Alright guys, who’s happy 2020 is coming to an end? Raise your hand! Me too! We’ve come over the hump of the crazy busy Deepavali, Hannukah and Christmas period, so with the new year coming upon us, I want you to take some time and do something for yourself. Sure, you can pamper yourself with a massage, get a manicure or take a bubble bath, but here are some suggestions to help you recover your mind and energize your body to start fresh in 2021.
Meditation can help you reduce stress, focus better, reduce negative emotions and increase your creativity. Though meditation for newbies can seem daunting, there are plenty of guided classes, YouTube videos or apps, such as Calm, that can help lead you through it. If you just can’t get into meditation, it’s amazing what just taking some belly breaths and stretching can do to lift you up. Practice taking long deep breaths, in through your nose, all the way into your diaphragm, and back out, with each exhale longer than your inhale. Lie down and stretch out as long as you can; stretch your arms over your head and reach your toes away from you. Create space in your body. Practice being in the moment, tuning in with all your senses, and savoring the present for a few minutes.
Learning is its own form of therapy. It strengthens your brain, and the newness is exciting and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Learn a new language by taking a class or just by using the Duolingo app a few minutes a day. Schedule that salsa trial you’ve been putting off because you “just don’t have time”. Learn how to make great cocktails. Grab a book or watch a documentary about a topic that you’ve always been curious about but never made the effort to find out more about, be it Roman history, particle accelerators or Japanese tea ceremonies. It doesn’t matter how well you do; you just need to expose yourself to something you've never done before.
With the craziness of the Christmas season just behind us, it was easy to get caught up in the preparations, shopping and activities that revolved around others. At the end of the year, do something for yourself, by yourself. Book a staycation alone, sleep in and spend the day by the pool reading that book you bought months ago but still hadn’t started yet. Or simply go out for dinner and catch a movie by yourself – you won’t have to worry about your five-year-old’s penchant for chicken nuggets or your significant other’s questionable taste in films. Explore a museum or local tourist attraction and stop at the artwork or exhibitions that interest you, at your own pace.
It’s amazing what some time outdoors can do for your state of mind. Researchers have found that being outside simply makes us happy, and it also lowers stress and improves focus. Go for an early morning trail hike or bike ride, or just take a stroll around your neighbourhood to your local park. Try bird watching or fishing for a serene, mindful, calming activity in the great outdoors.
Let’s face it – we can all agree that 2020 was a dog’s breakfast of a year, and the list of things that have gone wrong could fill an entire university-level history course (and it probably will!) Rather than focusing on the negative, finish the year off by reflecting on things that you’re grateful for. Review what went well this year and what you’re most proud of accomplishing. Write down the things you are thankful for, what you’re good at and what you love most about yourself. Put these things in writing as it’s more powerful than just thinking about them, and move on to 2021 with a positive mindset.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to refresh your mind, body and spirit for the new year. Take care, and happy 2021!
August Society Founder & Creative Director
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