The New Year brings about feelings of starting fresh and being inspired. During times of change, it’s helpful to have a guide, offering glimpses into the possibilities of the life you desire. It doesn’t have to be big changes; small changes every day can lead to major transformation. Here are some pieces of wisdom inspired by Ayurvedic teachings that can help you get a good start to what might be your best year yet!
1. Check In with Yourself
The cold months and shorter days of winter makes this season the perfect time for reflection. Take advantage of this time by thinking about what has been working for you this past year and what hasn’t. Revisit any goals and what needs to be done to accomplish them, or observe what has been getting in the way of achieving your goals.
Take some time to write everything down so you can take a step back and notice any subtle patterns. Be honest with yourself as the key to moving forward and being fulfilled is to become masterful at knowing who you are. From there you can become a powerful choice maker.
2. Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Ayurveda reminds you of the power of intention and thoughts on your mental and physical well-being. A simple exercise to put this into effect is the practice of gratitude. With regular practice, there is an experience of deeper connection, purpose, and overall positivity. The adage is true that “where attention goes energy flows.” As you shift your attention through gratitude you will attract more of what you love.
Write down or share with someone three things you are grateful for each day for 21 days. You can start by contemplating what you are grateful for from this past year. Take it even further by asking others what they are grateful for and begin to spread the positive vibes.
3. Spend Time in Nature
There are many pathways toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle and one of them is simply being in nature. You instinctively know this but your time spent indoors has caused you to forget this important relationship. Nature has so graciously provided you with an abundant source of energy and nourishment for both the body and mind. All you need is a few minutes each day. Though, the longer you can play in nature, the better.
Take a sensory journey outside by noticing the smells, sights, and sounds. Touch the trees or flowers and notice how they look and feel. Gaze up into the night sky and appreciate the expansiveness. You don’t have to go far to experience this; nature is everywhere you look.
4. Cultivate Good Eating Habits
Having a strong digestion is one of the cornerstones of maintaining good health in Ayurveda. You want your body to be able to extract the most nutritious aspects from your food and digest it properly. You know the importance of proper nutrition, but how you eat is equally as important.
Here are some helpful eating habits to start incorporating into your lifestyle and share with your family:
- Winter time means eating more warm meals.
- Eat mindfully and enjoy the taste of every bite.
- Make your plate colorful to help introduce a variety of nutrients.
- Stop eating when you are at a six (on a one-10 scale where 10 is a full stomach).
- Eat in a settled environment.
- Try avoiding eating when you are upset.
5. Tap Into the Power of Breath
In yoga, the “sister science” to Ayurveda, much emphasis is placed on the importance of breath and for good reason. When you feel overwhelmed, what’s the first thing you instinctively do? You take a deep breath. There are numerous studies proving the benefits of breathing exercises on stress management. It may not be something you are used to thinking about, but try scheduling some time in your day to try out a few breathing exercises. The benefits are immediate and you can perform these exercises anytime and anywhere
6. Be of Service
Performing acts of service—no matter how large or small—can be rewarding on many levels. Seva in Sanskrit means selfless service without any thoughts of reward or payment. Think of ways you can place attention on this type of service. The more you perform seva, the more it will permeate into your daily life in positive ways. Watch the barriers come down when people are acknowledged, respected, and feel cared for. Loving and conscious connections are what you need more of during turbulent times.
Acts of service can be buying someone a coffee, offering to help out someone in need, donating your time at a local shelter, or sending someone a secret gift. The opportunities are limitless.
As you start a new year, the best thing you can do for yourself to help you transition smoothly is to either start a meditation practice or reinforce a practice you already have. Think about what you are creating for yourself for the New Year and what you are ready to let go of. If you have something written down, review this before going into stillness in order to reinforce your intentions.
8. Get Plenty of Rest
This is easier said than done for some people. Both your physical and mental bodies go through a great deal of processing and rejuvenation throughout the night, but if you are not sleeping you are not benefiting from this important time. If you have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep here are some Ayurvedic tips:
- Get in bed by 10 p.m.
- Turn off the TV and set the phone aside.
- Eat a light meal by 7 p.m. to allow time for digestion before going to sleep.
- Try taking a bath and drink some relaxing tea.
- Massage the bottoms of your feet with oil to promote relaxation.
9. Keep Moving
During the winter months this is especially hard, but it still important. If you are not feeling inspired, try switching up your routine and trying something new. Yoga is always a good option—try different styles to see which one you might enjoy. Consider slowing down a bit and taking more walks. The beginning of the New Year is about planting seeds for the future filled with your goals and intentions; taking it slow can be beneficial for bringing these seeds to fruition in the coming months.
10. Implement a Daily Routine
Change is in the air with the creation of new habits and starting off the year strong. The best way to ensure you stick to your goals and intentions is to create a daily routine for yourself. This will help with overall better functioning of the body and creating a clear mind for the day. Here is an example of a morning daily routine:
- Wake up with the sun
- Drink some hot lemon water to get the bowels moving
- Perform breathing exercises and meditate
- Eat breakfast
- Start the day afresh!
Take advantage of this ideal time for trying out and establishing new habits. Think of these as something to enhance your life rather than trying to add yet another thing to your busy life. The rewards will be life changing!