"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." —Lao Tzu
A novel idea. A fresh perspective. Seeing something with new eyes.
It's common to crave a sense of renewal in the New Year—especially after a year like 2020. For many of us, our day-to-day circumstances have remained the same going on a year now. We may still be working remotely, parenting full time at home, or learning from our living rooms. And while we may feel stuck and stagnant, we can still cultivate a sense of newness without leaving our house. If we turn our focus inward, we can find ways to feel refreshed in 2021—regardless of circumstance.
Why seek a sense of renewal?
Renewal, as a concept, can seem a little abstract; it doesn't imply any specific action, rather just the idea to "make like new." So then, how do we "make like new"? Here are some ways that you can cultivate a renewal practice this New Year.
Renew the Mind
Mentally and emotionally, 2020 was a lot. Between a stressful political election, the pandemic, and being stuck in your house for months, it's likely that your emotional and mental health could use some renewal. Here are a few ways to freshen things up.
- Declutter your house. We know that there are mixed opinions about Mari Kondo's saying, "Does it spark joy?" But anyone who has ever spent a weekend deep cleaning their space knows she's onto something. In fact, there are scientific studies to back it up. Having a clean and uncluttered space has a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. By giving your home a refresh, you can help renew your mind as well.
- Find a reason to celebrate. Once a month or once a week (or however often you feel like it), find something to celebrate. This can be a personal success (big or small) or something you or a loved one is excited about. It can really be about anything! Creating a celebration ritual is a wonderful way to bring new positive energy into your mental and emotional states.
Renew the Body
2020 was a challenging year for our bodies. Our normal exercise routines changed dramatically. Gyms closed. Yoga studios went remote. Races and athletic competitions were canceled. Getting outside for a jog required wearing a mask. Some were scrambling to buy home-exercise machines while others simply tried to adjust to a new normal. Here are some simple things you can do to help your body feel renewed.
- Start your morning with a stretch. For those who need to find easy and quick ways to get into their bodies, beginning the day with some simple stretches is a good option. Stretching increases your blood flow and energy and improves your posture. It's a manageable way to help your body feel renewed each day.
- Take a walk in nature. Creating a habit of walking in nature is a wonderful gift of renewal for your body. A study by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health found that individuals who spend at least two hours a week in local parks or natural environments report better physical health and psychological wellbeing than those who don't. Plus, it's a great excuse to take a break from your phone.
Renew the Spirit
Whatever your spiritual beliefs may be, the New Year is an excellent time to consider new and old ideas that can refresh your spirit. Cultivating a practice that feeds your spirit can help you find greater meaning in life and improve your general wellbeing. Here are two ideas to get started.
- Make a wish. Seriously. When was the last time you made a wish? It might sound silly, but regularly acknowledging what your heart wants is a great way to revive your spirit.
- Start or renew a spiritual practice. This could look like joining a church group or merely meditating a couple of times a week. Adopting (or reestablishing) a discipline or habit that allows you to cultivate a sense of meaning and meaning or connect with your community can be a fulfilling way to renew your spirit.
There are many ways to bring renewal into your daily life—these are just some ideas to get you started. What’s most important is simply your intention to do so. By whatever means you find renewal this new year, we hope that it helps you feel a greater sense of wellness during these winter months.