We’re entering a new decade. The new year serves as an excellent time to assess our lives, as they are now, and to commit to making small changes that can improve that which could use a bit of tweaking. We are the architects of our own lives. We get to design our hours, our mornings, and our days according to our own preferences, needs, and desires. What makes you feel blissful? What makes you feel your best? Look your best? What brings your joy? What do you want more of in life? What do you want to do more of in life?
We all want to lead vibrant lives, in good health, that bring us immense amounts of pleasure, safety, calm, bliss, and satisfaction. We all want to live in abundance. We all have a boundless amount to be grateful for, and by making small changes in our lifestyles, we can provide ourselves with even more to be grateful for.
Making small changes in your day to day life can make a big impact over time, in every realm of your life. What does it take to make life as rich and fulfilling as possible? Self care, hard work, self love, a dash of seriousness, some planning, and a dose of taking things less seriously. In this new decade, let us worry less, fear less, and continue to strive to become the best versions of ourselves, leading our best lives.
Here, a few key components to a balanced, satisfying, and abundant life.
If you have time to do anything, you can make the time to meditate. Practicing for even ten or twenty minutes at any point in your day will make an immense difference in every aspect of your life. Meditation has been scientifically proven to alter brain chemistry in ways that improve our well being, make us happier, calmer, and more productive. Meditating will put you in touch with yourself, others, and your surroundings. It will make you more compassionate, more centered, more brave, and more happy. It’ll even improve your sleep. If you enjoy silent meditation, more power to you. If not, use an App such as Calm or my favorite, Insight Timer. Each has a vast library of guided meditations. You can search by term (i.e. anxiety), listen to talks, and even fall asleep to soothing, dreamy fairytale-like meditations.
Whether you’re a gym-every-morning person, marathon runner, or someone who considers walking between the kitchen and the couch to be enough exercise, devoting time to movement every day is essential for mental and physical well being. If you haven’t yet found a form of exercise that works for you and your schedule, experiment with different classes and forms of exercise. You may find that you love yoga, strength training, sprinting, or pilates. My favorite form of exercise is walking—if you walk at least two miles a day, you’ll notice a great
improvement in your mental well being—and you’ll exert enough energy to sleep well, work productively, and enjoy the outdoors.
Most of us are pretty conscious—if not hyper conscious—about what we put into our bodies. There are so many diets and conflicting voices battling for attention in the wellness industry, that it can be easy to feel a bit lost as to what to actually eat and drink. An important thing to remember? Everybody is different. We all require different foods, in different amounts, in order to fuel and nourish our bodies.
You probably already know, basically, what works for you. An easy way to improve your eating habits further? Adding new, healthy foods into your current routine. Not only does doing so make your meals and days more exciting and literally flavorful, but introducing new foods into your weekly rotation will provide your body with new nutrients. Incorporating different products that you’ve been eyeing at grocery stores or cooking a variation of an enticing meal that you see while scrolling mindlessly through Instagram is a fun way to bring variation and pleasure to your life. Why not try a different protein or salad dressing on your daily lunch salad? Try a new vegetable with your salmon at dinner?
If you’re a green smoothie for breakfast person, why not try making something along the lines of collagen pancakes or a breakfast pizza? Getting tired of having the same salad at your desk every day? Try a warm slice of cauliflower pizza with some roasted vegetables. Our pizzas and flatbreads are versatile—you can make them into just about anything, and pair them with just about anything. Better yet? They’re made with clean, whole food ingredients, are low carb, and bursting with our favorite superfood, cauliflower.
We are what we eat, and every meal that we consume should be healthful and pleasurable.
Money can be stressful—especially these days—, but the truth is, there’s a lot of it in this universe and each of us deserves to make an abundant amount of it. In the new year, try different methods of making money (why not pick up a once-a-week shift at a place in town that you love, start that Podcast you’ve been ________, or finally design the line of handbags?). It’s also crucial to begin, if you haven’t already, to start saving some of that money. Yes, most of us love a twelve dollar cocktail—but making small changes in our daily lifestyles (shopping sales at the grocery store, buying one fewer pair of shoes per season, etc) can make a huge difference. Think of your savings account as a pleasure account—money that can be used for travel, a down payment on a gorgeous home, etc.
