Guys, we made it to Friday! Hurray! We are well and truly into 2017 now and I don’t know about you, but we find this time of year super refreshing (I mean, it’s a brand new sparkly year!), but also a time for a lot of reflection. We’ve called this first 10 Ways post ‘New Year, New Intentions’. We’re not massive believers in ‘Resolutions’ (destined to fail much?!), but there is something very important about setting the tone for you life, not just around New Year of course, but now’s as good a time as any! This beautiful post talks very eloquently about the gentle ‘Yin’ nature of intention setting.
Today we’re gonna look at some lovely ideas for you to make your own in 2017: from reviving the beautifully slow, personal art of letter writing, to new trends in healthy eating, focusing on sleep and forming healthy habits this year. Don’t worry, you won’t leave this post feeling like you’ve just added another 10 challenges/resolutions to your list, but hopefully more comforted as we set ourselves kind goals and heartfelt intentions for the year ahead.
So without further ado, grab yourself a cup of green tea (anyone else on a bit of a January detox after all that indulgence?!) and let’s go…
One: The Art of Letter Writing
When Laura and I were chatting about our hopes for this post she suggested reviving this lost art, and she’s totally inspired me!
As anyone who loves to journal (heyyo!) knows, there’s something beautiful about putting pen to paper, getting your thoughts into words and out of your head is, well, it’s like therapy I suppose! Letter writing fits the exact same bill, it’s therapeutic, taking your communication out of the digital realm and bringing it back down to earth, creating something tangible.
Whether it’s simply keeping the tradition of sending cards for birthdays/anniversaries/’get well soon’s alive, or if you want to begin to regularly write to a friend abroad, or even find yourself a pen pal, this fulfils so many of our intentions for 2017; to spend less time on screens, to be fully present with others and to slow down.
Two: The Year of Sleep
One of the biggest wellbeing trends for 2017? Sleep.
Ummmm, sounds good to me!!
That’s right, Clean Sleeping is set to be that thing we obsess about for 2017. What’s clean sleeping? Good question, it’s a fancy term for getting a solid 7-8 hours minimum of quality and (where possible) uninterrupted sleep every night.
Pioneering this trend is of course Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s health blog. In her new book, Clean Beauty, Gwyneth hails sleep as one of the most important things we can do for our bodies, a key to ageing gracefully, staying slim and even having great hair (the whole ‘beauty sleep’ thing is no joke!)
It’s time to start taking our sleep habits seriously, this article by Dr Frank Lipman is super helpful, but here’s 6 ways to instantly help us get a better nights rest:
- [daytime] Avoid Caffeine – blocks sleep neurotransmitters, the calming chemicals your body makes to make you sleepy
- [daytime] Daily Exercise – one of the best defences against insomnia as it increases the amplitude of our daily rhythms, signalling the body to promote deeper sleep cycles
- [evening] Electronic Shutdown – at a set time (find what works for you, although advice suggests 10pm latest) stop sitting in front of your computer or TV screen and switch off all other electronic devices, they are too stimulating to the brain and inhibit the release of these sleep neurotransmitters
- [nighttime] Create a Regular Routine – a regular sleep rhythm reminds the brain when to release sleep and wake hormones, which in turn effects all the other hormones, ultimately effecting our overall health
- [nighttime] Keep the Room as Dark as Possible – our bodies need complete darkness for production of the important sleep hormone, melatonin. If your bedroom is not pitch dark when you go to sleep, it interferes with this key process and disrupts your circadian rhythms
- [nighttime] Keep the Room Cool – lowering ambient temperature sends a feedback signal to the brain’s sleep centre that it’s nighttime, and that it needs to release more sleep hormones
Three: Now Watching
The documentary of the moment: Minimalism: a Documentary about the Important Things.
I kinda don’t want to say too much about this one as I know I, for one, would’ve been a total sceptic before watching this, but let’s just say if you think you could do with a little less to worry about and a lot more space and freedom to do more of what you love in your life, this is well worth a watch!
Four: a Simple Challenge
My beau is an action kinda man. If something resonates with him, he has do something about it, there and then (which I LOVE about him!). So, in the light of just having watched the Minimalism documentary over New Year, he and I have embarked upon numerous challenges (Including 3:33, aka 33 items of clothing for 3 months, EEK!), but also a 30 day decluttering challenge…
In the name of simplifying and reducing our possessions, this challenge is just awesome. It’s steady and totally attainable, but will help you declutter your space of a total of 496 items over the 30 days.
It’s simple: on the first of the month you declutter one item, on the second of the month you get rid of two items, and so on…
Five: Fun Intentions
The beautiful soul that is Fabienne over at ethical brand, YCL Jewels, recommended these planners on her Snapchat back in December, and it got me to thinking: why do we get so super serious about goal setting? Surely if it’s a more vibrant, positive experience, something heartfelt but without judgement we’re much more likely to achieve said goals?
