I know you’ve heard that everything is changing all the time, change happens, and there is nothing but change. But, many people are fairly resistant to change. So, here’s another way of looking at it. Change is life being rejuvenated in every moment. Or, change is you being rejuvenated in every moment. Yes, you have the opportunity to take the very next moment of your life and make it into something better than the last. And this can happen at any time.
Think about plants for a moment. As we know from looking at plants by a window, they grow toward the sunlight to get the nutrients they need from the sun. It is built into the mechanism of the plant to know how to be healthy and live longer.
Do you know what nutrients you need and how to get them so you are healthy? And, I’m not just talking about food. I’m talking about the nutrients of movement, connection, creativity, joy, laughter, kindness, community, work, play, and so much more.
This January has felt like a time of renewal and growth for me. I sort of feel like that plant leaning towards the sun. Personally, I have stretched myself to go for things that I was a little unsure about and found that I have grown in the process. I have upped my game on my food, making sure that I’m feeding myself appropriately so that I can function at my best. I’ve done my best to stay safe from COVID. And, as always, I work on patience and forgiveness—the two things that I need most to be a human being that I don’t mind living with.
What do you need for nutrients? Here are a few ideas—from the obvious to the more refined:
1. What are you eating?
If you have gotten into a fast food or processed food rut, you might not be getting the energy you need to meet the demands of your day. Take the time to make some home-cooked meals. I like to make a lot on the weekend, so I have it to carry me through at least part of the week. Fruit is easy to pick up and snack on and vegetables are easy to roast in the oven with a little olive oil. These types of foods will keep your engine running more smoothly.
2. Are you getting in nature?
Even if it is cold outside, layer up and take a walk. Getting outside and getting the sun in your face will help you just like the plant. Lots of research points to the mental health benefits of being among the trees and the sun, in addition to the obvious physical benefits of movement.
3. Are you having good conversations?
Emotional intimacy is key right now. We have been isolated from others and it can take its toll. Cultivate and maintain your friendships so that you have someone to talk to when you’re down and when you want to celebrate. We need each other, now more than ever. I often think about my closest friends and what I can do to make sure we have been connecting with one another. They are precious commodities in my life.
4. Are you getting enough sleep?
This is a big one for many people and you can read numerous articles about sleep hygiene. I would say make sure you get some exercise, don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon, don’t eat too close to bedtime, turn off the computer an hour before bed. And, if you still can’t go to sleep, lie there and rest and don’t worry about it. Worry is one of the number one reasons people can’t sleep. For that, I’ll suggest you take up meditation. It will help you with worry and so much more.
5. Are you moving your body?
Your body wants to move. Listen to it and respond by walking, stretching, strengthening, etc. Find a way to move that feels delicious. Find friends to move with. Find times of the day that you can schedule on your calendar for movement. Moving your body every day should be a non-negotiable priority – even if it’s for a few minutes.
6. Do you meditate or do yoga regularly?
I always have to recommend meditation and yoga. These two practices saved my life many years ago, and I have seen the benefits in thousands of others in my classes. If you need some help, find a teacher and a type of practice that you want to learn. Even if you are experienced, it helps to have a teacher—someone who is just a little further along the path than you are. These practices help you to listen to your body and heart and guide you along a journey of greater happiness and peace.
7. What qualities are you working on?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on patience and forgiveness. I find that these two attributes are ones that I need encouragement on so I focus on them regularly. I call them to mind during morning meditation and yoga practice. I remind myself throughout the day. Write down one or two qualities you would like to improve upon.
8. How can you stretch yourself this winter?
What area of life is calling on you to change? Is it work, play, friendship, love relationship, or creative endeavors? Pick an area and challenge yourself. For instance, maybe you want to learn to play a musical instrument or get better at the one you do play. Challenge yourself to practice every day for at least five minutes. Or maybe you want to get better at conversation, so challenge yourself to take a class or read a book on the topic and then practice with the techniques that you learned. The list is truly endless. And, if you are having trouble getting started on your own, think about hiring a life or executive coach. I did recently and it really paid off.
I hope this blog gets your juices flowing on what you might do to rejuvenate yourself this winter. It’s cold out there (at least where I am!) and a little encouragement to wake up and make something of this somewhat dreary time has been helpful for me.
Want some more ideas about mindful eating, loving your body, and living with joy.. read my book Savor Every Bite.