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  • Erin McAvay

Back to Basics

So we are well into January 2019.  How did that happen? Weren’t we just talking about Y2K.  Weren’t we confused how to write the year 2000 on checks?  Well, we learned quickly and here we are 19 years later. People aren’t joking when they say time flies.

 

I will be 44 next week and feeling pretty reflective. I legit can’t wrap my hands around this age.  I remember my parents being 44; in fact, I remember my grandparents being 44. I, like many others, set resolutions as I rang in the New Year.  I also tried to create a vision as to what 2019 would look like. I’m doing well….certainly not perfect though. I do think it is important to go easy on ourselves, however.   Focus on the little things. We don’t always have to eat a clove of garlic, drink ounces upon ounces of green juice, drink dandelions (although I love to) or ride a Peloton bike for an hour.   Sometimes we just need to go back to basics.


How about we start by setting clear intentions and priorities? Set yourself up for a more fulfilling new year by evaluating your priorities and spending your time and energy the way you want to. Start by making a list of five or six goals you wish to achieve this year, both professional and personal ones.  It will help you stay motivated, focused and achieve the desired end results without burning out. Setting clear boundaries can keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Be realistic. Set small, achievable, timely, and specific health goals. Things like “I’m going to eat 2 fruits per day for the month” are possible.  If you say I’m never going to eat sugar again, chances are you’ll fail.


Try to meditate.  Meditation is a tough thing to master.  I either can’t do it without thinking about what I need at Target or falling asleep.  I keep trying though. It has been said that if the world meditated for a few minutes a day, we would have a whole lot less turmoil.  Meditating is showing its benefits to be starving off stress, it sharpens focus, improves mood, boosts memory and promotes sleep. Meditating for as little as ten minutes every morning is enough to reap its benefits. There are quite a few types of meditation practices to choose from, including mindfulness meditation, walking meditation and transcendental meditation.


Do you enjoy the outdoors?  Try to really breathe in Nature.  Being outside lowers stress and anxiety, elevates mood, enhances self-esteem, stimulates creativity and improves working memory and reduces cortisol levels in your body.  I love to walk outside...even on the cold days. A daily walk in the woods or through a neighborhood does the mind and body good. My husband loves to hike--me not so much.   It is on my to do list.


Exercise is key. To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and should do atleast 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week.  Aim for strength exerciseson 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).  If this sounds overwhelming, start small. Nobody is ever going to tell us that it was discovered that exercise is bad for us.   Keep moving.


Get enough sleep. Your sleeping pattern and mental health are linked. Getting adequate sleep enhances mood, memory, alertness, productivity, even creativity. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep every night for optimal health. Staying sleep-deprived for long can lead to a host of health problems: anxiety, mental fatigue and weight gain. Sleeplessness It increases the risk of heart disease and depression and weakens the immune system. Bottom Line: make sleep a priority.


Be kind to yourself. Enjoy the life you have.  Enjoy your spouse, your kids, the snow, the sunsets, late nights out with friends.  Know that we all make mistakes and setbacks of any kind are part of the learning process. Constant self-criticism doesn't just increase stress but can also hinder productivity and increase mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. The key is to be more self-accepting and have realistic goals and expectations in life. Make time for yourself no matter how busy your schedule is.  Play that men’s league, go to Zumba, take a painting class, watch the sunset. Also, surround yourself with people who support and inspire you. Let go of toxic relationships that leave you mentally and emotionally drained. You are too important!!


So there we go...our back to basics list.  Chip away at it and see how you feel. Maybe it will be a welcomed change.  As I approach this 44th year, I’m ready!



Happy 2019 :)



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