shiny new year

in just one day it will be a whole new year. the anticipation of starting over is overwhelming. i’m giddy with the idea that in less than 24 hours the past will wipe clean and i can start afresh. bad habits will magically disappear, love handles will slim, yelling at my rambunctious boys will become a faded memory and my mind will be free of worry. hey, a girl can dream.

this year I’m keeping my expectations light. I will not beat myself up with lofty resolutions just to let myself down and sulk for the next eleven months. this year i have just one resolution that i believe will make all others fall into place. it’s one i am sharing in the hopes that you might make it too. ready?

be kind to you. it sounds so simple but requires real work and the payoffs are life changing and sanity saving.

take a moment and think about it. there’s a big world out there that needs you. whether you’re a parent, a wife, single or “it’s complicated,” someone depends on you. work, family, that person in the car in front of you that needs you to pay attention…it seems someone will always need or expect something from you. and you have to give yourself a break. even just five minutes. you can’t be any help to others until you embrace yourself. realize how strong you are, how funny you are, how smart and how gorgeous. and believe it.
with your entire being.

now, prepare for constant battle. while others may support and love you, there is no cheerleader alive that can create inner confidence and joy like yourself. you have to believe it. live it. radiate it. believe in you – each and every moment of each and every day.

ok, tall order. so how do we do that? here’s what i’ve learned along that way from experience, friends, websites and pure old fashioned luck to help ourselves out.

start happy. from the moment you step out of bed, tell yourself something positive. this is a brand new day to experience life and it’s many glories. my mind is a never ending commentary so i actively, consciously, constantly, work to fill it with happy thoughts – this is not always easy. breakfast may burn, kids may be grumpy but that doesn’t have to alter my mood. those mornings my inner voice is on repeat…” i am blessed. i am happy.” find your own mantra and keep in running. it might sound crazy but all of you know exactly what I’m talking about!

let in light. not just in your mind but for real. open shades and let the day come in. if it’s dreary i turn on all the lights in one room and bask in it for a moment. light, sun…it works.

smile – there are tons of studies (serious stuff!) that prove that the physical act of smiling makes you happy. i probably look like a nut case sometimes but you can find me randomly smiling in the most bizarre of situations. i’m not losing it…i’m gaining! just try it. costs nothing but pays you back tenfold.

stand up tall. shoulders back, tummy in. (and i don’t care how big the tummy is. it’s still part of you and beautiful. mine is bigger than it’s ever been before but i have to own it and love it…and work on it.) so, just stand there – in the mirror if you can. look at how tall you are – how strong your body is holding you here. focus on the muscles working to hold you straight. use these muscles as you move throughout the day.

hold yourself strong and no matter what shape you are in, that will begin to make it better. here is where you have to do the physical work. maybe it’s yoga, maybe you’re a runner ( lucky dog… i miss running) or maybe you can only fit in plies while folding the laundry. it’s all good as long as you do something. walk through the house picking things up. any kind of moving works. try a plank or a few pushups (on knees are fine) to make yourself feel physically strong. you are strong. you rock.

stretch it out. this is a big one for me. if you don’t have time to lay down and go for it then do a few standing stretches. arms up tall….reach reach reach….for me it’s the back and hips. i have to keep them from seizing and break out pigeon pose at least twice a day. you don’t have to be an expert ..but be careful. bad lower backs need not bend like gumby. sometimes it’s worth meeting with a trainer to set up a routine specific to you that you can then do at home. physical stress just adds to the mental so take 30 seconds and loosen up. breathe…smile…carry on.

clean up clutter. i love my house so i spend most of my time in it puttering around. so as i putter i try to throw something away. it’s mind cleansing as well. even just one little piece of paper. you are creating more open space in which to live. andactually accomplishing something tangible at the same time.

if you can toss out some clothes you’re a step ahead. let’s talk clothes. i still struggle with a few never worn sweaters but i picked one the other day, held it up, was honest with myself and said goodbye. and i’ve already forgotten i ever had it. some items – gorgeous as they may be – just don’t work on everyone. accept that and only keep what you feel pretty in. feeling pretty matters. (on that note..i’m a mascara girl. don’t be afraid to accent your hotness!)

smell something good. scents are a science of their own. I’m on a lavender kick at the moment. hand cream in the kitchen, a wreath in hall, luxe soaps in the shower and candles in the bathroom (i’m all about pretty and relaxing bathrooms. )
here’s a great cheat sheet on how scents can affect your mood.

scrub down a counter. I use Mrs. Meyers spray. smelling good is half the battle. radish is my favorite, crisp and bright. I’m a firm believer that a clean house is a happy house. might be the Dutch in me (I like to think it is. the Dutch are cool people). sometimes i lightly (obsessively) dust around during my puttering hour. quick bathroom wipe down and at least one good kitchen sink clean a day. there’s no denying it…clean is good. and Mrs.Meyers is the bomb. yes. i went there.

eat an orange. cut in sections or grab an easy to open clementine. just keep them around. a little natural sugar rush and vitamin c can do wonders. and bonus…citrus scents calms anxiety – who knew? i’m learning as we go too! i get that it’s really hard to eat healthy so try to get vitamins in your body any way you can. enjoy the cookies and cakes but tone it down…not easy but today i’m calling holiday indulge fest officially over.

have some fun. seriously. who cares if you feel like an idiot. then laugh at yourself. just go for it. dance in the kitchen. throw a ball for the dog (bonus points for going outside!). sometimes i just wrestle a child into a hug…the best fun ever and actual physical contact. reminder: hugs are super important! They’ve researched that too:

it’s important to surround yourself and those you love with fun, laughter and joy. when you are happy then those around you are also blessed with lightness. i do sometimes break into song (completely tone deaf am I) to break up the morning rush. they may be laughing at me…but it gets them all laughing. myself included. whatever it may be just do it. make it a mission to genuinely spontaneously laugh. you need at least one of those a day.

I could go on forever…and my mind truly is…but it’s getting long and I think you get what I’m giving. take a minute or two for yourself. whenever you can. a minute to breathe and  give your brain a break. be kind to the one person who can make a difference in your life, can build you up and can make you achieve greatness…in whatever you choose to do. be kind to you.

it takes mental strength to get through the day so resolve to make it easier for yourself.  read funny things, drink some tea (bonus – drink Yogi and read the always uplifting tea tag.). bust out some moves, cover your skin in softness. call a friend. hug someone hard.

let’s create smile lines that run deep. let’s focus. and breathe. and let’s embrace this brand new, wide open, sparkling fresh year.

let’s shine.

happy new year.



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