5 Tips to end the year as you wish to begin it …

This time of year many of us are feeling unraveled, frazzled and like we’re holding on by a thread! 2017 has been a tough year globally, and for may people personally too. Certainly here in South Africa it has not been easy, and we know that there’s more to come. We start wondering if we’re going to be able to do this all again next year. It seems like another monumental mountain to climb! Below are 5 tips which I hope you’ll enjoy. If you introduce them into your holiday season, whether at home or away, they will help you to truly restore and replenish and to end your year in the way you’d like to start 2018!

1. Start a Gratitude Jar. Put out a jar and some paper next to it. Encourage friends and family to write something each day to put into the jar. Every so often take down the jar, grab a handful of notes and read them, on your own or as a family. Or go around the table at dinner and each say something that you’re grateful for from the day. Gratitude literally rewires our brain for happiness, and improves our health and wellbeing. It’s one of the most important skills we can teach our children. And it keeps us grounded in our blessings while we can become overly focused on the family dramas that can arise with this festive season.

2. Take Mindful Moments during the day. Life passes us by so quickly and unless we take conscious pauses to stop and absorb it, we’re in danger of missing the beauty and awe-inspiring moments that surround us every day. So, when you see a beautiful sky or an endearing look on your child’s face, when you smell a delicious meal or make yourself a cup of coffee, pause for a moment to really be open to it, to be fully present for it and to feel gratitude for it. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says “The little moments? The little things? They’re not little. They’re your life!”

3. Try a Meditation Minute. Start the day by lying in bed or sitting somewhere quiet and watching your breath. And every time your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Just for one minute. And maybe that will lead to two or five minutes, maybe it will stay just a one minute, but enjoy the breathing space. Or try a guided meditation like Calm, Headspace or one on the Insight Timer.

4. Consciously create space in your life, in your head and in your heart. The holiday season can be busy and fun, especially if you’re away with friends and family! It can pass by in a whirlwind of lunches, drinks and dinners and when January rolls around you can be left feeling “Where did the holiday go? Was that my rest and replenishment for 2018?” We have to consciously carve out some white space just to be alone, some unscheduled time to rest and relax, perhaps to journal and reflect on the year and to build our vision for 2018. For it’s in this time that we can rest, recuperate and recharge, and where our spontaneous creativity can happen.

5. Have fun! In one of my latest blogs “What’s so exciting about Nitric Oxide?” I explain why it’s so important for us to find joy and pleasure in our lives. It literally allows our cells to thrive as opposed to decay. Nitric Oxide is released during pleasurable or healthful activities like laughter, exercise, orgasm, meditation and whenever we’re having fun – times when we allow ourselves to be present and really immerse in and enjoy life. It’s when we’re not living life from the sidelines but when we’re involved and enjoying our lives and our bodies. It’s when we connect with our joy.

This blog is as much inspiration for me as it is hopefully for you. So I’m off to make our Gratitude Jar. I wish you all a joyful and gratitude-filled Christmas time and festive season, wherever you are and however you may be celebrating, and I look forward to connecting with you again in the new year!

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