There’s nothing like a new year to make a fresh start, and after weeks of taking care of everyone else on your holiday list, the time is now to finally gift yourself with some serious self-care. According to many spiritual traditions, the most powerful relationship you will ever have is with yourself. This year, I’m making taking better care of me a top priority.
Instead of creating unrealistic “do-or-die” resolutions that feel good in the moment but unravel into familiar old bad habits by spring, I’m adopting a gentler approach – simply affirming the me I want to see in the coming year. For inspiration on making 2015 your best year yet, read on for my top 10 mantras for creating a happier, healthier and more conscious you:
1. Practice Positive Thinking. During my first Science of Mind class ten years ago at Agape Spiritual Center in L.A., I learned about the law of attraction. It teaches that on a vibratory level, thoughts and feelings are things. It works like this: like attracts like. If you’re a basically a happy, emotionally upbeat person and think positive, loving, life-affirming thoughts, you will attract positive, loving, life-affirming people and situations into your everyday experience. Likewise, if you’re generally unhappy, angry worried or jealous and think negative, life-taking thoughts against yourself and others, you attract the same. Though I’m generally a joyful person, I have rainy days like everyone else – just ask Michael! This year, I’m working on experiencing life’s silver lining, and being kinder to myself and others, even on cloudy days. With this colorful hand drawn 2015 “Life is Beautiful and So Are You!” calendar filled with soulful wisdom from Sarah Love Creations, I’ll start each day uplifted and inspired with a different positive mantra, like “joy begins within”, “smile at your life” and “patience pays off”. The optimism is contagious!
2. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. When I naively signed up for the Self Realization Fellowship lessons in order to get a venue discount on Michael and I’s fairy-tale wedding at L.A.’s enchanted Lake Shrine, little did I know it would lead me to daily long meditations, an unshakable connection to Spirit, and a peace of mind that transcends everyday ups and downs. This year, I want to deepen my practice with longer bedtime meditations, which give me the sweetest dreams and keep me waking up on the sunny side of life. If you’re new to the spiritual path or want to learn how to meditate, just start sitting in silence for 5, 10 or 15 minutes every day, talking to God in the language of your heart. For inspiration on doing just that, read Autobiography of a Yogi by SRF founder (and our guru!) Paramahansa Yogananda. Not a reader? Listen to the CD narrated by Oscar winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, and you’ll find out why Steve Jobs requested that the book be given to all the attendees of his funeral.
3. When Stress Hits, Hit the Mat. After practicing and teaching yoga for over a decade, you’d think I’d be more willing to hit up a yoga class myself when stress hits. To inspire me to practice more – even if for just 5 minutes – I’m trading in my old funky mat and hitting down dog on this non-slip e.c.o.-mat from Prana in beautiful heart-chakra opening green. Recyclable and reversible, the mat is made with non-toxic planet-friendly materials. Hands down, it’s the stickiest I’ve found for tricky inversions like headstand and my favorite sweaty series like this one that always help me forget what I was stressed about in the first place.
4. Walk in Style, Often and Ethically. Walking is not only the most eco-friendly way to get around, it’s a great low-impact workout that even boosts creativity. After trading in the Benz four years ago, I now love walking everywhere. But I don’t love schlepping a mac, yoga gear, and stashed pair of comfy flats on a single, slumping shoulder. Even if a handbag is fabulously eco-chic, after a day of carrying it I feel like I have scoliosis – anything but stylish. This year, I’m going to carry my gear in balance with an eclectic, backback like this one from Vivenne Westwood’s Ethical Fashion Africa Collection. Made from repurposed canvas, unused leather remnants, and recycled brass, it’ll keep me strolling in style this year while supporting women artisans from Nairobi, Kenya’s biggest slums.
