As 2019 winds down, many of us are starting to reflect back on the past year: What were the highs? Lows? What would you have done differently? While it's usually common to adopt (sometimes unrealistic) resolutions, the prospect of taking a bunch of huge steps at once can be overwhelming.
If you're looking to reconnect and make some positive changes, you don't have to start a new year with the same mindset. Making a conscious effort to adopt a few new habits can help you move into 2020 feeling relaxed, reset and excited.
Photo by Brittany Gowan
1. Get Back In Touch With Nature
Brittany Gowan of Pause With Plants knows that the benefits of greenery go well beyond just aesthetics. She recommends taking the time to appreciate your plants:
"Bring one of your houseplants before you and allow your eyes to travel from stem to stem and across broader leaves while appreciating how your plants have grown well. If you don’t have a plant close by, look out the window to the nature that is closest to you."
"Appreciate how a tree or a row of bushes is growing. In this moment, stay present with nature and return to your breath, counting each inhale and exhale until you reach 25 counts. Breathing slowly and evenly in and slowly and evenly out. If you feel yourself rushing, bring your mind back to the present moment. Breathe in the positivity of connecting to yourself, your breath and the calming qualities of greenery."
Photo by @karlibobarley
2. Practice Self-Care
Sometimes physical changes can help lead to a more positive mindset, and that's where self-care comes in. Try to find the time to focus on yourself with small beauty rituals a few times a week. Using a hair mask will not only keep your strands in optimal health, but can also have aromatherapy benefits: The Let It Go Circle is made with essential orange oil that will help to relax both your scalp and mind. Then, after you've dried off, treat yourself to a nourishing body oil or rich moisturizer. This is another self-care ritual that will not only help your skin look glowing and healthy, but also let you reconnect with yourself.
3. Try Meditation
When you want to really work on changing your mindset and looking inward, meditation is a great practice to adopt. While everyone's experience is personal, several scientific studies have proven the benefits of meditation in helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. But don't feel like you have to rush to sign up for a big silent retreat right away: mobile apps like Headspace let you start this new practice easily, affordably and on your own schedule.
4. Make a Gratitude List
It can be easy to get caught up and focused on the negative things in life; even one bad day can seem monumentally bigger than dozens of happy little moments. But to help you live more mindfully, try starting each day with a quick gratitude list. Writing down even the most basic things that you're grateful for can have a strong effect in centering your mind; MyDomaine notes that "this simple act helps people not only feel more positive, but also improves their health, helps them handle adversity, and helps them build strong relationships." So even if you have to start off by saying you're grateful for shelter, or family, it's a simple stepping stone to being happier and more mindful in the year ahead.
By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor