get through the day. Without good sleep we can't do anything really well or enjoy doing it.
Half the world is sleep deprived, cranky, underachieving, and anxious. So many ailments are linked to poor sleep habits. So start the year thinking about how you might get more quality zzz's. Maybe it's meditation before bed, essential oils like lavender on your pillow, a bath, a book, a few minutes to reflect on your day, a cup of tea, some classical music, or some deep breathing. Nightly rituals can be great for both kids and adults. Don't skimp on sleep. Your life depends on it.
We live in a "more, more, more" kind of world. Chances are you have accumulated too much stuff. It's overwhelming! It may be time to purge. If you're scared ( I know I am), use the throw away, put away, give away method. Throwing away things that are old, damaged or bad energy frees up space in your life for good things to come. Putting away things in storage bides you time to decide which things are keepers. Giving away things is a great way to lighten your load, lessen your mess and help others.
There are so many people in need. Parting with things that you are not appreciating or using will help your home environment and your head space. Simplifying doesn't just come down to your living space. A new year is a new opportunity to make space in your heart as well. If there are people who don't bring you joy, maybe it's time to step away.
You can also simplify your meals. Start meal planning and meal prepping. Hire a health coach, or a house cleaner. Make your to-do lists reasonable. It's ridiculous to think you can do three thousand things in a day. Just because you can multitask your face off doesn't mean you should. Being present with people you love can enhance your quality of life tenfold. Simplify your products. Try going green. You might simplify your skincare with less toxic products. Think quality over quantity in every area of your life and notice how much better you feel.
9. Just be you
You've heard the expression, "Just be you because everyone else is taken?" Right? Ain't it the truth? If you've been trying to be someone you're not, or putting pressure on yourself to be perfect, make this the year that
you stop that cycle of insanity, because nobody is perfect. Even if it looks like they are. They're not! And neither are you, so that takes the pressure off all that. Perfection is like a unicorn. The vision is so fantastical, but it doesn't exist.
Move on and make self-love a warm robe in which you warp yourself. The more "you" you are the more you will attract the kind of people you need in your life, and the better you will feel in your skin. So do what you love, and be with those who appreciate you for you. Worry less about what others think and you will feel more liberated and brighter all year.
10. Begin Again
It's true that a new year is a perfect time to start new. But what people forget is that each day is a chance to begin again. Every morning is s fresh opportunity to right your wrongs, forgive yourself, forgive others, do better,
feel better or just be in the most authentic way.
New breath leads to new energy and new experiences. It's as if you get a free do-over every day. Take advantage of that. If yesterday was steeped in negativity, make today positively positive. Smile. Breathe. Practice gratitude. Revel in joy. Call a friend. Help someone in need. Cry if you must. Make peace. Give love. Make music. Eat better, dress better, or take a day off. Get some rest and have a cookie.
As 2019 gets rolling, remember that so much of life depends on your outlook, coping skills, the energy you send into the world and the way you treat yourself and others. Remind yourself that the universe is on your side, that you've got this and when it feels like you truly don't....just breathe in, breathe out and begin again.