Happy New Year!
Like many, I love the fresh start of a new year. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting over the last little while to try to decide what my resolutions will be this year. I love exploring different sources for creativity and inspiration, and a theme that keeps coming up over and over again, and one I am really latching on to, is the notion of self-care.
Self-care is unique to the individual so it really means figuring out what is right for you. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far about the components of my own self-care practice that I hope to implement this year.
This year, I’ve decided to cancel my gym membership and find different kinds of exercise that I truly enjoy. Some things I plan on doing are: walking my dog, cross-country skiing, hiking, at-home basement workouts (cardio, strength training, weights). I’ve also finally registered for my first yoga series at a local yoga studio that I can’t wait for.
I’ve decided to commit to cleaning up my diet for a few reasons. One, I’ve continued to struggle with ulcerative colitis and am hoping that by making changes to my diet, it will improve my symptoms and eventually put me back into remission. Secondly, I want to be in the best physical shape of my life and I know a huge part of that is eating properly. I’ve decided to try something different and have recently started the 21 Day Fix in hopes that a new program will give me the motivation I’ve been lacking. Finally, I know that eating healthy foods (and cutting back on the unhealthy ones) will give me more energy and help alleviate a lot of the fatigue I have been feeling.
As part of my new nutrition program, I am trying to consume more water on a daily basis. I find drinking out of a reusable water bottle helps me to get my daily water intake and also helps me to easily keep track of how much I’ve consumed.
MENTAL / EMOTIONAL
Besides its physical benefits, yoga positively benefits our minds helping us to become more mindful, release negative thoughts, and open our hearts to love, light, and peace. Yoga helps me to feel relaxed and helps me to slow down the rush of day-to-day life. I am really excited to get started on my yoga journey!
The main reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for creativity. While others may paint, dance, sing, or scrapbook, my creative outlet is writing. I think a lot and sometimes my brain feels overloaded with too many things. Journaling helps me to release some of the things I am thinking about which eases my mind. Furthermore, it allows me to express myself and reach out to others in a positive way.
As I get older, I find I crave a more simple and quietwe life. The drama, chaos, and negativity that thrive in the world, make me upset and make me desire a slower, simpler pace. This year, I intend to slow down my daily activities whether it’s my morning routine, driving, reacting to the choices of others, teaching, or just day-to-day tasks.
Until recently, I never truly understood the benefits of spending time in nature. Lately though, I’ve realized that being outside makes me feel overall more positive, calmer, happier, and more at peace. I’ve even found a new appreciation for our Northern Ontario winters. I’ve finally realized that fresh, outdoor air and quality Vitamin D is essential to my mental health. This year, I intend to spend more time outdoors by doing things like: walking (with friends, my hubby and my dog), hiking, cross-country skiing, skating on outdoor rinks, camping, and exploring the woods. When summer rolls around, I may even try canoeing or kayaking!
One of the places I love being the most is at home. Our house is small but it is cozy and it’s one place where I can (usually) fully relax. Most of the time, this happens in my favourite arm-chair, with a cuddly blanket. Nearby, you’ll find my water bottle, sometimes a coffee, the latest book I am reading, my Chapstick, my hand cream, my iPhone, and my iPad. Next to me, my husband is watching TV from the couch with our fur baby curled up beside him. Another favourite place in my home is my bedroom. I love the cozy weight of our duvet, the coolness of our pillows, the light pouring in from behind our white, gauzy curtains. On my nighttable, I have a simple statue of Buddha that helps me to feel peaceful before bed. I love long, slow mornings lounging in bed on the weekend with my husband and our dog, scrolling through social media, reading, or making plans for the day.
Of course, there is always room for improvement in our home. While I have some projects I’d like to see happen this year, there are a few simple things I can do to help make my home even more cozy. I’ve started listening to acoustic music when doing household tasks. I love lighting candles around my home. I love the greenery of dispersing plants throughout our house. I love having cuddly blankets and pillows. I am also considering putting up some white twinkly lights in my bedroom to help create a cozy, romantic, warm space.
There is nothing in life more important to me than the relationships I have. I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many special family members and friends. This year, I hope to cultivate those relationships even more by paying more attention to my loved ones’ needs and showing more kindness and appreciation where I can. I hope to stay in better contact with friends that live far away and to visit my three, precious nieces more often. There’s nothing that makes my heart feel fuller than time spent with those I love.
Parenting is a tough job, and I would argue that step-parenting is even harder, especially to two teenagers. That being said, this year I intend to practice more patience when it comes to parenting. I am a highly sensitive and emotional person that tends to react too quickly to feelings of stress, frustration, hurt, or anger. This year, I will pause and think before reacting to these kinds of situations. I will listen, not half-heartedly, but really listen to their needs and interests when they talk so that they feel the love and attention they deserve. In essence, I will be kinder and more loving to my children.
This year, I hope to practice being more mindful and fully present in the moments of my life. By slowing down my day-to-day routines, I hope to notice the small things that make life so pleasurable (example: the beauty of the snow-covered evergreens that line my route to work). Practicing mindfulness will also fill my heart with gratitude, faith, and love.
Yoga / Meditation
I am excited to learn more about yoga and meditation this year and hope to discover more about myself through the practice of both. I plan to explore some guided meditations and perhaps even create a yoga space in my basement surrounded by things that inspire and motivate me.
For me, light is both figurative and literal. Especially in the long, dark days of winter, spending as much time in daylight is crucial. It’s one of the reasons I always open the blinds in my home and in my classroom, and switched all my indoor supervision duties for outdoor ones. But light can also be figurative. For me the notion of bringing light into my life means to bring positivity and happiness ~ something I definitely intend to do this year!
At school each morning, our principal asks us to take a moment of silence to reflect on our day. Each day, I use that time to set some intentions for myself, for my students and co-workers, and for my loved ones. Recently, I have starting sharing my morning intentions via Facebook as a means of sending hope and light into the world. Also, by writing down my intentions, it allows me to reflect on them and express them more clearly.
Similar to my morning intentions, I sometimes share daily expressions of gratitude on my Facebook account. Again, writing these thoughts helps me to see them and feel them more clearly. But it’s also my intention to help others recognize the small, simple things in life that we have and to realize how very blessed we are.
What are your goals / resolutions / intentions for the New Year? Whatever it may be, I hope your year is filled with love, light, peace, and positivity! 💕