While ‘new year new you’ seems a bit dramatic to me, you can use this opportunity to create new habits that are better for your body, your brain, and the planet. Here are some ideas for a happier, healthier 2020
- Aim for nothing new – try having a second-hand year and see how you fare. Someone’s trash is another’s treasure, so hit those thrift stores the next time you need something. You will spend less and help the planet by avoiding the wasteful fast product consumerism that is plaguing our society.
- Just eat real food – by ridding your diet of highly refined and processed foods and sticking to the basics (think food without a nutrition label), you will be avoiding an extensive list of harmful food ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and inflammatory seed oils. Food is the best for you when what you eat hasn’t been manufactured or mass-produced.
- Ditch the chemicals – Go all-natural (and handmade if you can) for your cleaning products and body and beauty products. Harmful ingredients in body care and makeup will be absorbed through your skin and circulate in your lymph and blood systems, and chemical cleaners can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. The good news is natural alternatives are easy to find and easy to make, so the switch should be easy, and often less expensive.
- Get your green on – houseplants can reduce stress, increase creativity and productivity, and improve the quality of the air in your home. The colour green has been shown to have calming effects, and improve mental health – it can even improve your reading ability. And don’t worry if your thumb is less than green, aka me the serial plant killer; many of the most health-promoting plants are the easiest to take care of (think money tree, spider plant, aloe vera), so no need to worry about committing a murder.
- Keep it local – by shopping from local vendors and makers, you are boosting our region’s economy. You are also helping the planet by using fewer carbon emissions from less travel and less of the ridiculous packaging that comes with online shopping. Not to mention if you’re purchasing from local makers, you know precisely where what your buying comes from, which is important when you think of all the exploited labour out there.
- Be an eco-traveler – choosing more planet-friendly transportation methods like the train vs. your car can add to the fun on your next vaycay. More and more hotels and restaurants are reducing plastic and single-use packaging for the greater good of the earth, so do your research and choose brands and places that make an effort to produce less waste and choose planet-friendly food, products, and services.
- Practice gratitude – being grateful for what we have is a concept that has become lost on many, and often we find ourselves looking for more. Practicing gratitude daily can help us want less and appreciate what’s in our lives now. Plus, it has been proven to actually rewire your brain to turn to happier thoughts vs. negative ones more often. Say three things you are grateful for daily out loud, or better yet keep a gratitude journal and write them down. It will only take a few days to feel the positive impact of this action.
- Volunteer – some of us are much more fortunate than others, and it is so vital for those of us with more to give back. And while donating to good causes is great and necessary, volunteering your time can be a much greater gift. Find a local organization that helps others and help them out with an event they are hosting or a service they offer. There is no skill more valuable to our society than helping others.
- Do that thing – you know that thing. That thing you never get around to. That thing that gives you anxiety every time you think about it because you fear it will never happen. That thing could be as simple as cleaning out the garage or as complex as writing a novel. But we all have at least one thing that we just wish we had the time to do. So just do it. Make the time. Put in the effort. It’s not going to do itself, so get off your ass, take action, and DO IT ALREADY!
- Let it go – that anger, that grudge, that negative thought, that fear that is holding you back. Let go of that friend that doesn’t build you up, that family member that tears you down, that boss you can’t seem to please. There is nothing more liberating than learning to let go of the things in your life that do not serve you or bring you joy.
The new year isn’t about becoming a new person, because you’re already quite awesome. Every day is a new opportunity to do better and be better in terms of taking care of yourself, others, and the planet. Cheers to a great 2020!