January 01st, 2021
Own Your Year – Wellness in the #NewNormal
Do you expect 2021 to be a continuation of 2020 woes?
Do you think of it as a chance to shake it off, set goals and start afresh?
If you are of the #NewYearNewMe camp, you are MORE than ready for a fresh start in 2021 – a “do-over” of 2020, which somehow feels like “the year that never was” while simultaneously “the year we’ll never forget”. Baffling at how this is even possible!
What better way to start the New Year than to infuse wellness into the #NewNormal in ALL aspects of our lives – work and play - which means arming ourselves with tools for the job! And bonus, getting our wellness in check will serve the dual purpose of allowing us to #PrepareForTheUnexpected – let’s not repeat 2020!
To begin, an overview of what we mean by “Wellness” (this is not only about exercise):
It is generally accepted that there are 8 aspects of Wellness that account for one’s overall wellbeing. These are: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, occupational and environmental.
To keep things simple, we have grouped these into 3 categories:
Mind: Mental/Emotional/Spiritual/Social Wellness
Body: Physical/Environmental Wellness
Work: Financial/Occupational Wellness
To help you with your fresh start, we have provided below our top 10 Wellness tools for each category ~ a virtual “checklist” if you will! Refer to this anytime you are feeling stuck or drained, adding wellness to your daily practices can make all the difference!
- Meditate: Try guided meditation or meditation through action, like walking or colouring, or whatever appeals to you that you will actually do! This subtle but powerful tool can give your brain a much needed break in the midst of the stressors of life, and allow you to face them anew. If this is new to you, start with 2 minutes and best done first thing in the morning. The most important thing about meditation is to focus on the breath.
- Journal: Get the mental clutter out on paper – those reoccurring would-have-could-have-should-have thoughts. You might be surprised at what comes to light through free-writing. Pro tip: a cheap notebook is a great way to let loose if you are new to writing, it takes away some of the pressure of having to write well…
- Try Something New: Experiment - creative expression is linked to overall wellbeing. It can be something that really challenges your mental capacity, like a new language - to something as simple as a new recipe, and anything in between! A fun idea is to brainstorm a list of ideas that hold your fancy, writing each idea on a small piece of paper, then fold each one and drop them in a cup, pulling one out at random whenever you feel stuck or stumped! The goal here is to push yourself to explore and try new things, stimulating your brain in creative and unexpected ways.
- Take YOU Time – Seriously: PUT IT ON THE SCHEDULE. Make time to enjoy the things you already love - ie. gardening, reading, writing, cooking shows, crossword puzzles, hiking. Taking time out to breathe and (re)connect with your true self is like breathing into the oxygen mask on the plane before helping others… your needs must be taken care of before you can help anyone else, or you won’t have anything left to give!
- Practice Gratitude - actively look for silver linings: Get a small notebook, jot the date, and 3 things you are grateful for – every day! Repetition is okay. (This can also include acknowledging your achievements big or small – sometimes it’s the little wins that make the difference!)
- Get Social: Social interactions are important in the “MIND” category for so many reasons, but especially because A) they reinforce you aren’t alone in the world, and B) conversations can inspire ideas and motivation, even if it’s just to accomplish household chores! And if you spend time with a funny friend, you get the added bonus of laughter, which boosts the immune system, diminishes pain, reduces stress, and more! One less expected way to get social is to join a club. Book clubs that meet monthly on zoom, volunteer groups that do good for a cause. . . poker, writing, singing, art, fitness – there are clubs for nearly everything~ !
“Laughing can serve you in dark moments and even help you crawl your way back out.” – Ryan Reynolds
- Talk: To a counsellor, therapist, or a super solid grounded friend. Talking is so important and helps you sort out all kinds of things – life goals, purpose, roadblocks, ridding of negative energy by simply venting, etc. Sometimes even just saying things out loud, a.k.a. talking to yourself, helps! So go ahead, put on the headphones, take a walk, and let people think you are talking to a friend! Don’t worry, we won’t tell. . .
- Take Mindful Breaks: These can uplift your spirit and fill your soul! Soak up the good things - relaxing in a cafe and watching the world go by, taking a forest walk, listening to your favourite beats, escaping into a good book or movie, taking in an art show (virtual or otherwise). These are like free mental mini-vacations that can leave you feeling refreshed and connected to yourself and your community.
