As we enter the month of March (can you believe it, we’re already a quarter into the new year!), do you still have new years resolutions that you’re hedging on? Or do you make resolutions throughout the entire year? I fall in the latter category since I tried the other approach and all of my resolutions that I determinedly made in January, drifted away just as decisively. Whether you take the passive approach or you steamroll through your ambitions, starting off fresh in the new year is a great way to begin the year.
A new year brings new changes. Changes can bring fear for some but if you look at it in a positive way, then changes bring a chance to do better in any aspect of your life. Whether you are a child or a grownup, make this new year a chance to make positive changes.
As I look around me discovering new concepts and ideas, I found some very interesting tips along the way. I wanted to share with you the latest trends that can help make your life simpler and better. This year’s theme centers around minimalism. By now you’ve probably heard or read somewhere about the new book by Marie Kondo, and the simple act of tidying up. Simplicity and minimalism benefit various aspects of our lives, from our homes to our fashion to our work. And in the end, the accumulation of minimalism helps simplify our life by looking at what we truly need rather than what we want.
Mindfulness – an ancient approach that originated in Buddhism. The act of mindfulness is to be wholly aware of the present moment. This approach applies to everything around you, such as the food you eat, your school work, and even your workload at your job. The idea is to be in the moment and to focus solely on what you are doing. Monks practice this approach when meditating so that their mind and body are as one. Mindfulness is a great practice for children as young as 5 years old. This helps train them to be more focused and to later transcend what they see and know into a higher learning.
Minimalism – the act of minimalism is the necessity to reduce things and to live with less. If someone asks you, “what can you live with if you only had 10 things in your life?” would you be able to answer that honestly? Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. When we have less materialism then life tends to bend towards more freedom. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have materialistic things. But just ask yourself the sage old question, “if I leave this in the closet for 3 months, will I miss it? Will I even think about it?” If not, then chances are you don’t really need it to begin with. Children are seemingly the opposite of minimalism. What they see and hear are typically what they want in their lives. But if we as their parents, and adults, practice minimalism, then we can show our children the pitfalls of having too many things.
Self Care – when it comes to caring for ourselves, we often end up getting the shorter end of the stick. Especially if you’re a parent, your life gravitates around your children as they can be the center of everything in your life. But at a certain point in time, your own self can wither and wilt, leaving you tired and drained and not too happy. Take care of yourself on a daily basis. It might be effortless for some while others struggle to even get 10 minutes of peace and tranquility. Self care includes reading a really good and engaging book; taking a long, warm, and soothing bath; or taking a walk through nature and enjoying the silence and sights around you. Self care will invigorate you and bring you back to a better place.
Journaling- when you think of journaling, does it take you back to your middle school days when you write about all the things that happened in the week or day? Journaling is a therapeutic approach to release stress and worries because of the psychological effect of hand to paper. It’s a way of releasing all the feelings and thoughts in our heads and leaving them onto paper where no one else can see it if we choose for them not to. Writing down our thoughts is a secret way of saying something without hurting others or ourselves. The steps to journaling are: Find a routine. Focus on feelings. Take 15-20 minutes each day to write something down. Try a prompt if stuck on what to write. Use a journal or computer. Keep your writings safe. Children can benefit from journaling when they are stuck with something they don’t know how to do and writing things down can help them process the steps to accomplishing their goals.
Sustainable – the act of sustainability stems from using what we have and not needing more until we’ve used it up. But to truly be sustainable is to find out what we really need, and not want we only want. Sustainable can be anything from using cotton napkins instead of paper ones, or using glass containers instead of plastic ones that can eventually warp and get thrown away, to growing our own vegetables and fruits for a fresher and safer consumption. Try simple practices of sustainability by removing the overuse of plastic in your life one step at a time. Or buying products that are self-renewable such as bamboo and using more solar powered products.
Reducing – Ah, reducing. That word seems to be on trend everywhere you go, every page you read, and from headlines splashed throughout the internet. When I teach my students about environmental issues, I try to challenge them to go beyond the basic act of recycling and actually try reducing. Reducing really could be a simple act to do as long as you evaluate what you truly need in life. Reducing certain areas in your life can help reduce stress and save you money. Simple acts of reducing ideas:
*Unsubscribing from email newsletters or not subscribing at all unless it’s a person or brand you really like.
*Opt-out from national mailing lists (https://dmachoice.thedma.org/register.php) so your mailbox and home aren’t cluttered with junk mail that wastes ink, paper, and space.
*Keep a few reusable shopping bags in the trunk of your car so that you remember to take them while shopping. This helps eliminate the unnecessary need for extra store bags.
*Plan out your weekly meals to help you save money and time. If you have children, try to teach them to eat the same food as the adults so you’re not spending more buying food that only they want. A few good resources for meal planning here: http://www.eatingwell.com/category/4286/meal-plans/; https://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Meal-Planner; https://www.marthastewart.com/1127131/10-golden-rules-family-meal-planning
*Donate gently used clothing that you no longer wear or throw them out if damaged. Keep only a few circulating items in your closet that you can put together in ensembles. Keep classic staples such as high quality jeans, a couple pairs of good sneakers, good quality sweaters and rotate them throughout the year according to your personal style.
*If you read magazines and books, try buying them to read on a digital device. Granted, you might want to keep some hard copies for special momentos, but authors still get paid whether you buy their products digitally or on paper.
Make 2019 your year to live better, think healthier, and accomplish life changing goals. These simple acts of lifestyle changes will do you wonders for now and the future.
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