We as humans are social beings. In the wintertime, it can be all too easy to retreat into a deep state of hermeticism. What is more enticing than a cozy evening spent in pajamas eating your favorite meal, watching a movie, lighting some candles, and crawling into bed early when it’s cold outside? A lot of this is fine, necessary, and beautiful in the winter and every other season, but it’s also essential to spend time with loved ones. Invite your best friend over for an evening of face masks, roasted vegetables and cauliflower pizza, and Sex and the City, go to your parents’ house for a leisurely afternoon, take your S.O out for an actual date, or go to an event in town. If you’re a freelancer, take your computer to your favorite coffee place and co-work with a friend. As we get older, the notion of “going out” becomes less and less enticing—but social interactions and nourishing, humanizing, and grounding.
Ok yes, we are social beings, but we also need time alone to recharge, rest, and care for ourselves. Without loving and understanding ourselves, we cannot fully love or understand others. One of the best ways to learn to love yourself is by simply spending time alone, getting to know yourself and taking care of yourself. This may mean doing an elaborate version of your nightly skincare regime and going to sleep at 8PM, this may mean taking long walks by yourself, it may mean taking a two day road trip alone, it may mean cooking a beautiful dinner for yourself and enjoying it by, with, and for yourself, with candles lit and music playing. Being alone is something that a lot of people avoid—but if you provide yourself with some alone time, you’ll likely discover that you’re actually your own best friend.
Set aside time each day—be it twenty minutes or an entire day—to be alone. Use the time to treat yourself like royalty. It will improve your confidence and make you happier, more assured person.
Finding a creative outlet can be an incredibly gratifying way to enrich your life. If you don’t already have a creative job or hobby, experiment to discover a creative outlet that you enjoy. This may be writing, drawing, cooking, making beaded bracelets, decorating your home, working on a community mural, experimenting with collage, learning to play a new instrument, baking, learning to do Origami, sculpting, etc. There are so many creative outlets, and you’re bound to find one that you love.
Therapy, in its various forms
I’m a major advocate for therapy, and attribute it to saving my life. If you struggle with anxiety or anxiety-related disorders such as OCD, can be a bit depressive at times, or simply have a lot going on in life (and who doesn’t?), therapy is immensely helpful. You may need to shop around a bit for the right therapist—it’s as crucial and can be as tricky as finding the right romantic
partner—before you find “the one.” But when you do, you will not regret it. Therapy has so many forms. Movement can be therapeutic, talk therapy is incredible, creating things can be therapeutic, cooking can be a form of therapy, etc. Find something that works to soothe you, and stick to it.
Our bodies and brains depend on sleep. It’s the time during which our bodies repair themselves, rest, and prepare us for the next day. Good sleep is beyond essential for your well being and happiness. Try to commit to getting a full eight hours of sleep per night. Some tips for falling and staying asleep?
- Limit screen time before bed. Yes, scrolling through Instagram while lying under your weighted blanket before bed is a form of mindless fun, but it’s also a bit draining. Try turning your phone on dark mode if you can’t seem to put it down, and if you can, put it down and enjoy something like reading, meditating, listening to music, or stretching before bed.
- Herbs and natural sleep aids. Herbs and supplements like magnesium, Ashwaganda, melatonin, and valerian root can be immensely helpful in calming the nervous system and training your body to relax and sleep.
- Sleep in a cool-ish room, with warm bedding. The body naturally cools down while we sleep, so make sure that you’re bed is warm. A cool room can be helpful for some whose bodies run hot.
- Make your bedroom—and your bed—and oasis. Try to keep your bedroom serene, clutter-free, beautiful, and soothing. The bed should only be for two things—one which I won’t name, and SLEEP. The less time that you spend doing other things in bed, the more restfully you’ll sleep.
- Create a nightly wind-down routine. This may mean a hot cup of tea and some music, it may mean a skin-care regime, walk around the block, and some meditation, it may mean twenty minutes of simply lying in bed doing deep breathing exercises. Having an established, strict routine that you stick to will help your body and mind to recognize when it is time to sleep.
Perhaps above all, be grateful. Be grateful for those who you love, be grateful for your work, your home, your health and the health of those who mean the world to you. Be grateful for your eyes, your brain, your body, your strength, your beauty, your patience. Be grateful for your beautiful belongings, your favorite foods, your favorite cities to travel to. Be grateful for continuing to better yourself, be grateful for the fact that you are you. Be grateful for gratitude.