5. Snack Healthier. I’ve always been more of a grazer than an eater. Catch me around 4pm any day, and you’ll find me snacking on something salty, crunchy and vegan. For a healthy way to get my snack on this year, or to enlighten friends who think vegan cuisine tastes just like rabbit food, I’ll order healthy goodie boxes like this Vegan Extraordinaire assortment from America’s Best Organics. In addition to being a woman-owned B Corp, all of their hand-curated artisan gift boxes are filled with the best-tasting certified organic gourmet treats (who doesn’t love fair trade chocolate?), which offer 30% more antioxidants than traditional snacks. With tons of pesticide and hormone-free decadent treats to choose from, it’ll make the most delicious guilt-free snacking.
6. Travel Somewhere New. There’s nothing more exciting than landing in an unknown destination with a map and a camera, and allowing the itinerary to unfold organically. Though it requires a high tolerance for uncertainty, the sights, sounds, and people you experience along the way are always more interesting. Last year, I went on my first cruise – the vegan, Holistic Holiday at Sea – and was surprised to discover that I didn’t get seasick! I’ve never been to sub-saharan Africa, India, Ireland or the Middle-East, so this year I’m hoping to make it to one (or all!) of those destinations. Though I don’t speak the dominant language in any of those countries, it’ll force me out of my comfort zone, where I always learn the most about myself.
7. Be Naturally Beautiful. My inner diva loves to play dress up – even when I’m not on camera. But the nasty toxins, allergens and carcinogens in mainstream cosmetics leave me feeling less than fabulous. Instead of picking up traditional beauty counter make-up palettes from Sephora or Target, I’m sprucing up my beauty routine with mineral make-up kits from Zosimos Botanicals. Filled with colorful lipsticks, glosses, eye shadows and foundations for every shade (even mine!), it’ll keep me ready for all of my close-ups this year. To tighten up pores, smooth fine lines and keep my skin glowing from the inside out, my post-show go-to will be this vegan and organic face mask from Stem Cell Beauty Innovations. Made with hydrating, anti-inflammatory flower extracts like rose water and gingko biloba that calm the skin while aiding in cellular renewal, this fun pre-made peel off mask is just what I need to unwind after a day under bright lights.
8. Eat More Raw Food. Last summer, Michael and I accomplished one of our long-term goals: becoming certified raw chefs with master raw foodie and restaurateur Khepra Anu. Although the class helped us add dozens of healthy raw gourmet recipes to our vegan repertoire, we could only go so far with our standard blender. This year, we’re taking our raw game to the next level with this 8000 Nutrition System Juicer from Omega. With a powerful motor, this masticating dual-stage juice extractor thoroughly chews up plant fibers to fully extract vitamins, enzymes, and minerals from fruits and vegetables for a professional-grade juice yield. Unlike other juicers, its low rotation speed of 80 RPMs means no foaming, no clogging, and no heat build-up (a no-no for raw cuisine!). This year, we’ll be turning nuts into nut butter, whipping up our own raw almond milk and churning out wheat grass shots quicker than you can say “cheeze.”
9. Master a Sport. Since I work mostly indoors, I’ve vowed to step away from electronic equipment and get outside more, but it can be challenging to hit the trail on cold winter mornings. In this super-slim 800-fill down shirt jacket made with recycled polyester by socially conscious brand NAU, I’ll be warm and stylish enough to enjoy the great outdoors in the woods or downtown. With the snow-resistant warmth of a bulkier coat and a streamlined, tailored fit, this machine washable sheath will be the perfect thin layer to pack on last-minute snowboarding trips. Wearing this shirt, maybe I’ll overcome my fear of speed and master those tricky blue runs – or at least, a run for après-ski hot cocoa feeling ruggedly eco-chic.
10. Take More Baths. Ever since I took my first dip in the healing pools of Two Bunch Palms, I’ve appreciated the healing powers of mineral-infused water on my body, mind and spirit. This year, even if I can’t get to my favorite water hole, I’m going to set aside more down-time for long, luxurious baths using aromatherapy salts, essential oils and emollient body products like the ones in this vegan aromatherapy gift set from Pura Botanica. All of their products are made with natural ingredients free of sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances, wrapped in beautiful recycled packaging. Add a non-toxic citrus soy candle, and it’s Calgon, take me away!