Holistic Wellness in Austin, TX

New Year’s Resolutions: Six Reasonably Easy Things To Change So That Your 2018 is Magical

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Are you like most people?  You vow to make changes at the start of a new year but then by the time January is over you have gone back to your regular habits?  Then you’re normal, actually.  This happens a lot, which is why there are so many “New Year, New You” blog posts floating around at present.  It doesn’t have to be that way, though.  You can make exciting and fruitful changes in honor of the new year and you can make them stick.  What will help you most of all is if you are realistic in your goal-setting and consistent in your efforts.  Before you know it, things will have changed.  As I tell my clients–you just need to start.  And start again.  And one more time.  And so forth.  One foot in front of the other and before you know it, that journey of a thousand steps will be complete.

Here are my six top picks for my clients’ potential New Year’s resolutions.  Do you see any that apply to you?

(I).  Less online time…more outside time. 

If you really pay attention to how much time you spend online, latched onto your phone, and/or watching television, you may notice that life is passing you by and your world is getting small.  The size of a tablet small.  Or maybe you are a lot more anxious and wired lately….because you are on twitter all the time and political or cultural news is giving you an ulcer.  Is it time to unplug?

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Unplug

Unplug at least once a day

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A perfectly doable resolution is to have at least one short walk daily and to turn off all electronic devices for an hour a day.  Your brain will thank you.  Your legs will thank you.  You will thank you.  Just unplug, and see what happens.  Talk a walk, stretch out your muscles, and feel your tensions ease.  Make a bit of fresh air and a short period of no electronics a part of your daily practice and notice how much better you feel.

(II).  Read things that matter….be aware of and resist time-wasting avoidance-reading.

Do you zone out with junk reading? Now is a great time to choose to clear your thoughts and feed your brain with reading material that enhances your cognitive awareness.  Best bet?  Returning to something you touched upon in a college literature class, maybe, or something you’ve heard of, thought about reading, and never got around to starting.

The classics are classics for a reason.  They stand the test of time.  Honestly, if you commit to reading Dante’s Divine Comedy (I like the Mark Musa translation published by Penguin for non-specialists; Professor Musa has a great ear for language and this is a lively expression of the Italian author) or something equally wonderful (Cervantes?  The Greek classic plays?) then you are truly doing your brain and your life a favor.  Those texts are beyond wonderful.  But maybe you don’t love to read.  That’s fine too, but at least maybe try to make reading choices that enrich your spirit.  Garbage in, garbage out, right?

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Your bookshelf may vary

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Instead of tuning out via mass-audience online articles or not reading at all or reading things that do nothing for you, maybe you could revisit some of your youthful favorites.  Do you love the Harry Potter books?  Or is there a journalist or essayist whose work you enjoy?  I have a book corner, here, with annotated bibliographies; why not take a look?  Bottom line: if you opt to read things that nourish your brain, time will pass and before you know it, you are smarter and more interesting for having read well.  You get only one life, so you might as well fill your mind with beautiful things.  Right?  So pick just one new thing to read each month and give yourself permission to read a gift to yourself with the notion that enriching your brain is worth it and so are you.

(III).  Restructure the diet…eat things that truly nourish.

If there was ever a time to show your body all the due respect, now is it.  Are you ready to eat food that is good for you and, if you need it, to do some gut healing?  At our core, we all want to be healthy and comfortable within our bodies, no matter the size or shape.  Comfortable and at our best, whatever that looks like or is in silhouette.  The new year is a great time to revisit one’s dietary habits.

If it were easy to eat like a saint then everyone would and nobody would ever be overweight or suffer from things like chronic inflammation due to intake of too much sugar.  It’s not easy to eat like a saint, let’s face it.  The trick to it, then, is to be realistic about your schedule and habits.  Some people can meal prep once a week and it works for them.  Others need to pick one meal a day that is for sure going to be the virtuous one and work outward from that.  As a resolution though, why not commit to figuring out what you’re good at in terms of diet and what you could improve, and then working from there?

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Millet_for_Breakfast

Do you like millet?  I love millet.

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Find a go-to food or two that you know is really healthy and try to integrate it into at least one of your meals.  You don’t want to eat the same thing over and over; that’s boring and a great way to develop an allergy to the item in question.  Instead, pick something boring but incredibly healthy like millet and use it as a base food.  Millet is super nutrient dense, cheap to buy in bulk, and boring.  You use it as your background and it’s bland so it does work with anything from vegetables to meat or as a breakfast porridge.  Or make a good stew at the beginning of the week and be sure to have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand for other times of the day when you’re not about to sit down for the hearty meal that is the stew.  Whatever you do, have a strategy so that you don’t find yourself at Whole Foods, ravenous and tired and primed to convince yourself that the deli food plus a slice of cake from the bakery counts as healthy eating.  (Treats are fine, but inhaling preprepared food and following with dessert because you are hungry and tired can easily become a habit and that is not good for you at all).

