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Here’s How to Start 2021 with Kindness and Mindfulness

By Carrie Havranek
December 28, 2020
Photo Credit: Marti Sans

It’s natural to feel all the feels on New Year’s Day. The holidays seem to serve up every emotion and the first day of the new year is no exception. Its arrival signals both an end and a beginning; the holidays are over, but a new, blank slate stretches out ahead of us. This can be invigorating and inspiring, stressful and sad, or somewhere in between. Or all of the above! I’ve certainly been there.

Over the years, I’ve devised some ways to be kinder to myself (and by proxy, those around me) on New Year’s Day. Mostly, they involve resisting the urge to get back to normal or to be a better version of me. Instead, I’ve learned to ease into the newness on my own terms, with the goal of being present, staying grounded, and also allowing for some play time.

1. Don’t take the tree down just yet.

Resist the urge to strip the house of holiday spirit. Even if there are needles everywhere, it can wait until tomorrow. Or Sunday. Instead, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, sit in front of the tree (with the lights turned on), and live one more day with the beauty. How is that ever a bad idea?

2. Go for a beautiful walk.

If the weather allows it, there’s something that just feels right about going for a walk or a hike on New Year’s Day. Starting the year by engaging with nature is good on so many levels. There’s the fresh air, of course, but also that sense of exploration that gets you out of your head. Because being in nature, on a trail, walking around, navigating uneven terrain, perhaps, forces you to be mindful of your environment, of where you are and who you are in comparison to the world around you.

Can’t get outside? Here are 5 Easy Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Day

3. Cook something nourishing in the slow cooker.

Before you go for that beautiful walk, set yourself up for success by starting a nourishing, cozy meal in the slow cooker. The smallest bit of effort early in the day allows you to reap the reward of coming home to a house that smells great thanks to a meal that’s waiting for you to enjoy. Something about a hearty soup feels just right.

Need some ideas? 10 Healthy Cozy Slow Cooker Soups

4. Settle in for a marathon.

I’m not talking about the running kind; I’m talking about a movie marathon, or a gaming marathon, or a puzzling marathon. This is a great day to binge-watch all the Star Wars movies, or maybe a whole bunch of old movies, or a really delicious Netflix series. You know what’s in your queue. Or, perhaps in your house, it’s more your speed to play Monopoly or any number of classic or new board or card games. The point is to embrace this day off, to give yourself permission to binge-read the entire Twilight series, if that is what your heart so desires.

5. Move your mind.

I like to make sure at some point on New Year’s Day, to engage in some kind of mindfulness exercise. It gives me an opportunity to move through whatever is going on in my life at the time. That might be journaling some ideas and intentions for the New Year, or working through things on a deeper, more intangible level through meditation. These activities provide the opportunity to reflect, go deeper, and release whatever doesn’t serve you anymore, so you’ll be more prepared for whatever January 2 (and thereafter) serves up to you.

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