New Year, New Mindful Practices
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, try incorporating new mindful practices into your daily routine instead.
At the end of each year, I always begin to think about things I’d like to get done and achieve in the new year. And each year, I hardly ever achieve everything on my list. Though, I don’t exactly fail at them, I just never know what the days are going to throw at me throughout the year.
These unpredictable events (like COVID) can really hinder progress and prevent you from achieving some of the goals you set out in your resolutions.
So, this year, I thought about ways I can focus on other life goals and achievements which are less likely to be impacted by whatever life throws my way. I’m calling these mindful practices.
These mindful practices can be anything from incorporating a 30 minute walk into your daily routine, starting yoga or meditation. Or perhaps it’s something less yogic and taking up a cooking class, or learning how to make candles.
Either way, these mindful practices are designed to replace new year resolutions, helping you to make more time for yourself in the coming year, develop better relationships with others, and specifically with yourself. Yes that’s a thing. I find these are far more achievable to set as yearly goals than placing them under the title of new year’s resolutions, which often get lost in translation along the way, the busier and more stressful the year begins to develop as the months pass on.
But what is the meaning of mindful practices?
Mindful practices are how we recharge and renew the physical soul, to prevent from exhaustion, being over tired and burnt out, and help prepare your mental and physical state for whatever life throws at it.
Full disclosure here, I am obviously not a yogic professional and nor am I qualified in any wellbeing practices. However, I can speak from a lot of my experiences, from lessons learned the hard way, and from my yoga journey of now nearly 10 years.
Modern life doesn’t always allow for time for mindful practices, as with each passing day as routines become more hectic and a busy life leaves us with less time for ourselves than we wish, we begin to lose our grounding foundation to the earth (as the yogic saying goes), making us more flippant and airy, drifting off up into the clouds. Without earthing ourselves our minds wander, our senses and self control become lost and we find our physical self begin to separate from our mental self.
Incorporating mindful practices means, the two (the physical and the mental self) remain in tune and together. for better overall health and wellbeing.
To keep things easy and simple, I rounded up 6 of my favourite mindful practices I like to enhance on and develop each year to help you begin a new year’s resolution of not having new year’s resolutions, and developing more mindful practices instead.
Listen to your inner self:
Get away from social media. I set myself boundaries on my phone. This means my Do Not Disturb switches on from 8pm every night and then turns off at 8am every morning. Unless I am physically using my phone, from 8pm to 8am, I get no notifications no texts, no calls nothing.
For emergencies, you can set up favourites in your contacts (if you have an iPhone), so if someone from your family needs to reach you the call with come through.
This has done wonders for my mental health, as it means, I don’t see anything on social media come through specifically at a time when I should be unwinding and taking care of me.
Okay, so I don’t exactly eat bad, but I could absolutely improve. Each year I tell myself something to do for the whole year and then continue into the next year, but also add something else into that to focus on that for the year as well. last year it was increase my green vegetables.
So, I start my day with a green juice (homemade of course) which I have before I do anything else like eat breakfast, have a coffee, anything. This means, I am starting my day eating half of what we should be eating when it comes t green veggies daily, and the rest can be taken care of daily for lunch and dinner.
In 2021, my goal was cut back on sugar, and for most of the year I did actually do that. Though I kind of crashed and burned this Christmas and New Year and indulged in way too much sugar. So I will be doing that again this year. And, I will also be trying to cut back on refined flour this year. Even gluten free refined flour. No more.
Practice more yoga:
This may or may to work for you. If you don’t do yoga, perhaps this is the year you start. Or least try out some meditation, which will absolutely help you take stock of both your mental and physical health. However, yoga kind of helps with other great health things as well.
Although I do yoga 3 times a week, unless something comes up or I’m not feeling great and need to cancel out of a class, this year I will be making more of an effort to incorporate yogic practices into my daily routine.
This will be at least 10 minutes of stretching in the morning and night. Regular meditation practices, which don’t have to go for a long time. Even 30 minutes a day is easily achievable. All it takes is a break in whatever I am doing, find a nice spot to relax and then meditate. And there are some great apps to help you do this so you can properly practice.
Manage negative feelings better:
When you acknowledge and accept feelings that rise up, rather than making rushed decisions to resolve, change or fix them, we become less in tune with our emotions. This make us disconnected to how we respond to these negative emotions and less likely to deal with them and move on from them.
I learned a lot time ago how to best, deal, accept and acknowledge all sorts of feelings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get the better of me. Especially as the year passes on. This year, I will be taking stock to manage this better all year long, instead of just the first half the year.
Accepting negative feelings better and acknowledging them as us just being human and often responding instantly without thought in times of stress, means we can be better equipment at what life throws us. Particularly when we need to support someone else, or respond to someone wo is directing negative energy towards you.
Take a stroll:
It’s actually real easy to incorporate a quick walk into your daily routine. In-fact, all it takes is 30 minutes a day. If you find 30 minutes of meditation is just not your thing, then perhaps taking a 30 minute stroll through a park, around your block at work or at home, or along the beach (if you live nearby) can be just as rewarding.
Nature, even the smallest amount of it if you live in the city, can be so soothing you are tired and stressed. And I always find my mind settles and my body relaxes when I spend an easy amount of time wandering through nature. Eve if it’s just a stroll around my block at home, the gardens, the dogs, the cats, the birds in the trees. The sounds of the wind. Despite all the manmade structures, nature is still around us, from the earth you walk on, to the sky above you.
Last year I was supposed to incorporate walking into my daily routine, and I let my busy routine get the better of me. So this ear, I will be starting again to get up early in the morning before the summer heat, and taking a stroll around the block to start the day.
Pace yourself and take it slow:
When things start to pic up after the new year, it’s easy to find yourself going from 0 to 100 in seconds. Literally. in 2021, we came out of lockdown in Sydney so close to Christmas, that there was no subtle transition from being locked away to being social again, and by the time Boxing Day came around I was absolutely exhausted. And so was everyone else I spoke to.
And why? For what purpose? What were the benefits of running around all crazy for the 3 months after lockdown to Christmas? There is no answer. Simply out, there is no excuse for it and no good reason for doing it. It’s best to pace yourself and remind yourself that there is always tomorrow.
After taking a much needed break over Christmas, I came to the conclusion, it’s not enough. Of course, I work for myself, so it’s easy for me to make that decision. I’ve decided to take some time off again towards the end of the month, and then tae a few days off for myself every month thereafter. And although I am sort of back into the swing of things with work, I am pacing myself, working half days, so not to exhaust myself within the first week.