New Year’s Resolutions for Physical and Emotional Health
In this fast-paced world, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. As we stretch ourselves thin to meet the demands of work, family, and friends, it can feel like there’s not enough time for anything else. This year, find time in your routine for one new thing. It will be well worth the effort.
Start a personal project.
Is there an instrument you have always wanted to learn? Is there a story waiting to be put on paper? Have you always wanted to learn how to code? What is something you’ve been putting off until you have more time?
This year, find that time. Pick a specific spot on your schedule: Wednesday afternoons, Sunday evenings, whenever you can devote yourself to your project.
Caught up in routine, we sometimes feel like we are stagnating. That is why personal development is so important, even as an adult. Learning engages every part of the brain: curiosity, creativity, language, motor control, emotion, memory, and cognition. Though it may go by the wayside, skill development is one of the most powerful forms of self-improvement.
Fix your sleep schedule.
Do you have a hard time falling asleep, waking up, or getting going in the morning? Do you struggle with sleepiness throughout the day? Certain changes can get your sleep schedule back in alignment.
To fall asleep, establish a regular nightly routine. This helps your body ease into sleep. Cut out caffeine after midday, and go to sleep on an empty stomach. Eating before bed can have a similar stimulating effect to caffeine. Another stimulant to avoid is electronics. When you stare at your phone, computer, or TV, the blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s midday. Putting screens away will help you get to sleep.
Natural light is the best thing to wake up to. It naturally signals the body to be awake and alert. Of course, during the dark winter months, you may need to use the second-best option: a full-spectrum artificial light.
There are also things you can do throughout the day to improve your sleep. Your overall health contributes to your stamina. Healthy, pesticide-free food is easier on the liver and kidneys, and provides all of the nutrients the body needs to sustain itself. Regular exercise strengthens the heart so it isn’t overworked by normal activity.
Overall, the most important ingredient to a successful sleep schedule is routine: getting up and going to bed at the same time each day.
Eat (at least) one home-cooked meal per day.
Challenge yourself to prepare something wholesome and delicious once every day. If you live with others, see who might be interested in a meal schedule. Each of us has probably had enough fast food and frozen food for a lifetime. We forget how fresh, healthy food can tantalize the taste buds while it nourishes our bodies. Browse our recipes for inspiring, delicious, and easy-to-prepare ideas using organic whole foods.
Make time for quiet reflection.
One truth about contemplation is that it cannot be forced. The mind must be relaxed, not stressed or upset. Listening to music, walking in wilderness, drawing, even reading can pave the way for deep thought. These relaxed times are an opportunity to get to know yourself and to explore your life from a new perspective.
Contemplation is how we reframe our thoughts, taking stressors out of their emotional context and reexamining them. It’s how we unwind the tangled messes in our lives and find solutions. It’s also how we self-reflect, stepping back and learning about ourselves and our relationships from a distance. These times of quiet reflection are the key to emotional health, and should be a part of every single day.