Boy, is it me, or is that really sometimes just a LOT of pressure…?
I don’t know about YOU, but I try to give myself some serious wiggle room at the first of the year. Following all that celebrating, it can be really hard to get back on track, even when there is nothing in the world that you want more.
What you CAN do is just allow yourself to take the new year slowly. Wow, oh yeah, right! (slaps forehead…)! One of the most beautiful things about January is that for the first time in quite a while, no one is in a hurry. Try not to expect overnight miracles. Be patient with yourself; let it happen.
BTW, I’m not suggesting that you continue the holiday gluttony, have low standards, or that you can or should be lazy. Just, take it easy! What’s the rush? Try to be the best you can be EACH DAY. No more no less. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
These are my 10 easy, comfortable, simple goals for January…
if you like them, play along!
How hard is that?
It is truly amazing how few of us actually drink enough water. No, you don’t have to do the “8 glasses a day” deal, but try, really try, to drink water all day. It is especially therapeutic to do so first thing in the morning. It is in fact, an ancient Ayurvedic practice to do so. “In Sanskrit, the name for the practice is Usha Paana Chikitsa, which roughly translates to “early morning water treatment.”
During the day, try to remember that more often than not, you are NOT hungry, you are just bored and thirsty. Did you know that by the time your body registers thirst, you are already dehydrated? And of course, everyone knows that your body is mostly made up of water (at birth, babies are approx 75% water!) so replenishing it is just a good idea.
Here’s what I tell my kids: “when the dishes are dirty, we wash them, when our clothes are dirty, we wash them…when you body is dirty, wash it.” Drinking water literally washes you clean, from the inside. Sweat it out, and you’ve done a little detox. Clean face? clearer, less-noxious excretions? Put more water in, and the cleaner you are FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
My secret? I drink bubbly water! LOVE it! And the tools I use to make it happen are the reverse osmosis filter on my kitchen sink, and a Soda Stream!
for filter info: http://www.amazon.com/Reverse-Osmosis-Storage-Removes-Fluoride/sim/B002LHDL7E/2
and Soda Stream info: http://www.sodastreamusa.com/?gclid=CJ6Bn-j7gbwCFYN_QgodODkA9Q
Everyone knows by now that it is important to get your metabolism up and running well in the morning. Here are just a few little tips about how you might want to do that. First, be sure to include protein in your breakfast (and be sure to EAT BREAKFAST). Ideas: eggs, sausage, bacon, yogurt with nuts & berries, turkey slices, toast with peanut butter, or even beans on toast (what do the Brits call that again?)
Also, try to do a little something athletic as literally , THE first thing in your day. For example: 5 push ups, or 10 jumping jacks, walk around the block, or even just jump up and down for a few minutes. Believe it or not, even a little bit like that will get your motor running and bring up your heart rate first thing.
I am most definitely not a morning person, and I am certainly not advocating waking up before the sun if you don’t have to. But, If you can, I recommend fitting in your exercise in the morning. I am just so much NICER after I work out (more blood to my brain etc. wipes away the morning grumpy). Me, I like to head straight to the gym for a class after I drop the kids off at school. Not everyone has that luxury of course, so if you can only fit it in after work, DO. You will feel so much better!
No, it doesn’t have to be a huge sweat-fest that burns thousands of calories and leaves you muscles bulging. But doing stuff feels good, so treat yourself! Take a 20 to 30 minute break everyday (or more if you can manage). Walk your dogs. Lay on the ground and stretch and twist. Try a new class at the gym. Ride your bike. Walk to work. Take the stairs. It all counts and it all results in GOOD. And you’ll find that if you start small, it’s easier to get stronger whereas, if you start too big, you’ll peter out fast. But either way, if you miss a day, or it’s tough for a while, don’t give up.
Yes, after the holidays this is difficult. Fffftttt. Most of us have let down our guard and our systemic yeast populations are thriving on too much sugar intake. And by sugar I don’t just mean See’s Candies (oh those are soooooOOooo good and evil!) but also, all kinds of grain, processed foods, and milk and juices too. It all breaks down to sugar in our systems.
Why is sugar so bad? oh geez. I’m just writing a little blurb here so I can’t get too into it. but so many reasons. Basically, it can very easily throw off the chemical balance of your delicate inner ecosystem. From Candida, to glucose intolerance, ADHD, weight gain, depression, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, hormone imbalance, fatigue, endometriosis, brian chemistry, diabetes, the list is sooooo very long!
So what I do is this: I simply start to make better sugar choices. One at a time. I can’t go cold turkey, but we can all make smarter choices. Honey instead of white sugar. Whole grain bread instead of those decadent holiday biscuits. Organic Blue Corn Tortilla chips instead of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Almond milk instead of whole cream. If you can’t give up the booze, try Vodka and soda instead of white wine or beer. It doesn’t have to be a huge change, just be conscious of your choices, and TRY…every little bit adds up to a well of good.
more info? here’s a great TED talk re “your brain on sugar:” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/how-sugar-affects-the-brain_n_4562173.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
5) Eat a Rainbow
My kids freak out when I say this. They say “what? there isn’t any PURPLE food!” But there IS! Like purple chard, purple cabbage, kohlrabi, purple potatoes…the list goes on! “Well, ok, MOM but I’m sick of eating chard! ” And truthfully eggplant is just kinda yucky. They say: “and there isn’t any BLUE food!” But what about blueberries? and blackberries? and boysenberries? Blue food is delicious!
The thing is, all the nutrition and vitamins and minerals that you need are right there in your food (assuming you are eating organic). It is fun and entertaining and creative to try to get all six colors into your diet each day! And then, guess what? you won’t feel as DEPLETED.
