Don't Call Them Resolutions

They aren't new year's resolutions, but I have recently come upon a few things I want to spend some time growing into habits in the coming year. The timing is mostly coincidental, aligning with either the weather or recent events and experiences. Each feeds my health in some way: mental, physical, or emotional—or all three. I've been calling them healthy habits, but maybe "habits for health" is a better term.
Why habits? Because as Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do."

Daily alternate nostril breathing
There are a few different ways to do this, and I learned about them in a pranayama/breathing workshop as part of my yoga teacher training. It's the kind of thing where sometimes you don't really realize how much you needed it until after you've done it, ya know? Each time I do it, I find that I've been more congested in one side and taking a few minutes to force breathing into both olfactory glands just immediately feels better. Trouble breathing deeply is also a frequent contributor to issues elsewhere, like when I'm running or trying to fall asleep. It takes a few minutes a day and can be done pretty much anywhere, and it just works. So I'm trying to make it a point. Because breathing is pretty important.

Like I said, there are multiple ways to do this. Option 1: simply hold a finger over one nostril and breathe through the other for 3 minutes. Switch sides and repeat. Option 2: breathe in through the left nostril (4 seconds), exhale through the right (8 seconds); breathe in through the right nostril (4), exhale through the left (8). Repeat. There are other variations of this that you can find easily by Googling, if you're interested in different holds and counts!

Green tea every day
Sometime in the last couple of weeks, my face started freaking out. As in, random breakouts in a concentrated area. It sucks. I made it through high school without any acne problems (though I did and still do have awfully dry skin and embarrassing dark under-eye circles, so I didn't get off scot-free.) but had a bad bout with hormonal acne flair up a few years ago, thanks to an under-the-radar switch in my birth control. This time around, there's been no such switch, and yet there's a constant appearance of blemishes on my left cheek.

Have you ever looked at face mapping? Basically, there are certain zones of your face that correspond with specific reasons for blemishes. I'm not sure of the scientific accuracy of face mapping, but anecdotally, I've always found it accurate for me personally. My most recent inquiry suggests, erm...OK, I can't put it delicately. It says "large intestine issues," basically, the answer to which my research suggests is a cleansing diet.

I've been eating pretty heavily lately—the result of winter's cold finally setting in, I think. Generally, I eat pretty healthily, though I'm certain there's room for clean-up. I'm just not making that room right now. Sorry, I'm not going on a sugar cleanse. But I am trying to add a cup of green tea to every day. It's not going to replace my morning coffee, or my other teas when I get the OTHER daily craving for lady grey or a cinnamonny black tea. But so far I've added a cup of green every day for a week and I haven't had a new blemish appear since—coincidence? Entirely possible. But let's pretend it isn't.

(PS—other reasons for a daily mug of green tea.)

Go outside, no matter what, at least once a day
This one probably sounds insane. But remember, I work from home, and I live in an apartment so I don't have a private yard, and I don't have a terrace. Some days, if I'm not going running or decide to practice yoga at home instead of the studio or (gasp!) take a rest altogether, there is literally no reason I have to be outside. Remember also, though...I live and work in a studio apartment. Sure, it's a bigger studio, and I get tons of great natural light in here, but still. I cannot just be in here all day every day. So even on the cold, rainy, snowy, crappy days, even if I have no actual reason to go anywhere, I'm getting myself outside. Even if it's just to walk the trash to the bins out back.

The truth is, I've had winter days where I don't leave the house at all...and on the one hand, it sounds great and cozy and whatever. But by dusk, I feel AWFUL that I didn't get myself out in the daylight even once. Doesn't matter how productive I've been indoors—it's just not enough.


I think it's worth noting that none of these things are drastic, life-altering steps if done once. It's the habit that makes them worthwhile. It's the repetitious act of things that bring about any kind of positive change. So if you're stuck on setting yourself lofty goals for the year and have no idea how to really reach them, what if you started by asking yourself what is one, small thing you can do each day toward that goal? These are mine.

Comments

  1. During the winter living the in the North it's so important to go outside...we often feel like we can't because it's so cold...but we have to!!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. I just tried the alternate nostril breathing and really liked it. I can see how there are benefits to doing it daily. It took my mind off my raging headache so that was an added benefit for me! I LOVE green tea, especially the ones that have a bit of fruit flavor in it. I really like to drink it in the afternoons when I"m going to be running later in the day, the caffeine and extra hydration in my body really helps!

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  3. I have added green tea to my daily regimen too - I'm replacing an afternoon glass of water with it. I drink nearly 100 oz of water a day so I can spare it.

    Going outside is SO important.

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  4. Those seem like great universal habits.

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  5. Your new habits for health are so digestible. I've truly never enjoyed single nostril breathing because of the difference in congestion, there's always one that is worse and the time I focus on that one feels much too forced. But you have a point, forcing it will give my body what it's been missing. Ten points for you on Friday!

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  6. Don't get me started on skin acting cray. Mine has been horrible for the last year. I am hoping that this Whole 30 challenge I am doing this month will start to clear this stuff up for good. I have been drinking at least one glass of green tea every day for the last year. My favorite is mint green. So many benefits from teas in general!!!

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  7. One of the authors I work with suggests in her book that everyone gets outside for 15 minutes a day because the spiritual and health benefits of being in nature are amazing. While it's too cold right now for 15 continual minutes, I try to get outside in short bursts and try to take a moment to enjoy what I'm seeing.

    Also, I love green tea. When I burn through all the coffee I've bought, I'm moving back to drinking tea only.

    I love the habits you're trying to develop. And that they're small and easily doable but will make a big difference for you.

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  8. love all of these. sometimes there are weekend days that i don't go outside at all, and i always get this restless need to shake my body feeling at about 7pm if i haven't. does that make sense? kind of like when something freaks you out / makes you uncomfortable and you do that shake to try and get rid of it? that's how i feel haha.

    i am so intrigued by the green tea. i honestly don't know if i could drink it hot, i'm so weird about my tea, but we actually have cold tea here at work - it's like totally normal and organic (or you know, not full o crap) so i might maybe possibly try that? my skin is pretty good when i stick to my GF diet, as soon as i don't, hey pimples!

    also the alternate nostril breathing sounds a bit ridiculous at first but then i tried it (the finger option) and was like woah. very interesting and the benefits are as well. i can't wait to try it at night for sleeping.

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  9. I am with you on getting out the house at least once a day, it can be tough when the weather/temperatures are bad but fresh air does wonders for the soul. Not too mention I go stir crazy staying in all day everyday.

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  10. I feel depressed if I don't go outside at least once. I was recently taking a class in a room with no windows from 7 am - 4 pm, and I was going crazy.

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  11. when i ate grains over the holidays because i wasn't about to ask anyone to make separate dishes due to my dietary restrictions (and also, bitches gotta eat), my skin FREAKED OUT. as in legit went crazy and as soon as i got off the grains again, back to normal. definitely not a coincidence!! it's amazing how what we eat affects our skin/body.

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  12. Ohh I am loving these-- because they were totally not what I was expecting from the title-- I had no idea the nostril thing was a thing. I'm a person who is basically congested 24/7 so I am definitely going to try that! I want to get back in the habit of drinking tea, at one time I was drinking 3-4 cups almost every day and then I think I just got sick of it, though I am drinking some ginger green right now :)

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  13. Going outside at least once a day is so important.
    You need to walk outside and enjoy the fresh air! Live a little!

    xoxo Lex // LexMeetsWorld

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