Updated: Mar 25
2020 has been tumultuous. I know for many of us, we breathe in a huge sigh of relief over that Calendar flipping to January 2021. Phew! A new year and a chance for new beginnings. The celebration of the New Year symbolizes an opportunity to sow new seeds. Nourish these into sprouts—lots of water and sunshine. Set and nourish your roots into a beautiful, unique shift.
But how and what, one may ask? The New Year's Resolution, while in theory, sounds lovely, often fizzles out within a few weeks. I know I am guilty of not upholding my resolutions, which is why I stopped doing them. Of course, if they work for you, then keep at it!! Alternatively, I take the opportunity to self reflect. What are my needs? What seeds can I plant to nourish my body, mind, and spirit?
The reason resolutions never worked for me is due to the abrupt change. I've always found it very jarring to my system, which is why I think nothing ever stuck. I'm not a fan of going "cold turkey" or just cutting out a bad habit, like sugar or coffee. Rather, I plant the seed of reducing the disagreeable patterns by adding in healthy ones.
Let's say you are a big-time coffee drinker. (Okay, I admit, I am a big fan of coffee and known to have a few cups a day.) Instead of cutting out coffee because it is overtaxing my adrenals, I add a delicious cup of green tea to replace that second cup fix. I've planted the seed of a more healthy alternative.
If you are a gardener, then you know "the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit." So, intentions take time and lots of nourishment. Softening the body into a harmonious state will not happen overnight—instead, each day, little by little.
In the acupuncture clinic, I encourage my patients to add to healthy practices rather than cut out bad habits. Have a sugar tooth? Add in some dried or fresh fruit as a snack. Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Add in a few minutes of mindful breathing each day. Perhaps self-care is not at the forefront of your mind. Then plant the idea of permitting yourself to take care of yourself. Each breath, moment, and day is a new start. If the idea of creating an extraordinary New Year's Resolution bubbles up feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear of failure, as it does for me, then forgo the tradition. Commit to taking each day, each breath with mindfulness, and take the pressure off. Plant a seed towards self-care and gently and mindfully nourish that seed.
Cheers to a healthy 2021!
Some seeds to plant for the New Year:
Mindful Breathing Exercise
Seated, lying down or standing, place one hand on the belly just below the belly button and one hand over the heart.
Inhale and begin to expand the belly, allowing expansion to push the hand away gently.
Slowly exhale as the belly moves inward.
Repeat, this time, expand that breath up into the chest area.
Continue for a few rounds without forcing the breath.
Notice any changes in the body, ie. Shoulders relax towards the ears; the jaw unclenches, the body softens as you feel your body's weight on the floor or chair.
Mindful Walking Exercise
Take a walk at a natural pace. (Your walk can be around the house, out in nature, in the neighborhood, or a city stroll.)
Begin to notice the rise and fall of each step. Notice the movement of your legs and the gentle swing of your arms. Pay attention to the subtle shifting from one side to the other.
Now, as you are walking, pay attention to the sounds around you. Without judgment, notice.
Now pay attention to your sense of smell. Without judgment, take in any scents.
Next, move to what you see. What colors, shapes, patterns are in your field of view? Again, notice without judgment.
Keep this awareness of everything around you.
Now, come back to the body. Notice the physical sensations. Notice the breath, the rise, and fall of each step. Notice how you feel now as to when you started.
Nourishing Winter Soup Recipe
Approximately 6 cups peeled and chopped root veggies (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, etc.)
1 yellow onion chopped
1 tbsp of olive oil or broth as substitute for sautéing
4 cups of your favorite broth
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/2 -1 tsp of your favorite savory herbs. I use thyme, marjoram and rosemary
Salt and Pepper
1 can of Kidney beans (or fresh if you have the time)
1 bunch of your favorite leafy greens chopped small, boiled and drained. I use collards!
• Optional for topping - chopped cashews • Directions:
Saute chopped root veggies, spices, salt, pepper and onion until softened (about 10 mins) - if you are avoiding oils, can use small amount of broth as a substitute.
Add broth and bring to boil.
Simmer until veggies are tender (about 30 mins.)
Puree soup in a blender or food processor.
Add kidney beans, leafy greens and top with crushed cashews.
Season with more spices to desired taste.