How are you feeling as we walk into a brand new year? With the holiday hubbub, you might feel hard-pressed to scrounge together enough stillness to contemplate a vision for your 2020. This week, I encounter moments of alertness (usually powered by coffee or a catnap) followed by long periods of messy, jumbled emotions. But a few inspiring notions have shown up in my head, and I thought I would share them with you. Maybe something will speak to the tired in you, or the overwhelmed, or the distracted. Maybe one of these ideas will breathe some fresh life into yours. I don’t know about you, but I could really use some intentionality in 2020.
Without further ado, here are some holistic New Years resolutions ideas.
1. Reduce caffeine consumption and drink more smoothies.
To me, caffeine is a blessing and curse in the same 24-hour period. When sipped in the morning, not only does it taste like comfort and give me a sense of wellbeing, but it seems to activate every fiber of energy and focus in my being. It powers me through my morning, miraculously turning the most mundane task into an exciting adventure.
But then it’s nighttime. Most nights I slip into sleep all right, but the trouble hits when I wake up around 4am, and cannot fall back asleep for the life of me. After tossing and turning for an hour or so, I get up, zombie-like, and with my eyes half closed in sleepless exhaustion, I wander into the other room to attempt to do something more constructive than rolling around in bed. Sometimes I can fall asleep again by 6am…and sometimes I can’t. Does caffeine mess with your routine the way it messes with mine?
I already have whittled down my caffeine consumption by giving up daily coffee. Now mind you, surrendering coffee is for me a bit like bidding adieu to a dear friend. But in reserving it for a special treat instead of a daily routine, I have already found a better rhythm of alertness in the day and uninterrupted sleep at night.
Now instead of coffee, I sip on lovely green and black teas. Which, if you want to give it a try, is a habit that should not be consigned to our neighbors on the other side of the Atlantic! These teas are loaded up with antioxidants, and besides that, are just such a warm and cozy drink.
But black and green teas still contain caffeine. So while they infuse greater alertness, they still haunt me at times with zombiness (it’s definitely a word) at 4am.
I’ve been wondering what it would be like to give up daily caffeine consumption altogether. It might be painful at first, but would it eventually create a blissful balance of daily wakefulness and nightly sleep that I forgot existed?
I recently learned that one of my most admired beauty bloggers, Sazan, does not drink coffee. She tends to rely on smoothies to energize her and power her days.
Trusting my productivity to smoothies makes me quake a bit. Could a simple combination of fruits and vegetables really energize me all the live long day?
Smoothies are incredibly versatile, as you can pack them with any combo of fruits and vegetables, protein powders and superfoods.
So who’s willing to give it a try with me? Wouldn’t it be bananas (pun intended) to refuel our bodies with a refreshing, sweet liquid that doesn’t tax our adrenals? We could reserve tea for only the more tired mornings. Maybe limit it to once a week. I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped to give it a try. If Sazan can do it, maybe I can too.
Here is one of my favorite smoothies ever, the Kale-Ginger Detox Smoothie! (It’s the 2nd one down on the page!)
2. Buy resale clothes.
I am OBSESSED with resale and thrift stores. I literally buy 99% of my clothes used because 1) I can find the sweetest deals on high quality brands and even designers. I mean, who doesn’t want to dress cute while saving buckets full of cash?? 2) We care for creation by recycling and reusing! By giving garments a second life, we keep them out of landfills. If enough of us do it, we discourage production of cheap new garments that would get worn for a few months and then tossed to the side.
My top pro-tip when thrifting is to seek out stores in the upscale parts of town. Your eye is more likely to land on some real gems without too much of a hunt!
Many thrift stores also support local charities so you can know your dollars are going towards something good for the community!
3. Be intentional about hard conversations with your boyfriend or spouse.
Attachment theory is used by many therapists, including myself, to help understand how humans connect. It says many of us fall in one of two camps: critical pursuers or avoidant withdrawers.
The critical pursuers among us fear coldness and lack of connection in our relationships and marriages. When triggered, we poke, prod, and nag. Sometimes we just want our partner to see how much pain we’re in! And if we have to use guilt and shame to make them see it, can you blame us? Our anxiety drives us to do anything to elicit some kind of response. I have a bit of anxious pursuer in me.
