Several years ago on a cold day in early January, I got up early to work out. The gym was packed. I went up to the front desk to chat with the owner until a treadmill became available. The owner assured me, however, that by mid-February, things would resume back to normal: “Jana, most people break new year’s resolutions about exercise.” Sure, I thought, but not everyone. Some people do actually keep resolutions.
It reminded me of a stark remark made by a professor when I was in grad school and had two young children. “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Times were hard. Money was tight. My husband was the only one employed. And it was challenging to find time to study.
We know the basics of good health. And it’s not so much that we can separate physical health from mental health from soulful health because they are ever interrelated. This year I’m concentrating on these things…
NATURE: I want to be in the green, to sit outside and eat a sandwich, to take my dog for more walks, to go hiking more and enjoy the beautiful weather in the San Antonio area. Researchers from Arizona State University found that setting aside just 20 minutes a day to stroll outside and get some sun exposure or sit in a place that puts you in contact with some aspect of nature can significantly lower your stress hormone levels.
SLEEP: I simply must reduce screen time. Have you ever opened Pinterest or social media, and then looked up to discover that three hours of precious time had passed? I want to integrate a sleep ritual, listening to Enya’s peaceful lovely music. Good sleep is essential for overall health. A good night’s rest offers so many benefits. Adequate sleep can increase productivity, improve mood, boost the immune system.
JOURNALING: Freewriting is never really free because it takes you somewhere. Journaling is a practice I often recommend to my clients. It is discovery. It can help the writer find answers.
MINDFULNESS and MEDITATION Anxiety can nag at anyone, and it can be easy to let the idea of the future or past experiences inform your reality of the present. Mindfulness means doing everything you can to be grateful for what you have in the moment, where you are in life.
MINIMALIZING: I have too much stuff, and I’m going to declutter. I want to be less consumeristic.
And one last one…for us all…
Think about what you resolve to do, to be in 2023. Start slow and create a Plan of Action.
It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. Happy New Year.