Living in survival mode is overrated. Amid political and environmental challenges, we’re making it through, but not unscathed. But where tension persists, it’s time to heal. For some, turning the page means a fresh start and, even if you’re not this person, New Year’s resolutions can be fruitful if trying to set a tone in your own personal life.
Gotta say it: 2022 has been a bitter pill. Setbacks in fighting the continuing pandemic and its effects have taken their toll. Violence devastated. The Consumer Price Index hit a record high. Beloved Monarch Queen Elizabeth II passed away. Things may seem grim, but we’ve got each other.
SPY’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions centered around improving mental health. And, that’s still a high priority. To achieve it, being easier on ourselves and our neighbors is essential. Now we have more resources for combatting Covid for a greater age range, so let’s be optimistic.
Let us be your guide to celebrating 2023 by caring for ourselves and each other. Here are our New Year’s resolutions as we head toward a blank slate. Use them if you want or come up with your own, but we’re all about setting small goals to make us better people in the coming year.
1. Show Your Appreciation
Sometimes people need to know you care. Praising the people who support us can help everybody make it through the day with a bit of grace. A simple “I appreciate you” email or even a hug can do wonders. We’re not sure about you, but giving back makes us feel good. We like this one specifically because it costs zero money to do and, oftentimes, it’s those gestures that cost nothing that make the most profound impact.
2. Keep Drinking More Water
We said it last year but definitely came up short here. And while indulging in beer, wine, and spirits has its place, especially over the holidays, 2023 is about starting anew (yet again) with a healthier approach.
Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day is not only recommended but is a healing replacement for alcoholic beverages. For us, one way we’ve kept ourselves on track is by keeping around our favorite Stanley Quencher water bottle. It’s just easier to drink out of than others and fits better into the car cup holder. It works for us, maybe it’ll work for you as well. It doesn’t have to be this one, but having one does help.
3. Find Your Stress Relief Method
Stressors can affect us more than we think. Striving for the perfect house, car, job, and performance often motivates us but can also bring on a headache or two. This year, embrace yourself by managing your reactions to stress. Meditation and gentle yoga are great methods for release.
New Year’s resolutions are so often fitness-oriented and, most of the time, end up a massive failure because of high expectations. What we should do instead is ease ourselves into a fitness routine that’s non-invasive with very small goals to crush. Gentle yoga can increase flexibility, strengthen the body, and is an awesome method for relieving stress. Slow and relaxing, this form of practice emphasizes breath-linked movement. Gentle yoga is a fantastic way to cope with stress, all the while helping you meet your fitness goals.
Furthermore, meditation calms and balances the mind by refocusing your attention. It can enhance emotional well-being and help us cope with stress when we need to heal the most.
As intrinsic as this sounds, it’s also extremely fun to shop for new gear to help you get set up for success, like yoga pants, yoga mats, or, if you’re feeling super stressed, an at-home sauna.
4. Eat Healthier Without Restriction
Diet and nutrition can be a limiting place. Counting the calories and dancing over the carbs with your fork can give you results, but you don’t have to kiss the food you love goodbye. It’s all about moderation. Unrealistic portions may have short-term effects, but giving yourself some room to move in your nutritional plan is often more sustainable and satisfying. Eating a little bit of everything can go a long way.
Somebody very close to a SPY Editor says being able to see her food online and choose it that way helps to control what she shops for. To do this, she swears by Thrive Market, which offers organic options, sustainable meat and seafood, and more stuff you want to see in your groceries.
5. Give Yourself a Daily Affirmation
Daily affirmations can help you challenge negative thoughts and overcome self-doubt. These simple phrases often motivate us to be and do our best. Building resilience often comes from a positive mindset. Telling yourself every day that you’re strong can’t hurt. It can only help you get through the weeds. This is one you positively CAN do, because it also requires zero dollars.
6. Budget Realistically with Rewards
It’s time to trim the fat in your budget. These are words we hate, but financial health is necessary. The December holidays have strained credit card limits and left many eating packaged noodles. Watching your spending doesn’t have to be drudgery.
Making space for rewards, whichever costs and sizes are right for you, can make budgeting bearable. Blending a healthy smoothie, choosing an inspiring indoor houseplant, and losing yourself in a compelling new book are inexpensive yet meaningful ways to treat yourself.
7. Cook a New Dish
Escape the winter food rut by cooking something new. Try healthy options like cilantro lime shrimp wraps or stuffed acorn squash or cozy dinner fare like chicken pot pie or mushroom bolognese for variety. Or take a page out of the book of SPY Writer, Jakob Menendez, and make yourself a delicious pizza topped with chicken and homemade (or jarred) pesto that’s sure to woo anybody who grabs a slide. He swears by his favorite textured pizza pan for the perfect golden crust every single time. It’s something he didn’t know he would end up using so frequently.
8. Be Kind to the Environment
Environmental sustainability begins with us. Simple things like upgrading to energy-efficient and solar lighting fixtures as well as more complex measures like installing a smart thermostat can make a huge difference in respecting the planet. But then also conscious outdoor practices, like leaving the outside exactly the way you found it if you’re a hiker or runner is what we should be striving for. There are many simple changes that can save you money, decrease emissions, and support the environment for healthier and safer surroundings.