Four quick tips for new beginnings in 2021
Even though we have been waiting for 2020 to be long gone, last year’s challenges are following us into 2021. So, here are everyday tips to move past “surviving and into thriving” as we wait for the pandemic to end soon!
My following tips are not about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve seen how often resolutions don’t stick past, let’s say, January. This is very common. What I believe may work better is changing through small actions, and these actions can add up over time into positive shifts.
1. Keep your packable exercise equipment nearby
We all know exercise is important, but it’s hard to get started. I am pleased to say that I now workout every day. It didn’t happen all at once. Here are some ideas to get into the exercise habit:
Set a time and promise yourself you’ll workout even if it’s the smallest amount of time. Ten sit ups?
Keep your workout items easily accessible. I use a nearby cabinet.
Clear out a space, even your garage, and make it a gym. If you have kids, encourage them to use it too.
Can you use your backyard during the winter for exercise? For example, you could buy a packable slack line and set it up, making it kid friendly. Or set up a relay course.
I’ve personally been participating in live online Zoom workouts to keep myself accountable. Many of our local fitness studios have transitioned to online classes to keep their businesses afloat and support their community. A few of my favorites to get a sweat-sesh are:
Chief Battle Fitness. Has both in-person (outdoors) classes & Zoom live workouts.
YouTube also has a plethora of workouts posted that you can follow along with in your own home. Yoga by Adriene is very popular with a wide variety of classes.
Even some small physical exercise reduces stress and makes us feel good.
2. Five-minute micro moment - take time to recharge
Most of us are poor at taking care of ourselves, slowing down, even if it’s just for five minutes:
Try setting a phone reminder for you for a time in the day when you can give to yourself recharging time.
Start with five minutes; meditating, breathing, checking how you feel, or just staring through your favorite window.
I find there is a difference between relaxing and recharging. Recharging gives me energy to face my next few tasks. Recharging has intention beyond just relaxation. I find it is not time-based but intention centric. It’s not about recovering; it’s investing in “me”.
What is your way to recharge? Baths? Listening to music? Cooking? Meditating? Laughing? I enjoy playing on the floor with my daughter. I love connecting with her playfulness.
But I need space just for me too. Every morning I meditate for 10 minutes using the CALM app. I also use a daily checklist that has journal prompts that help center me, and I invite you to use it here. Spending less time online, away from the news, or taking a break from movies or online series works for me.
3. 2021 random acts of kindness outside of the home
I find that through the spirit of giving back, my energy within the house is more positive. That spirit infuses into my family life and into the home. When I give, I notice how much I get back. It can be a real high. Currently my favorite ways to give to the community are not available. So, I’ve needed to rethink what I do.
I have a little free library in front of our house and I love seeing people take my time-to-let-go book treasures and make it theirs. I get a high from contributing in this small way. A free library is just one idea which has worked for me. If you want to find a Little Free Library near you, check out this map.
Here are some other ideas:
Send out home-made cards to all your friends for Valentine's Day.
Post a cartoon (or Bernie meme) on Facebook.
Thank a grocery clerk for working during the pandemic.
Pack a bag of groceries for those in need.
Give out granola bars to homeless at a highway on-ramp.
Write cards to an elderly relative.
Donate to a local company who is providing free lunches for kids such as Beaverton Coffee shop Lion Heart Coffee.
Clean out the closets and bring your new/gently used kids clothes (grades K-12) over to Clothes for Kids sponsored by the Beaverton School.
Collect rocks and paint them! Then hide them along walking trails for others to find. Here are a couple of rocks our family has painted and collected over the past few months:
Find just one small thing you could do and put it on the calendar. Keep it doable. Include your family in the giving so it becomes part of your family culture and life.
4. 2021 random acts of happiness inside the home
We can all get caught up in waiting for something to happen to us, and then we find ourselves living a mundane existence at home. Here are some ideas to keep things fresh:
Put on the music while doing the dishes. Make dish times happy times.
Surprise a family member with that special foamed latte or hot chocolate on a weekend.
Have an impromptu dance party. “Hey Alexa, play dance music!”
Create non-electronic routines in the house. Put down the phones and talk. Play a game. At our house, we have been enjoying puzzles, movie night (blankets, popcorn, candy) and Pictionary with our 6 year old.
Practice celebration, appreciation, for the small things well done. For parents, you could, for example, celebrate each of your kid’s art of the month with a special frame, changing the art out when each month ends.
Finally, take the time to print out all those wonderful family photos, frame them, and put them on the wall for your family to enjoy. I’ve been loving how quickly Walgreens prints photos (less than 5 hours) and I’ve been picking up beautiful frames from quick trips to Target. ** Pro-tip, I’ve been using Command strips to hang my frames, this way you can easily remove the frame from the wall without leaving a bunch of holes. Trust me, you will thank me after the 5th time of not quite getting it right.
Create a family vision board. Spend time together going through magazines or printing out pictures that depict your family 2021 goals, for example, learning to ride a bike, family vacations, redecorating the living room, planting a garden, etc.. Don’t forget to post your final product on a wall where your family will see it often.
What is your vision of the right home for you? I'd love to hear more.
What’s working in the pandemic within your home space? Or what dreams do you now have? I would love to hear from you, including anything that has struck you about these tips.