New Years resolutions—about 45% of Americans make them, but only about 8% are successful in keeping them. I don’t usually make resolutions because within the first few weeks, I am part of the 92% that forget what my resolutions were.
This year, I have decided there are 10 things I will try to be more consistent about doing—let’s call them “my guidelines.” These are simple things that I know make me feel and look better, and the best part is they don’t cost anything (okay maybe the leafy greens will cost a little).
1. Breathe deeper—I know when I get stressed, I take shallow breaths. The lack of oxygen tends to leads to more anxiety. This year, I will take long, deep, diaphragmatic breaths as often as possible. Deep breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure. Take a breath.
2. Drink more water—drinking adequate amounts of water per day prevents dehydration, which can make the skin look dry, tight, and flaky. I just bought a new water bottle and I am going to keep that water bottle filled and handy.
3. Break a sweat—sweating promotes elimination of dirt and toxins from the pores, leaving you with clean, healthy skin. Ayurveda, India’s system of traditional medicine, suggests that we sweat at least once every day to stay healthy and keep all the systems in our body functioning the way they should. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact way to break a sweat (even in subzero weather) while showing your Minnesota mettle.
4. Eat more dark leafy greens—crucial to good health, these plants are filled with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals, as well as fiber. Kale chips are especially delicious!
5. Laugh more—laughter is contagious for good reason, a good laughs relieves physical tension and stress, releases endorphins and even boosts your immune system.
6. Sleep—there is truth in the phrase “beauty sleep.” A good night’s sleep allows the body to repair and renew, as well as increases our intellectual function the next day. A good eight hours is a staple.
7. Let IT go—whatever “it” is for you (for me it’s little things that make me crazy or really don’t matter in the scheme of things). “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” –Tao Te Ching
8. Dance—and don’t be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor. If you wait for some one else to go first, you may miss your favorite song. Worse case scenario: you lose weight, stay flexible (physically and mentally), reduce stress, and even make some new friends. If you’re not a night owl, try out a Zumba class.
9. Sing—loudly, even if you don’t know the words. Singings improves your mood, makes you breath deeper (see #1), and potentially boosts your immune system. La, la, la…
10. Let someone know how much you appreciate them RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait—you may never get the chance again. As Clarence the angel in training in It’s a Wonderful Life said: “Each man’s life touches so many other lives.” Why not tell those around you how much they mean to you whenever you have the opportunity. It really is a wonderful life!
Happy New Year to you and yours and may it be filled with light, love, and laughter.