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Do This Exercise Today to Invite in Your Healthiest January…

By December 14, 2018 No Comments

While spontaneity is something that we tend to romanticize in our modern world, I believe that ‘planning and scheduling’ should be the one receiving the accolades. It may not feel as exciting, unpredictable and spur of the moment, but is it incredibly effective and can totally transform your relationship to health and wellness.

If you want great things to come out of your January – start by scheduling it before January even comes, so it is locked in for the days ahead. It is incredible how much abundance we can invite in, simply by ‘being ready for it’. So, grab that agenda and let’s set the groundwork for our most illuminated health and self-care month, yet.

 (Pro Tip –  Consider entering your health and self-care items in a specific colour in your calender so that it ‘POPS out’ at you as a reminder! & then starts to wire your brain to recognize ‘the most exciting part of the day!’)  

Here are 8 Ways to Illuminate your January with Health and Self Care:

One – Dare I say, “No thank you, not tonight”…

I often tell my patients to schedule one day a week to just say ‘NO’ to the busy and the excess. Use this day to get to bed early, lay on the couch, meditate or make time for your favourite self-care activity (a massage, a bath). There has been some great feedback on this technique.  Protect this day as much as possible and a ‘low key day’ will just become a part of your regular schedule! It is also an opportunity to take inventory of what you actually what to be doing versus what you are doing out of guilt or FOMO which are not the best emotions to be in the drivers seat. [Schedule in: ‘No’ Time]

Two – The opposite of ‘the blahs’ is…

Have you ever heard of flow state? That state where you are so in the zone that you forget to check the time, your phone messages etc.? (I first heard of this concept from‎ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his talk ‘Flow, The Secret to Happiness’) (1) Ask yourself, “how can I invite in more flow time”? Whether it is reading a book, building something, dancing, painting, stamp collecting, bird watching etc., we can invite more passion into our lives by recognizing the times that we are fully in flow and feel ahhhh-mazing. This is one of the ways to cruise through the January ‘blahhhhs’ that so many of us experience.  [Schedule in: Flow Time]

Three – Clutter doesn’t stand a chance:

Reorganize one part of your home/office that is ‘driving you wild’ and invite in peace and productivity. When a space is clear, what you are inviting in is POSSIBILITY. You can improve your focus, reduce distractions, open up a ‘blank slate’ for creativity – the mental/emotional impacts are truly endless! This exercise can actually be very emotionally clearing too. Ask yourself why you are holding on to certain things and if that has a positive or a negative impact on your life? For example, I have held onto a knitting needle and yarn for almost 3 years and haven’t used it and never desire to pick up. It is clear evidence that that is not a hobby I enjoy and by having it in my home, I am just adding to the number of decisions I have to make every day rather than knowing, I would rather pick up a e.g. camera! [Schedule in: Cleaning/Organizing Time]

Four – Not to brag, but I made that…  

Schedule in cooking ‘one NEW meal’ this month, using fresh, wholesome ingredients and no processed food.  This links to that idea that “the more you do something, the better you get at it”. The more we add variety, fresh ingredients and fresh flavour ‘ to our plate’ ;), the easier it gets on busier days to grab fresh ingredients and know what to make! So challenge yourself to try at least one new fresh recipe a month. Examples could be – cauliflower rice, a clean pad thai or a veggie based Shepards Pie. [Schedule in: Fresh Food/Lifestyle Time]

Five – [Detective work] – which parts of the day am I letting slip away?

I am ‘fessing up’. This is the worst part of my current health habits. Those 15 minute gaps when I am in transition e.g. waiting for someone to arrive for dinner, getting myself from point A to point B, sitting in a waiting room for an appointment, it begins – the mindless scrolling, the random, unwanted thoughts etc.  So, the goal here is to simply CATCH ourselves. Where are pockets in the day that could be transformed into something productive? Could you – throw on a podcast? Search for some healthy dinner inspiration? Do 10 minutes of closed eyes ‘mindfulness/a body scan’? What about jot down some points in your note pad for that blog you have been wanting to write? We can’t put more time in a day but we can notice where our time slips out of our hands and into a very unproductive part of cyberspace. [Notice: how can I make better use of transition time?]

Six – When you daydream, where does your mind go?

What is the thing that keeps you up at night dreaming of…..  ‘one day’? What is that thing you google on your lunch break? The thing that pumps you up and inspires you when you see someone posting about it?  How can you pull it out from the dream world and into reality? Even if it is small steps, start by inviting it in! [Schedule: One action towards ‘the thing you dream about’]

Seven – How am I managing stress?

This is a big one.  Learning to identify your stress patterns is at the very essence of health. Some things to take notice of – A) What are your habits when you get stressed – junk food, stimulants, sitting staring at the wall in a ball of stress/anger? B) What resources are around you that you are not currently tapping into – counselling, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage? C) What other ways can you ‘break the cycle’ in the moment – go for a walk, text a friend, pour a hot tea? Awareness is everything in health. We can’t change that which we don’t see! [Schedule: Health care appointments, massages, naturopath visits, counselling appointments, short walk breaks etc!]

Eight – The big one – how much of my ‘sacred time’ am I spending in a vortex of SCREEN TIME?

I downloaded the ‘screen time’ feature with my most recent apple update. Let’s just say, I can no longer use the excuse ‘I don’t have time’ for what matters most to me.  [Schedule: Now that you know your screen time use – what do you want to schedule INSTEAD?! Things we haven’t chatted about yet – the gym, visits to family, visits with friends, giving back to the community and the planet, etc… It’s your turn, what else would you like to schedule into your January of 2019?…. Happy planning!]

-Emily

References:

(1) Flow, The Secret to Happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Ted Talk. February 2004. Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en

Photo Cred: Olivia O’Young

Scheduled Lunch date: Erica Grenci

Disclaimer: This website is not meant to diagnose, prevent or treat disease. Please talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment or regimen in relation to diet, exercise, supplements, herbs, lifestyle etc. and or modifying your current medications, dosages and health care plan. This website is not to be interpreted as medical advice.

Dr. Emily Elliot, ND

Author Dr. Emily Elliot, ND

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