The holidays are full of friends and family, yes, but also of lots of yummy food and drinks. Spending time with friends and family has a restorative effect, but over-indulging in sweets, rich holiday foods, and maybe a tad too many cocktails certainly does not. This time of year is full of New Year’s resolutions, cleanses, and all sorts of other ways to ‘jump start’ 2016, but I don’t think it needs to be that complex. Some simple self reflection, time to recharge and simple self-care go a long way– resolutions optional!
Maybe I’m a bit sentimental as it’s the end of the year, but I love to reflect on all of the experiences I’ve had, and the time spent with loved ones. Time goes by so quickly and it’s often easy for me to forget how much I’ve actually done, so it’s a nice way to help me realise my accomplishments and learn from any mistakes. I try to write in my journal at least once a week, both to help me process things, and because I know I will love to look back through years from now and remember what I was doing and how I was feeling- especially during this exciting time of going to grad school and living in London. When it comes to looking back at the past year, though, I’m not quite as concrete– I love to look back through the year in photos. I often find a picture can transport me far more effectively than a memory, and to be honest I take far more pictures that I write journal entires. It was so much fun to look back through this past year and remember all of the things I’ve seen and done- from visiting the university where I did my undergrad, to seeing friends for weddings, writing my first blog post, and moving to London! It’s really amazing how much can happen in 365 days.
When it comes to getting back to my normal routine after the holidays, I’ve found the key is to ease back in. For the past month and half I’ve been doing a 90-day yoga challenge, which I continued over the holidays, and somehow managed to squeeze in a few runs, but a stomach bug and a very late New Year’s Eve definitely got me off track a bit. Rather that adopting a set plan, which may work for some people, I prefer to make my own. Lots of veggies, fruits, and whole grains are one way I try to regain some balance– while they are pretty much always present, during the holidays I definitely indulge in more sugars and simple carbs (bread, i love you) than usual, which leaves me feeling a bit sluggish and less focussed than usual. And while I still enjoy a cocktail, I do give myself a few days where I replace a cocktail or glass of wine with some chamomile or ginger tea.
I know this is not a definitive ‘system’, but it is exactly because of this that I love it! I’ve found it’s a lot more sustainable as well, after all, eating lots of veggies usually leads to a desire to continue eating lots of veggies, and having a few days a week without a glass of wine is never a bad thing. It’s also nice not to be tied down to a set system, as its all too easy for me to become obsessed and feel guilty if I fall short one day. If, however, you absolutely love a week-long plan to help you fall into a healthier pattern, than go for it! I think the best way to start feeling like your best self is to listen to yourself and what you need, which is true any time of year.
Happy New Year! I hope it’s filled with lots of fun and happiness!