Since we’re all still on that ‘New Year, New Me’ buzz, I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you some of the practical things I do to keep spiritually, emotionally and physically healthy.
Become a morning person
I know this is easier said than done, but there’s something about waking up early that I finds helps me feel a little more excited and positive about the day. I’m more cheerful, more productive, and I just find I’m a better person overall than when I laze in bed until the final alarm goes off. The key to becoming a morning person is very simple: go to bed earlier. I actually have a bedtime alarm on my iPhone that goes off at 9 to remind me to start winding up whatever activity I’m doing so I can get to bed by 10pm, and get in the 7 hours I need to be up by 5am at the latest.
Light it up.
No, I don’t mean do drugs. Drugs are bad, kiddos. I mean make sure that wherever you are, you’re getting lots of light. Light is known to boost your mood and help fight off depression (see: seasonal affective disorder) and so you want to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Bust open your windows in the morning and let it flood in. When it’s dark, cold and dreary outside, or super hot so you stay indoors, you can opt for bright white artificial lighting in your home that will keep you in a good mood
This is a triple whammy that will boost not only your emotional well-being but also your spiritual and physical well-being too. Your body is made up of mind, body and spirit, and all three need to be in top shape in order for them to function well individually. When you work out – especially in the morning – not only are you getting into physical shape, but your endorphins will put you in a pretty good mood, and when you feel great, you’re more likely to be nicer and serve better – getting to those Christ-like goals.
Start a Bible Plan
You’re not going to make it through 2017 spiritually fit unless you commit to reading your Bible daily – it has everything you need for every day life – and a Bible plan or daily devotional will help you do that. There are a dozen apps and books out there you can use to help you be consistent with it!
Leave some things – and people – behind in 2016
Looooook. You can’t walk into 2017 doing the same things you did with the same people last year and expect new results. People are not perfect, and I believe in loving everyone as they are, imperfections and all, but sometimes you gotta love them from AFAR. If there are people in your life who always make you feel bad, or you dread being around, or just don’t add any value to your life, it’s about time you let them go. Same with things and activities. Hebrews 12:1 says to ‘strip off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us’ so we can run this race. Note that not every weight is a sin!
This is one I just stumbled on, but it’s actually legit! Different essential oils can help you physically and emotionally. I bought a diffuser and a set of oils the other day instead of an air freshener and man, I don’t regret it. I had a cold, put on some lemon oil and my sniffling stopped almost instantly. My body was aching from a workout, popped in a couple drops of lemongrass oil while I slept and woke up in no pain. There are oils for all kinds of things: sleep, eczema, anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue etc etc. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Clean out your closet
There’s something about decluttering your life that declutters you mentally as well and allows you to have a clearer train of thought. 60% of my wardrobe currently hangs on a clothing rack in my room and consists of items of six colors: white, black, olive/army green, navy blue, gray, and taupe/nude. I may possibly throw in some red/burgundy soon, but these are basic colors that can easily be mixed and matched. When you declutter, you know where everything is, and have fewer options when it comes to outfits, so you spend less time changing your mind and make less of a mess. When you only keep the things you love and need, without needlessly replacing what you don’t, you’ll find life to be a lot simpler.
Ninety percent of the problems you face in life can usually be tied back to a lack of money, and as such be solved by simply spending less and saving more. Make a budget and keep to it. Never spend what you don’t have unless you can pay it off immediately. It’s OK to decline invitations to events if you don’t have the money or think it would be better spent elsewhere. It’s fine to wear the same outfit twice – you’re not a celebrity or a supermodel, and even THEY repeat outfits all the time. No, you do not need new shoes. And you won’t die if you aren’t able to go to that concert. As you grow you will have to learn how to prioritize your spending, and sometimes that means eating out only once a month so you can afford that trip to Santorini. C’est la vie!
Write it down.
I’m a big fan of writing things down – whether it’s my thoughts or my plans. It’s amazing to go back and be able to see how all the things you were stressing about or that were worrying you ended up working out for your good. When you write it down, you have something to reference in future to see how your prayers and dreams were answered – or perhaps thankfully not answered – and it strengthens your faith in God. And keeping a planner is sure to help you meet all your 2017 goals.
Learn to be Body Positive
This last year has taught me to love my body, no matter what it looks like, because it’s mine. I’ve also learnt to stop fat-shaming myself. Beauty doesn’t have a size, and you do not want to keep people around you who believe it does. Learn to love yourself as you are, wherever you are, even as you work on getting somewhere else if you want to. You’ll be a much happier person.
I have tried every meal plan/diet on the planet, and there was none more effective than when I cut out all soy, dairy, gluten, sugar and fried foods from my diet. Of course, it wasn’t sustainable because, life ya know? But it’s a good idea to cut out as many of these things as possible. Drop the fried foods and the sugars and opt for some kale. I promise, your body will thank you. You will have more energy to go about your day, and when you feel better, it’s easy to do better.
Drink hot water with lemon
Day and night. Your digestive system and waistline will thank you.
Learn to give to others, and understand that a true spirit of giving doesn’t require anything in return. You give simply because you have been blessed with the capacity to, and someone else is in need of it. This also goes to tithing – I think it’s the one discipline that causes Christians to miss out on a lot of what God has in store for them because they underestimate its power. Think about it: if you don’t let go of what is already in your hand, how can you expect God to give you more? Don’t fall into the trap of worshipping the gift more than the Giver. When you give back to God you are acknowledging the fact that you know that everything you have comes from Him and is His, and He honors that.
You will never grow as much emotionally or in your spiritual walk as when you take time to serve others. When you serve others and their dreams, God will grow and propel yours.
This is the most important one for 2017. We came out of the struggle that was 2016 and realized there’s no point in trying to be what you’re not, and if Trump winning the US election taught us anything, it’s that being your authentic self is the key to winning. No point in faking it! Do what makes YOU happy. Don’t live to please anyone but God. Just be exactly who God created you to be, and you’ll have a much better year.