With the holiday haze of stress and overindulgence nearly behind you and the dawn of a New Year in your sights, the possibilities are endless when it comes to redefining yourself for 2014. If you're like the majority of Americans, you'll spend some of today and tomorrow reevaluating your lifestyle and determining where you'd like to focus on improving yourself, whether it’s emotionally, physically or socially.
As you embark on a new year and a new you, successfully reset your lifestyle with the following countdown to health, wellness and happiness.
10, 9, 8 – Relax, Unwind, Take a Break
The common mentality for approaching New Year’s resolutions is to hit the ground running full speed ahead as you sprint toward fulfilling your goals, ambitions and visions all at once. And, if you're like most, you'll quickly burn yourself out and abandon your goals before the second month of the year rolls around.
If you're really committed to resetting yourself for the New Year, then it's important to take a more gradual and methodical approach to accomplishing your goals by including downtime and relaxation into your plans. Taking regular breaks from the stress and responsibilities of your daily life can help you stay mentally and physically strong as you progress toward meeting your goals and turning your dreams into a reality.
“We can get so wrapped up with everything that’s going on around us that a lot of us don’t close our eyes until we go to bed at night,” shares Brittany Valdes-Pages, massage therapist at Elements Centennial. “Try to remember to take five minutes out of every hour of the day to stop, take a few deep breaths and just breathe life in.”
7, 6, 5 – Keep the Flame Inside Alive
After surviving the busy holiday season, you may be lacking internal motivation and dedication. To ignite your internal energy for the New Year, focus on what makes you happy, what drives you to succeed and what motivates you to become a better person.
If you’ve lost contact with some of your favorite friends during the holidays, re-kindle those friendships by making a point to reach out to them during the start of the New Year and reconnect with your loved ones. Or, if your fitness program took a break during the holidays, pull it out of hibernation by trying new classes, workouts or routines. The New Year is a great time to discover fun and new activities you might enjoy, while igniting the fire in your belly that can help fuel your overall success.
“Make a list of things you think would be fun to do, not just things you have to do by the end of the year,” advises Kayla Spicer, massage therapist at Elements Wilsonville. “Lists are a good way to track all of your little milestones and be proud of them.”
4, 3, 2 – Prepare to Take Care of You
Taking care of yourself is a basic, simple concept that everyone knows they need to do. But actually following through on establishing a healthy lifestyle may be one of your hardest challenges this year.
The first step to overcoming the common obstacles of taking time and not feeling guilty about focusing on your self-care is to educate yourself on what your personal needs are and finding easy, yet effective, solutions. To help jump start your journey to taking care of yourself both mentally and physically, Valdes-Pages shares some of the following simple techniques that everyone can weave into their daily lives as soon as the New Year arrives:
- Change Your Mindset: If you struggle with being able to make a commitment to taking care of yourself for you, then commit to establishing healthy habits for your kids, spouse or job. You can’t successfully take care of your responsibilities in the long term if you leave yourself out of the equation. So, reset your approach to motivate yourself and adopt a happy and healthier lifestyle.
- Stretch it Out: Stretching is a great way to start and end each day. It feels good and it can help your body prepare for and adjust to your daily activities like driving and sitting at a desk. When combined with deep breathing, stretching also can be a good mental release.
- Heat it Up: Soaking in a hot bath or applying heat to the tense areas of your body at the end of the day can work wonders for relaxing and winding down both your mind and body.
- Schedule Wellness: Make a commitment to take an hour out of every month to schedule a health and wellness appointment for things such as a massage, meditation or yoga. Wellness isn’t a luxury, it’s part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, preventing injuries and illness, and it’s necessary for your overall wellness.
“I see clients who are working themselves to death, they have kids and they have a bazillion things to do,” reflects Valdes-Pages. “It’s important to realize that you can’t take care of all the people and things in your life if you don’t take care of yourself first. Make taking care of yourself a priority. Massage can be a part of that, but it’s more. It’s a way of living, it’s a way of thinking and approaching life.”
1 – Have Some Fun!
You’re never too old to party like a rock star on big nights like New Year’s Eve. But, after the champagne bubbles fizzle out and the last streamers fall to the ground, having fun on a regular basis should continue to be a highlight of your life. Whether you enjoy spending time with friends, participating in sports competitions, traveling, or playing games with your family, make it a point to enjoy the big and little events that are in store for you in the New Year. After enjoying tonight’s New Year’s Eve bash, continue having fun with a happy and healthy lifestyle for months to come.
Cheers to a new you in the New Year!