Dieting and maintaining a disciplined approach to food can be very challenging.  If you need some inspiration and a few good ideas about eating, weight loss, and body image, check my essay, here.  If dietary issues constitute your recurring challenge, maybe your best bet is a health coach.  Think about it and then get going with your food situation.  One step at a time, and you can do it!

(IV).  Expand beyond the habitual…find ways to meet more people and see familiar places with new eyes.

It is harder and harder to make friends as an adult.  If you’re not busy with work you may be busy with a growing family.  If you don’t have a sense of community or a feeling of belonging, that can hurt your wellbeing on many levels.  There are things that you can do about feelings of isolation.  One thing is to take care of your body with modalities like tui na (see here if you would like to learn more about this traditional Chinese bodywork therapy).  Self care is so important when a person is feeling lonely.  Next step?  Getting out of the house and doing something new each week can be a way to meet others.

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ATX_library

Facebook screenshot: The new Austin Public Library and Hogwarts.  I do think that they look alike; don’t you?

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Me?  I am definitely going to check out the new library here in Austin during the month of January.  There are several museums that I’ve been too lazy to go explore.  I’m sure if I got off my can and did some digging, there are lectures at UT Austin that I’d love to attend.  What might you enjoy?  There is always something interesting to do if you choose to look at your surroundings with curiosity and interest.  Make it a habit to go somewhere new at least once a month.  Leave your habitual spaces and go somewhere else, with openness and enthusiasm.  You’ll be glad you did!

(V).  Declutter…keep what you love, release things that someone else might love.

This can be a tough one if you like to collect things or you have incipient hoarder tendencies.  However, a messy home creates a messy internal landscape too.  It really makes a difference when your living area is tidy and not cluttered.  If you really have a hard time with this one, take a look at this web site, here; the author of it is so friendly and nonjudgmental.

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Baggage

Cluttered environment, cluttered mind.  Tidy up and let it go..!

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If you have a really hard time getting rid of things then maybe try to figure out why this is so; armed with self-knowledge, is it available to loosen your grip just a bit?  And if not, can you at least maintain a tidy and orderly kitchen or workspace or bedroom?  Even jut one area of peace and lack of clutter can make a difference for your overall sense of calm, don’t you think?  Plus, if you are super virtuous and give your things to the Goodwill, you can experience the joy of knowing that someone else will love it and you are not losing something but, instead, sharing its loveliness with someone else.  Generosity is its own reward, right?

(VI).  Schedule, and maintain balance within it.

Before you know it, time has flown.  January becomes February, and February becomes March.  Blink and it will be September once again.  Have you been proactive or reactive?  It can be really challenging to plan ahead, especially if your schedule depends on other people, pets, or small children.  But even a loosely-conceived schedule can take a load of stress off your shoulders.

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Is it available to you to schedule a few things for each day at the beginning of the week?  Some aspects of your routine are going to be unchanging, like your commute to work or your work hours.  But during the time that you are not obligated, what will you do?  Sitting down and mapping out a plan that shows you were your self care is and where you can indulge in some reading or a visit to a new spot in town or a museum stroll…all of these things take a little extra effort to include.  If you can do this in a proactive way, your chances of following through with your lovely plans get better and more within reach.

There’s a lot going on in the world today and time rushes by so quickly.  Are you ready to pause, to reflect, and to make some mindful, sustainable change?  If you’ve read this far, I’ll bet you are ready.

I wish you a lovely, productive, peaceful, and healthy 2018!

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BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

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2hw.v2

Have you ever though to try traditional Chinese bodywork? At present, I offer tui na (similar to massage) and other ancient Chinese therapies, including cupping, gua sha, moxa, and more.  If you are looking for a holistic wellness consultant and coach, my services can entail short or longer term programs.  You are your own best investment, and when you take charge of your wellbeing you invest in yourself now and for the benefit of your future.

Two Hearts Wellness is a local holistic health and wellness outfit with a passion for all things nourishing, including but not limited to: joyful living, great food, art, and literature, and–of course–traditional Chinese medicine.  If you want to learn more about me, click here and do feel free to follow my blog and/or my Instagram, connect with me on Facebook, or contact me here to set up an appointment for personal training or health coaching services.  If you are interested in Asian bodywork therapy, click here to book an appointment online.

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