Focus on You This Year
New Year’s is normally a time for resolutions, and in 2021, resolve to take care of your physical and mental wellbeing.
Renew Your Health
Get With the Plan
Instead of paying attention to the scale, think about your health and move because it’s good for you. Keep motivated with a new workout routine, virtual program or app. Test out new things – what works for your best friend might not work for you.
“Begin by eliminating potential obstacles that will limit your success. Select a physical activity that you enjoy and can see yourself doing for the next 3-6 months. Anyone can do something for a week; however, to be consistent over time, you must be interested and enjoy what you are doing,” says Valorie Sonnemaker, the co-founder of Catalyst Fitness in Buckhead. “Select or create a time in your day that works for you. Find five days a week and ‘pen’ it into your life just as you would in advance for your child or spouse. Allow yourself to be OK with a 10-minute workout if that is all you have time for. Consistency is the key to long-term success.”
Take It a Step at a Time
“It’s important to view your fitness level as a part of your greater ‘whole.’ Being the best version of you includes physical health, emotional health, mental health, nutritional balance, sleep and recovery and work/life balance,” says Sonnemaker. “To gain control of all of these can be overwhelming. Your first step is to select one part of the ‘whole’ and work on it until success happens. Give yourself 30 days, making sure you start with one of the parts that you will have success with, and reward yourself when you achieve your goal.”
Turn Your Home into a Gym
You don’t have to pay for a home renovation to make at-home exercise easy. “Keep it simple,” says Sonnemaker. “Create a circuit using the Five Pillars of human movement. Almost any weighted object that can be held can be used as resistance – it doesn’t need to specifically be a fitness-based piece of equipment.”
The Five Pillars are:
- Locomotion: walking, running, speed-agility-quickness, balance
- Level change: squats, lunges, step-ups, jumping
- Push: horizontally and vertically
- Pull: horizontally and vertically
- Rotation/anti-rotation: core exercises
Up Your Dinner Game
Update your dinner routine with meal prepping or meal plans. Plan out your meals for the week before you go to the store, and have a game plan for each night. Delivery is fun, but reduce takeout to special occasions. Try a new cooking method with sheet pan meals, an Air Fryer or the Instant Pot.
Sneak healthier foods into your households. “To introduce healthier foods, eliminate the ones you can live without,” Sonnemaker says. “I always tell my clients, ‘If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it.’ Add veggies and fruits to your current family staples. It’s amazing how finely grated carrots hide in pasta sauce.”
Learn to Relax
Recommit to Yourself
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take time each week that’s just for you: take a bubble bath, read a chapter in a book, give yourself a manicure, or catch up on a guilty pleasure show. This pandemic has been hard and continues to be hard on everyone. Enjoy time to yourself without feeling guilty, as you deserve a break!
This resolution is also important when working on your fitness goals. “In order to be committed to your fitness plan, you need to first be committed to yourself,” Sonnemaker says. “Decide what’s truly important to you and then follow through. Remember that just like on an airplane with the overhead masks, it’s important to take care of yourself before you take care of others. It’s imperative that you make time and follow through with your workouts. Plan ahead, eliminate or reduce obstacles, and be flexible with the length of the session.”
Try Something New
Get creative with something you’ve always wanted to try – with or without kids. Remember, you don’t have to be the best at something to enjoy doing it. Join Skillshare to explore your creativity with tons of skills videos that you can follow along to, or search for free hobby videos on YouTube.
The idea of meditation can be overwhelming, but the best way to get used to it is through practice. With meditation, you focus on the breath, paying attention to when your mind wanders, which helps you stay mindful and develop your attention span. To begin, sit in a quiet place and set a small time limit for yourself. Pay attention to your breath, and when you find yourself going down a tangent, bring yourself back to the present. As you practice, you can set your timer for longer, but you have to start small before you’ll get better. Look for guided meditation or yoga practices on YouTube.
Nurture Your Emotional Health
- Create a support group of friends and family, and reach out to them when you’re feeling low.
- Tune in to your emotional wellbeing with the app MyLife, and character-based videos will help the younger ones in your family relax as well.
- Leave encouraging notes for your spouse and kids to find later.
- Drink more water.
- Start a budget.
- Create a gratitude journal.
- Get outdoors and take in some vitamin D as you walk, hike or bike.
- Work on your positivity. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others, rather than focusing on your failings.
- Make a weekly schedule, and cross items off your to-do list when you’ve done them. This will also help you set your priorities, and say no to new responsibilities when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Catch some Zzz’s. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Avoid using electronics for an hour before bedtime.
Divvy Up Responsibilities
Assign chores to the kids, whether it’s making their own lunches, clearing the table, vacuuming or washing the dishes. Keep a checklist of responsibilities, and assign prices to the chore for an allowance. Younger kids can set the table, sort laundry, sweep and clean bedrooms. Teach older kids how to wash clothes, cook, wash the car and iron, and assign them one night to be responsible for creating dinner.
-Emily Webb and Mary Williams