- Make Lists! Get to Know Yourself: Jot down (5-10 each) of your goals, values, boundaries (be sure to include avoiding toxic people as a boundary!), possible personal mantras (ie.“I am Strong, I am Fearless, I am Beautiful.”, because YOU ARE!), favourite things that relax you or inspire you, even list your mental cues (paying attention to things that trigger you can allow you to recognize anxiety or stress before it happens and make a shift, which can potentially help alleviate a lot of anxiety.)
- Spread the Love: Two ideas to consider 1) Volunteer – giving your time is truly a gift of love, and 2) Send thank you cards - make someone’s day by letting them know you are thankful for something they did, or for them just being them!
- Move!: Something as simple as a walk around the block gets your blood flowing (heart health) and oxygen pumping (lung health). It does wonders for your mental health also! Changing your scene can shake you out of a mental rut – PLUS no more end-of-day regret from not fitting any exercise in – walking counts!) Another pro tip: Here are some ideas on how you can sneak movement into your day: Use the stairs, park far away, bike to work, 10 squats pre-shower, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth, there are all kinds of fun ways! Alternatively, you can opt for more formal types of movement like Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, kickboxing, running, etc.
- Sleep: For a lot of people this is easier said than done, with external stressors keeping you up at night, or getting caught up in a good movie, book, visit, bottle of wine . . . while still having to get up early to do it all over again tomorrow! Sleep is really one of the top aspects of physical health though – for a reason. When you are sleeping your body has a chance to reset & heal, and when you are well rested you have improved cognition, mood, immunity, and more.
- Stretch: DAILY! We’re not necessarily talking about setting a timer, following a video, or doing every-part-of-your-body stretching (though of course that would be ideal!) – we just mean streeeeeetchhhh. . . reach for the sky, touch your toes (or as near as you can), and HOLD! Even just for a minute a few times a day, your body will thank you!
- Do Weight Bearing Exercise: Strengthen your muscles and bones! It can aid weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve your balance, and just overall make you feel good! Always consult a professional, keep good form, and remember:
“Training in a positive environment promotes everyone’s success (and success doesn’t always mean body composition changes)!” @cassiedayyy
- Drink Water: We all know the human body is composed mostly of water…and drinking water is good for us, but why? Drinking at least 8 cups of water daily improves function of ALL of your organs (including your skin!), it helps maintain bowel function, nutrient absorption, body temperature, lubricated joints, blood pressure… and more (but that’s probably enough!)
- Eat a Plant Rich Diet: And don’t be afraid to spice it up! Aiming for your plate to be 80% veg might sound unappealing to some, but coming from the other side, we wonder “how can you not?”. Join us! It’s fun over here! Vegetables are so diverse and can be mixed and matched in countless ways. But we understand if this doesn’t come easily to you, and if that’s the case, just don’t forget to supplement with vitamins and minerals…. Especially Omegas and Vit D! (and while we’re talking food - don’t ignore portion control – you are the boss of your plate! Make sure your #caloriescount! Something your body can use for fuel, not for fat!
- Limit Toxins: From processed food, alcohol and cigarettes (of course), but also the sneakier ones - like those in common household products, such as dish and laundry soaps, shampoos and conditioners and things that are supposed to CLEAN! This is where we come into play! Live for Tomorrow doesn’t have ANY of the bad-bad things – completely vegan, and plant and mineral based - with none of the following. Check your product labels – if they contain any of these things you might want to consider making a switch:
- * NO Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
- * NO Chlorine
- * NO Phosphates
- * NO Palm Oil
- * NO Synthetic fragrances
- * NO Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
- * NO Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)
- * NO known carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins listed by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, or the European Union’s REACH.
- Relax: Doctors orders! Treat yourself to massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, even just hot baths or showers strictly for pleasure! This slows your heart rate, releases tension, reduces blood pressure and can lead to a calmer, clearer mind, improving memory and mental function.
- Have Sex: The scandal! Seriously though – the holy trifecta of weight bearing, stretching and cardiovascular exercise, all in one! (And pleasure of course!) And the beauty of this is, you don’t HAVE to have a partner to play!
- Dance: like no one is watching! Y-M-C-A all day in the comfort of your home office. Floss, whip/nae nae, git up, OR old school twist, jive, cha cha cha, chassé! Really, just set a timer, get up from your desk and let the spirit move you!