The avoidant withdrawers among us hate conflict and dodge it at all costs. Conflict feels unproductive to the withdrawer, who would rather sweep things under the rug than engage in high conflict situations. I have a lot of avoidant withdrawer in me.
Both attachment types struggle to handle conflict in a way that builds bridges or finds resolution. But let me encourage you and say: conflict is a normal, healthy part of a relationship! And when it’s done right, it can actually make relationships stronger and more satisfying. Crazy, right?!
The critical pursuer needs to learn to soften her approach. If that’s you, you may want to become savvy with using kind, uplifting language to seek connection. You can learn skills like timing conversations for when you and your partner are not too hungry or tired. And you can learn to relinquish some of your need for control. Sometimes within the critical pursuer’s heart, there is a fear of abandonment, along with an underlying belief that we are not enough to be loved or desired. Addressing these deep wounds can help us approach our partner in a softer, less anxious way.
The avoidant withdrawer needs to learn how to not check out of conflict – despite their discomfort. Those of us who would rather clean the toilet than bring up a hard conversation need to experience how conflict can actually be productive and build intimacy. Withdrawers tend to have less experience with human connection providing comfort. Thus, they run away from conflict and prefer aloneness when the heat rises. Withdrawers also tend to struggle with feelings of inadequacy, which make them hide deeper within themselves when arguments arise. Addressing these self doubts courageously can help withdrawers stay more present in our relationships.
2020 is a great year to practice talking about real issues in your relationship in an intentional way!
4. Wear sunscreen on your face every day.
You know you should. Those UV rays burn our skin and reduce its softness, suppleness, and elasticity. They blast right through our skin’s upper layers down into the deeper layers. They wreak havoc to skin cells, sometimes even triggering cell death. Overdo those UV rays long enough, and you’re inviting skin cancer. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing SPF 30 (or higher). They explain that SPF 30 protects from 97% of UVB rays. Higher SPF’s protect us only slightly better.
So protect your face from premature aging, sunspots, wrinkles, and other such nonsense. I highly recommend Supergoop! brand daily sunscreen. I’ve been using their SPF 50 on my face for years and it’s a keeper. No greasy residue to make my makeup go sliding.
5. Start journaling.
Have you grasped yet how powerful self awareness is??
It utterly transforms us.
We do what we do largely based on unconscious dynamics happening inside us, and between us and other people. When we leave these things in our unconscious, hidden from our awareness, we’re not really in control of our lives.
Journaling is one of the most powerful ways to grow in self awareness.
It also can be an effective self soothing technique.
For me the easiest way to journal is right into a word processor. It wasn’t always so; I took up journaling around 2nd grade and literally had a secret garden diary that locked with a tiny key! For years I used pretty journals and lots of 5-subject notebooks. But in recent years I find that typing right into my laptop is the easiest way to be consistent. It means I don’t have to haul around another book with me in order to journal whenever the need hits. Find the way that works best for you.
I highly recommend journaling not just the events of your life, but especially your feelings. To get the ball rolling, ask these questions:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What’s the status of my relationship with God? Do I feel close to Him? Why or why not?
- What hopes and dreams are forming in me lately?
- What disappointments or fears are weighing me down?
- Is God speaking anything to me?
My favorite journal sessions last at least a half hour, but even if you only get 5-10 minutes to get centered and reflect on your life, I highly recommend it.
Like a lovely gift that takes time to unwrap, self reflection is a present God has held out to us as sentient beings who reflect His image. Growing in self knowledge and understanding makes us kinder, more gracious, more centered people. It gives us the opportunity to make decisions about our lives, rather than being controlled by our unconscious.
Happy New Year!
Whatever 2020 brings, I hope you will be fully present for it. I hope you let its brisk air fill your lungs and follow its winding roads with courage. I hope you pour yourself out in sacrificial love to those around you, putting down the phone and looking your loved ones in the eyes for a real conversation. I hope you eat colorful food and get your body moving, maybe even out in nature. And I hope you tend to the ebbs and flows of your soul, the changing temperature of your emotions, and the God-given longings for abundant life. I’m going to go make a smoothie – see you next week!
The Gorgeous Life is about all the facets of female life in Christ Jesus. You’ll find tips to cultivate glowing health, be more present and alive in your relationships, develop inner and outer beauty, and laser-focus your sense of purpose in the world.
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