The new year is almost here! Let's talk about three steps that will help you end 2018 and better prepare yourself for the new year. From gratitude to planning for success and remembering the importance of self-care, the Collective Health Center will give you the tools necessary to live a happier and healthier life in 2019.

1) Gratitude

What went well for you in 2018? What are the top three things in your life for which you grateful every day? Keeping in mind what is going right in your world brings perspective for what we value and can help us in creating goals for the new year with these in the forefront. If you are interested in learning more about gratitude from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective and how you can implant these practices into your life during the new year, click here.

2) Planning for success

Often what gets in the way of us achieving our goals is the lack of preparedness or scheduling. For example, the transition from warm weather to frigid can discourage continued outdoor exercise for some of us to the point we might fall off the exercise bandwagon all together or not making the time to do the all-important food preparation, can lead to more eating out and unhealthy food choices. These are a few common life examples I often hear from my patients that are obstacles to them achieving their health goals. During the new year, if you have a lifestyle change goal in mind, what can you do with your schedule to help you achieve this goal? Is this something you can commit to putting on your calendar now? If not, what is getting in the way? If you commit and schedule yourself, then you are much more likely to succeed. What can you commit to and schedule now, so that in January you are prepared and ready to move forward with your goals? I’ve listed some ideas below:

  • Schedule time for meal planning, weekly or monthly, maybe using a helpful recipe and grocery list tool like: https://realplans.com/. Ensure there are always homemade frozen meals on hand for weeks where you get too busy and skip food prep. Daily Harvest meals are a good option, if you prefer to purchase for the convenience.
  • Schedule fitness class(es) or gym times so as not to let the cold weather impede your movement. Shop for some warm walking gear so that you can walk outside, even in the cold, if a gym may not be an option for you.
  • Schedule regular, weekly time to engage in your community. Whether it’s connecting with a spiritual family, or with people in group exercise classes, club sports, book club, or volunteering our time in the services of others, the less isolated we are and the more connect we are with people, the more we ourselves feel better and we actually can help prevent most of the chronic disease by avoiding loneliness and isolation.

3) Self-care

We cannot take care of others if we are not taking care of ourselves. Selfcare takes many forms for different people.This new year, make it an important everyday practice. Some selfcare, like exercise, we do because it’s good for us, but some of us don’t love doing it. The type of self-care I am referring to here is the enjoyable type that nourishes and restores the soul. However, for most of us, if we don’t schedule this it’s not going to happen, so planning and scheduling for success, is essential!

  • When we feel good on the outside this truly helps us feel good on the inside. Make time for skin, hair and more natural nail care
  • 10 to 20 minutes of meditation, breathing, yoga, and/ or prayer that can easily be done as part of a daily practice. This is a vital way to protect your mental health from everyday stress.
  • Schedule regular acupuncture, naturopathic care, massage, counselling, health or life coaching… It is beyond time to break the sickness model that encourages us to wait until we are fully broken to get some support. Most of us believe in prevention and so we should put this into practice for ourselves, families and communities – when we thrive, all benefit.

Dr. Sarah Giardenelli is a Naturopathic Doctor & Acupuncturist at her private practice, Collective Health Center, in Leesburg, Virginia. She partners with patients to optimize their health using a personalized natural medicine approach. Are you struggling with chronic disease and looking to get help from a different perspective or are in good health already and looking to optimize? Regardless of where you are on the journey towards health and wellness, Dr. Sarah is happy to partner with you. More information on Dr. Sarah’s practice can be found at www.collectivehealthcenter.com.

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