Now, my family went to a Broncos playoff game party the other day, and there was A LOT of orange food! and blue food too! But MOST of it wasn’t very healthy to say the least. So mind yourself, and don’t use the “Rainbow Rule” to eat Cheetos and goldfish crackers!
6) Eat Healthy Fats
Yay! Yes, you CAN! Let yourself eat avocados, bacon, butter, olive oil (raw), coconut oil, & macadamia nuts! “But wait,” you say, “aren’t those really fattening?” Oh, come on, after all the new studies and health info out there, you can’t still really believe that can you? That lowfat diet from a decade ago was a MISTAKE. Healthy fats are REALLY good for you. Just not in excess so don’t go “hog-wild!”
Avocados truly are good fats. According to the American Heart Association, “good fats are those that can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed in moderation. Avocados contribute good fats to one’s diet, providing 3 grams monounsaturated fat and 0.5 polyunsaturated grams fat per 1-oz. serving.
They are cholesterol- and sodium-free, and more than 50 percent of the fruit’s fat content comes from monounsaturated fats.” Plus, they make for really nice skin.
And you’ve heard the Omega-3 schpiele right? Ok, here’s the sum up:
“Omega-3 fatty acids may have significant benefits in lowering the risk of heart disease. They may also protect against depression, dementia, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in higher amounts in salmon, walnuts, and spinach.”
But here’s the key folks. You CAN”T have your cake and eat it too. If you decide to eat the healthy fats, then you really DO have to cut back on your sugars. Which would YOU rather have? Me, I pick BACON. And, butter is just better.
Wait don’t roll your eyes! It’s not what you think…I’m not saying you should be all hippy-trippy and go camping in the Mendocino Redwood Forsest without bathing or shaving for three weeks! No, just be sure everyday to take a moment. Take a moment to recognize that we are on planet EARTH. It really helps to keep perspective and to add a breath of life to your day to remember the GREEN things. Health is about BALANCE.
This can be as easy as taking a walk through your neighborhood and looking up and the canopy of trees. It can mean opening your car window while you are driving and breathing in the AIR. Try to listen to the birds outside your window in the morning. Or spend some time in your yard, pruning bushes, or picking a bouquet of flowers. If you work in an office building, maybe there is a fountain in the lobby or outside? Although not entirely “natural,” at least take a minute to listen to the running water. It may seem silly, but it is balancing. And calming. And that adds to your health and well-being.
Yes, this seems a bit airy-fairy new age. “What, you want me to sit and talk to myself?” YES. This is AGE old advice. Give yourself your own attention. It is a gift. How often do we have time for ourselves? So take a moment, either in the morning or evening, before or after a hard days work, to remember what you are here for. This can be the same moment that you are “getting back to nature” as they go hand in hand. Try to imagine your priorities. NO, this does not mean you will apply yourself more at work in order to make more money. Although it could mean you would like to apply yourself more at work in order to strengthen your abilities, learn something new, or maybe to allow yourself to be present and focus.
Intentions are different than dreams and desires. They are not wants or needs. Remember the bigger picture and focus on things that do the greater good. As my friend Dawn reminded me recently, “focus on your compass, not your clock.” The compass represents our long term life goals and what is REALLY important.
Some of the intentions I have set for myself so far this year (in addition to taking it slowly, and being patient with myself) have been to try to be more present and forgiving, to remember to treat myself gently, to do at least three things in a day that make me happy, and most importantly, I try to forgive myself….
You are NOT perfect. You never will be. That is OK.
There are so many nifty little sayings regarding this easy to say, but hard to do task. They all seem pretty cliche if read with half a heart. But to really hear the saying, and apply it, is the work. I love to follow the work of Byron Katie on facebook. Each day a new little one-liner that puts me in-line. Or another great inspiration for me is Marianne Williamson. But wherever you find it, remember to be kind to yourself.
10) Forgive Others
For me this is MUCH easier to do than to forgive myself because I’d rather take on the blame than place it. But for many the reverse is true. So much easier to point at someone else and say “YOUR FAULT!” Remember though, one finger pointed elsewhere is three pointed back at you.
My children do this often. “She made me spill my juice!” “Well, actually, no she didn’t. She walked by quickly on her way to the door. YOU spilled your juice, son.” When you are uncomfortable INSIDE yourself, it is no one else’s fault. Controlling the world around you to make yourself feel better doesn’t work, because ultimately, you will loose control. You can’t control other people or things. It is your stuff. Be in it. Be responsible for your own actions and leave others out of it. Forgive them for walking by too fast.
One NEVER knows what that person has on their plate. Try not to judge. In LA it is sooooo easy to JUDGE. Road rage is a prime example. “GEEZ, did you see that! That guy just cut me off!” Rather, I try to remain calm. It must be really important where they are headed. If so, God bless you on your journey. Please, go ahead. Maybe their father is in the emergency room having just had a stroke?…Be kind. Be patient. Forgive.
Oh wow, if only I could manage more often to do just that with my children! Ooooo they drive me to the very edge!
Believe me, this is not me preaching to you how to be perfect like me. Oh hell no. This is me reminding myself to do the work. Not just everyday, but literally every ten minutes or so, I try to take a deep breath and start again. 2014. Yep, I’ll be taking it one moment at a time with hundreds of thousands of mistakes in between that will present me with that many opportunities to do better. I know it will be an amazing year. Just as they all have been so far. Not always easy, but amazing certainly. This year, again, I will grow.
I sure hope you’ll join me!
Coby Dahlstrom (#mrsdrdahl)