(5 financial tips, 5 occupational tips)
- Knowledge is Power: Talk to a financial advisor and make a financial plan! There are people out there whose sole job is to help you! Call your (or another) bank to make an appointment. Before you go, start with looking at bank websites – often with a link to “advice centre” or “financial planning” – doing this bit of leg work first helps you get more specific with what you are looking for from an advisor. Willingly letting yourself fall down the TikTok rabbit-hole can be more educational than you think. (But be sure to fact check your TikTok inspirations!) Talk with friends – they might have ideas or answers that you wouldn’t have thought of! (Both about jobs and about finances.) Making a plan and knowing you are moving forward can help you adopt a positive - you-can-do-it mindset, and that’s where the magic happens! This helps to banish toxic money thoughts, let go of the need of avoiding to look at your bank account, and that gut-punch feeling when you even THINK about finances.
- Make it Automatic: Autopay bills, auto transfer a determined amount to your savings account each month… And have a separate account for savings - even a different bank! Autopaying can save you loads in interest, fees and general debt - and definitely helps improve your credit score.
- Organize: List! Expenses, income, goals – this gives you an idea of where you might have room to save or splurge. File! Paper bills and receipts into a file folder, digital bills to virtual folders – get it all in one place! This makes life So. Much. Easier. Especially at tax time, but also unexpected times throughout the year…
- Pay Attention: LearnVest Founder / CEO Alexa von Tobel recommends a “Daily Money Minute”: A 60-second daily action of checking on your financial transactions can help identify problems immediately—and just really keeps you connected to your goals, reducing your urge to splurge! More than that, schedule reminders into your calendar: RRSP deadline, taxes, financial check ins... just like you would schedule a check-up with your doctor, or a tune up for your car.
- Make a Financial Vision Board (get specific): Allow yourself to daydream - What fun! Search used magazines for images that capture your imagination (try to stick to ones that are attainable)… a stylishly arranged interior, a vacation by the lake, any particular fashion pieces, . . .keeping your “eye on the prize” helps you both be clear in your goals and stay on track a.k.a. stick to your budget!
“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
– Gloria Steinem
- Occupational Happiness: A high-level checklist: Does your job make you happy? Do you find it motivating and interesting? Do you feel good at the end of the day about what you have accomplished? Do you feel appreciated, valued, a part of a team? Do you get to celebrate achievements? Do you have space where you can fully relax on your breaks and feel safe? Do you get to take your required breaks?
Be clear on what makes you happy and where the pain points are. Are they negotiable? If not, maybe it is time to look for a change.
- Honour Your Calling: If it is important to you to tap into your true talents, it is worth considering how you can incorporate this into your job. Assess whether you can use more of your natural skills in your current job – ie. could your skills with photography or writing help with social marketing, even if you work behind a counter? Could your people skills be better utilized in a customer support role, even if you are a desk jockey?
Or, maybe you need to start something outside your 9-5, as a #sidehustle, with a goal of working toward full time. Resources online such as “skillshare.com” can help explore this and learn the admin skills to turn your passion into a business.
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It is why you were born and how you become most truly alive.” – Oprah Winfrey
- Set Occupational Goals: Do you want to advance to a higher position, or a higher salary, or would being able to go home at the end of the day, and not take work with you make a positive difference in your life? Are there opportunities available that you aren’t taking advantage by way of education or training? Checking in with yourself on your goals and ambitions can help bring clarity and balance to all aspects of your life.
- Communication: It is important that you can clearly communicate with others at your workplace. Consider what you need to express and how you can do it to be heard. This might involve writing things down and getting really clear on what you want to get across and setting a time for a 1-on-1 with a manager or fellow employee. Remember that effective communication is a two-way street, the sender is responsible to make sure the receiver has got the message and the receiver is responsible to get clarification on anything that is not understood. Clarity in communication is especially important with project efficiency, overcoming road blocks, and also for negotiating tasks and processes (and salaries!).
- Speak Up: Does your workplace honour diversity and inclusivity? It is important to feel safe, respected and valued at your job. You spend such a large part of your life at work, this is a non-negotiable! And the government has your back on this. Where you have questions, you can look up national and provincial employment standards for specific answers. If you feel that changes need to be made, it is up to you to be proactive, as sometimes things so clear to you, might not be clear to those above you. Always start the conversation internally, by opening a discussion with your senior or manager, but if there is a problem in that area you may need to reach higher and get an appointment with their senior or manager, unless you have an HR person, and then they are the way to go.
Stay tuned for more articles to come!
Written by Beth @ LFT