Enter Leonie Dawson’s collection of Shining Year workbooks. One for Life, one for Business, a weekly wall planner and a goal planner.
I’m yet to try one, but every testimonial I hear gives a raving review!
Six: Healthy Habits
We are all about forming healthy habits for 2017. In essence: Consistency is Key.
Rather than setting unrealistic goals that you’ll end up beating yourself up over if you don’t achieve, try forming a habit that will help your journey towards that goal and then simply persist.
For example: want to improve your skin health? Form a ‘Mask Monday’ habit, taking time out to apply a mask religiously every Monday. Or maybe you want to be more present with your kids? Try forming the habit of leaving your phone in the study, or your handbag to reduce distraction. Or, maybe like me, you want to form a daily yoga practice, why not commit to just 20 mins a day for January using a program like Yoga with Adrienne’s Revolution? It only takes 21 days to form a habit…
Whatever the goal is, forming small habits you can maintain will help you journey towards your ultimate intention, while being so much kinder to yourself!
Seven: Equipped Eating
SO many people are talking about food this January which, I think, is great! Between the annual detox we all find ourselves on every New Year, the super popular Veganuary campaign (woop!) and in the wake of 2016’s big push for clean whole food diets, food has never been more at the forefront of our minds.
And while that all sounds super peppy and exciting, I know food isn’t always a happy subject for everyone and, at one point in my life, I would’ve included myself in that category. So here’s something I found made my life lovely, and for anyone struggling with their relationship with food, this might help you too: Equipped Eating.
That is, supplying yourself with only good foods, equipped with great, accessible resources, and surrounding yourself with inspiring, positive foodies.
Yup, just three moves that I found made food so much lovelier:
- Fill your fridge/pantry with only an abundance of whole, unprocessed fresh foods, organic where possible. Only and Abundance are the key words here. Don’t let processed foods into your space and you’ll soon find them out of mind too, and an abundance of whole foods encourages you to eat whatever healthy food you desire in the moment, leaving you satiated body and mind!
- Equip yourself with great recipes and ideas from real people. There are so many awesome men and women on Instagram who are sharing their real life recipes in ebooks right now. Find someone you identify with, get their ebook (which are normally much cheaper than a recipe book!) and learn from their ideas and habits! Personally, I absolutely love Ellen Fisher, Loni Jane and Bonny Rebecca
- And following on from that last point, allow these positive, wholesome foodies to permeate your life a little! My instagram feed is filled with images of yummy fruit and wholesome dinner plates, with captions talking enthusiastically about their love of food – it’s catching!
So much goodness, and for those mamas out there, two of these three ladies have two kiddies each, so a lot of their recipes are time and kid friendly!
Eight: Now Listening
Ahem, so I think by now we’ve established that January is a time for reflection and intention?!
Well, as with most things in life, there’s a podcast for that, my friend! Here are a few of our favourites for January:
- Want to read more this year? Check out The Lit Up Show
- Need a little extra hand with that 2017 sleep trend? Try the purposefully dull and droning (it’s very effective!) Sleep WIth Me
- Looking to others for inspiration this January? We’ll forever love Desert Island Discs, check out recent castaway Gloria Steinem
- Seeking happiness? Give Happier with Gretchen Reuben a listen
- Want to open your mind and broaden your horizons on the subject that is Life? Check out On Being
Nine: Wanderlust Fulfilment
Hands up if you resolved to travel and adventure a lot more in 2017?
*Sees a sea of hands rise across the blogosphere*
Yup, me too! A life of adventure is the most lovely. So let’s resolve to spontaneously book, get inspired and plan, pack light and get exploring in 2017.
Ten: Choose Kindness
Awareness. Consciousness. Kindness
Three pretty powerful words to focus on this year.
Whether that’s a charitable commitment, either in terms of donating money, time or resources, or perhaps that looks like setting time aside to volunteer for you. Or maybe it starts a little closer to home: becoming a ‘giver’ in your relationships, listening to understand rather than to reply, focusing on empathy and compassion to our fellow beings, be them near or far, human or animal.
Check out this amazing US website Kindness.org for great and totally doable, ways to show kindness. You can even pledge to do them!
Let’s make 2017 about the people on the ground; let’s choose kindness.
And there we have it! Welcome to 2017, lovely people! We would just LOVE to hear more about your intentions for this year and how you’re working to achieve them, so please do leave us a little note below so we can start a positive, encouraging discussion!
Have a beautiful weekend and we’ll see you on the flip side!
Peace + Love