Rather than giving yourself a hard time about the New Year’s resolutions you might not have kept, why not focus on being a little kinder to yourself, your diet and your fitness by making just a few small changes and positive tweaks for the year ahead? They don’t have to be difficult. From bettering your breath to trying a new power herb and approaching your workout and closet with a new, mindful attitude, start now with our guide to the easy switch-ups that will lead to lasting change.
Make one small change to your diet
The Ayurvedic system believes that the best way to prepare for the year when it comes to diet is to go easy and make subtle changes. “So no sudden juice cleanse,” advises Ayurveda expert Anita Kaushal. “Instead, try fasting for just one morning, from when you wake until lunchtime [drinking water and herbal teas is fine], to give your body a digestive rest.” Also, rethink the way you drink water. “Don’t gulp water in a single breath and try sipping warm or room-temperature water with a slice of ginger. Not only does this boost your immunity, but it can also help relieve bloating and kick-start your metabolism,” she explains. “And do avoid ice-chilled water where possible, which is known to disturb the digestion and can lead to constipation.”
Invest in a smart sleep oil
New research suggests that a sleepless night can increase feelings of anxiety by 30 percent and have a negative effect on brain performance and memory. So taking time to focus on your sleep is not only physically good for you but also essential for mental health. A good starting point is turning to a new breed of intelligent aromatherapy oils to soothe a stressed-out mind. Anatomē’s Recovery + Sleep is rich in apigenin, a phytochemical that triggers the sleeping process in the brain, and frankincense, which is rich in terpene, a compound known to relax the brain. The best way to use it? “Apply two drops to the ears, massaging from the ear lobe up to the top of the ear, then the back of the neck and soles of the feet. These areas are key for absorption,” explains nutritionist Winder Ton. “Use every night and allow at least four to seven days to feel the benefit of the oil.”
Try a new meditation ritual that actually works
According to Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to spiritual guide, Shaman Durek, you can fast-track your health with this simple daily meditative ritual. “Lay on a mat, cross your right foot over your left, stretch out your hands and squeeze the palm of your hand while you say these words out loud: ‘I want to increase and optimise my health.’ Then breathe deeply for two minutes (set a timer for ease). Do this daily for a week, then increase the time to five, 10, 15 minutes, and ideally then you would reach an hour. Not only does this breathwork increase your cardiovascular health, it strengthens your heart and opens up your energy meridians. In addition, mental focus is increased, as well as serotonin, helping you feel good, boosting immunity and creating positive energy in and around you.”
Add an adaptogen
While scientists are only just starting to unlock their potential, it is now widely accepted that adaptogens bring balance to the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis (also known as the stress stem), which regulates communication between the brain and adrenal glands. These special herbs, mushrooms, berries, roots and spices contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and help to regulate the pathways that are connected to mood and feelings of anxiousness that often come from high cortisol levels. Ashwaganda, Cordyceps and Rhodiola are the power players to look out for and come in powders, tinctures and teas. “Ashwaganda is the most well-known and helps to prevent stress-induced fatigue and maintain energy levels, focus and concentration,” says Ali Miller, a Texas-based dietitian. “Cordyceps balances out blood sugars and boosts immune health, whereas Rhodiola is a mood influencer and is now known to help with depression and anxiety.”
Sculpt your body with your mind
There is far more to starting your workout than just the warm-up. In the same way you would get mentally ready for a business meeting, bring your focus to what you want to achieve from your workout – and don’t let your mind wander off to your to-do list or schedule. Rather than automatically signing up for the latest class to kick-start your regime, instead take a moment and have a conversation with yourself. Be strategic and work out what you like to do, what your true goals are and what you want to achieve. “If you’re honest with yourself, you can start the year off with a real chance of having the ability to stay on course, because you will have set your goals from a place of enlightenment instead of from your emotional self,” explains A-list trainer Tracy Anderson. Try adding a different type of exercise to your weekly schedule, particularly something that you wouldn’t normally do. If you are a devoted yogi, then try some personal training; if you are someone who only goes spinning, then try Pilates. Learning a new skill can be incredibly motivating and, often, results come quicker.
Cleanse your closet
“It’s important to remember that good vibes begin with your closet,” explains LA-based wardrobe shaman Colleen McCann (stylerituals.com). “I always advise my clients to cleanse their closet every season or during major markers in the year, such as the new year, a birthday or a full moon. Is your activewear shoved in a wrinkled ball? Then no wonder you haven’t been motivated to work out. Remove all the items from your closet and create ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘Release’ piles. Splitting clothing piles into categories not only brings a sense of organization to the cleanse, but can tell a bigger narrative about what’s happening in our lives. Has the ‘Release’ pile turned into a mountain of work clothing? Perhaps that’s speaking to a bigger message of being really ready to let go and make that next career move. Is the ‘Maybe’ pile taking over? Ask yourself, ‘Am I on the fence about a decision or perhaps have trouble making life choices?’ This exercise can push personal limits to a new and positive place of self-discovery,” explains McCann. Also, if you’re in to crystals, place them inside your closet, coordinating each crystal meaning with the energy you want to infuse into your clothing. For example, place rose quartz, which represents love, with your lingerie; citrine, the stone of business and personal power, near work outfits; and bloodstone, the talisman of good health and long life, near your workout wear.
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