The New Year, beyond the darkest day of the calendar, and when the days gradually increase in light, is a powerful time to reflect upon the 12 months that have past, and look ahead with renewal for the coming year. New Year’s Resolutions can be challenging, and if we don’t meet our goals, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves for not following through on sometimes unrealistic tasks. What if this year we tried a variation on the theme and focused on a different word: reconstitution? The word reconstitution has definitions including “building something up again” or to “restore to a prior condition”, to add water, or even to shift something into a different form. At Flow, we’d like to offer some thoughts and ideas for our 2019.
Instead of focusing on losing weight, emphasize gaining muscle.
Increasing strength has a wide range of benefits including being better able to power ourselves out of chairs, off the floor, up the stairs or up a mountain. Strength training is becoming known for being one of the best ways to lose excess weight when needed, and to build confidence in daily movement. Some folks like to find small ways to fit strengthening maneuvers into daily life, and others like to move heavy things other than their body weight such as sleds, bike wheels, weights, or tires. Working with a rehab professional or strength trainer for a period of time may be the best way to gain expert advice for developing positive habits over time.
Pick one body area that limits your activity, and seek help for that issue.
There are so many wonderful ways to access health, and many philosophies and methods. If you have been told by a provider or by one group of providers that you have to “learn to live with it”, maybe it’s time to try a different approach. Ask your friends what worked for them, look up that one treatment that’s always intrigued you, find a local pain management class at a hospital, or maybe a nearby meditation class. If cost limits access to non-covered care, look for local colleges and training schools that may have student-run (and instructor-supervised) clinics, or free classes at local places of worship, community centers, or other gathering places. If you can overcome or improve one issue in your body, you may be able to move more, sleep better, and gain confidence that you are capable of healing.
If something isn’t working, can you try something different?
Maybe you’ve had poor sleep, or you keep trying to get back into running, or your usual daily routine isn’t creating your desired health. Consider adding in a nap, getting into a pool instead of onto the track, or changing up any aspect of health. A goal of returning to the things you love or achieving a desired health goal is terrific, and sometimes we need a different perspective when trying to accomplish such goals. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, could you shift that focus for a short time, aim for a part of that goal, or talk to a friend or professional to see how you might approach the problem differently? It can be hard to see a new path towards something we’ve always expected our body to be able to do, or to see outside of our habits.
Reconstitute your life.
Do you need to drink more water? What a great way to hydrate your tissues, keep your nervous system happy, and make your bowel or bladder’s job easier (concentrated urine tends to make the bladder irritable.) When we are hydrated, we may be more likely to replace sugary or higher calorie beverages with water, and to not mistake thirst for hunger. Find a great water glass or mug, or even a water bottle that is both practical (easy to clean, has a built-in straw) and cheerful (think of stickers on Nalgene bottles, water bottles in your favorite team colors or great patterns) and try to keep that habit going. Beyond being hydrated, are there activities or hobbies you enjoy that have “dried up” in your life? Adding back in satisfying activities such as crafting, outdoor activities, projects, or reading, can make the activities that we feel we “have to” do all the more easy to accomplish because we also choose to do fulfilling things. Keep in mind that to build back in activities, you may have to schedule it so it can happen.
Be more gentle with yourself.
Being more gentle with ourselves doesn’t have to mean treating ourselves all the time, or giving in to the voices that keep us from endeavors that improve our health. But it might mean talking to yourself in the way you talk to a friend, and finding a way to be a cheerleader in your own life. Give yourself a pep talk instead of a scolding. Find ways to negotiate with those voices: “so I didn’t make it to the gym, but I can find an online video to do some exercises at home” or at the minimum not letting negative self-talk be the norm. Do talk to your body. Say nice things like “thanks body for allowing me to take that walk by the lake today” or “come on body, I know if we do these stretches, you’ll feel better in the morning.” When you “fall off” that wagon you hoped would keep on rolling, just climb back on and remember why you set your goals in the first place. Many of us have learned to say negative things to ourselves subconsciously, and it takes some practice to shift those words.
We look forward to connecting more with our community this year, and reconstituting some of our own habits and goals at Flow. We hope you reach out to learn more about how you can improve your health and function, and take good care of your body for this new year we get to experience.