So another whole year is about to have passed. Done. Completed. Been and gone. It probably comes as no surprise that a year can easily slip by – with full calendars and busy schedules, ‘not enough time’, and epidemic proportions of stress and poor lifestyle – related disease, it’s no secret we’re all living life way faster than intended. Slow down is the mantra of the moment, but it’s uttered in a world that insists on instant gratification, ‘hacking’ everything from beauty regimes and body (care) to meal prepping and weekly planning, and with the average person having five social media accounts, spending 1 hour 40 minutes browsing them per day (which is probably five more than the number of real people we truly connect to on a genuine social level in one whole day).
Modern life is full of paradoxes; so many more of us are practicing Yoga, but so many more of us are living lives that are so not yogic. So many more of us are reportedly being ‘mindful’ and living more purposefully, having digital detoxes and living ‘naturally’, but still clinging to the need for social acceptance and approval by sharing it across every online platform available. I am 100% not simply saying “modern life is rubbish”, nor am I naively stating that everything ‘Eastern’ and shrouded in mystery and ritual is ‘ better’ than what we in the West are doing now. Because we’re all very good at doing that – at saying how terrible we are compared to other cultures. It’s time to accept and learn in order to cultivate change.
Christmas is often a time of both chaos and quietness – of time away from work or study routines, celebrations with friends and family, indulgent food, too many drinks, abundance, and those strange few days between Christmas and new year, when it’s too early to take down the decorations and not yet time for promises of dieting and detoxing. It’s these limbo days when we can momentarily contemplate and observe the challenges and lessons that have appeared throughout the year, practice gratitude and acceptance, letting go and learning to forgive, setting the next year’s intentions and making decisions as to what’s worth bringing into 2018. Even whilst washing the dishes and clearing away wrapping paper – this time can be used for deep thinking, and for practicing rituals to make peace with one year and move on to the next.
Make A ‘Done’ List
To Do lists are what it’s all about during the week; errands to run, people to see, deadlines and meetings, and that’s without including fitting in those all-important Yoga classes, gym time and me-time. Take a break from the rush to ‘get things done’, and instead list 5 things you’re proud of having done this year.
Fill one bag with charity donations
So you’ve probably just been gifted a heap of new items – clothes, household goodies or those things you wonder what you’ll ever do with. Now’s the time to adopt the ‘one in, out rule’, and get rid of one bag of items you haven’t used for the past 6 months.
Sage is well known amongst the ‘woo woo’ crowd as an energetic cleansing herb, but it’s also literally brilliant for clearing and purifying the air. You’ve probably just had a lot of guests in our house, or spend time around a lot of other people. Use sage to cleanse yourself so you aren’t weighed down with other people’s energy, and especially if you’ve had the windows closed this Winter, use it to clean stagnant air. To bring in a dose of positivity – burn palo santo wood afterwards.
Open The Windows
Another way to clear out old energy is to simply open the windows. This was always traditionally done hundreds of years ago when someone died at their home – in order to let their soul pass from the house to the outside. As this year passes on, let the old energy from your home out of the window, and let in a burst of fresh new air. Just 15 minutes is enough to allow a good amount of air in.
Move The Furniture or Re-arrange Decorations
As the practices of feng shui teach us, the way we arrange the home can hugely impact the way we feel. You don’t need to paint the walls or buy new furniture in order to refresh the feel of a room; simply change the colour scheme slightly by adding different throws or cushions, or hang pictures on different walls. Let in more light by fully opening blinds and curtains, but maintain warming tones like gold, mustard, oranges and deep red to stay warm during late Winter months. If you’re looking to bring in more conversation and connection with the ones you live with, arrange furniture to create more opportunities for this to happen – chairs facing each other or a welcoming dinner table. Placing a shoe rack near the front door – thus encouraging everyone to take off their shoes upon entering the house – can help keep your home a contained sacred sancturary, as the energy of other people and places isnt’ literally walked all over your floors.
Write a letter of forgiveness
Repressed or negative emotions can be some of the biggest causes of discomfort and disease. Resentment and anger in particular can be incredibly detrimental to the body by raising levels of inflammation, hampering digestion and increasing blood pressure. Habits form easily, and once resentment and anger has been festering within the body for a while, it’s easy to feel easily angered and resentful about other aspects of life. To prevent feelings turning to full-blown illness, release them ASAP. This practice in particular is important to literally write down. Find just 10 minutes to do this and you’ll be glad you did. Think of someone or something (It could even be yourself) who you’ve been holding deep resentment or anger against for a long time, and forgive them. Write the letter and either burn it, shred it or send it.
Drink This Detox Drink and This Elixir
Write A ‘To Do’ List
Not for every single thing you’re going to need to get done in 2018, but for those five big things you intend to include in the year. This could be anything from a dream holiday, approaching your boss for a promotion or pay rise, studying something you’ve always loved, or a feeling you want to cultivate; contentment, happiness, comfort, confidence, independence or strength.