2021 has sprouted, blossomed, and gone to seed, and as 2022 emerges from the soil of time, so, too, do our goals and aspirations. Like anyone else, I tend to use the New Year as a way to renew my ambition and start fresh. This year, I’m focusing on my physical health, having had time to heal my mental health over the last several years! For the first time in many years, my mental health goals have transformed into daily simple maintenance.
Due to having bipolar disorder, I’ve had a lot of trouble juggling my physical wellness over the years. It seemed like no matter how badly I wanted to treat my body well, I was struggling to come up with the energy to deal with my turbulent emotions and also maintain a semblance of routine healthy habits. I would make goals, work towards them, and fall off the wagon as I took several weeks off to focus on my mental health. It’s hard to exercise or prepare good foods when you can’t get out of bed.
That said, this past year has brought so many great changes to me. I have found a safe, effective combination of medication, have worked hard on coping in healthy ways, and have even learned to communicate better when I do feel down. I feel ready to tackle physical wellness now that my mental health challenges have been tamed. I have energy to put towards these goals!
This year, I plan on finding and trying healthy recipes that are balanced and tailored to fit my needs. For me, that means less sugar (both in the traditional sweet sense and in the amount of simple carbohydrates I consume) and more vegetables. I am learning to cook foods I enjoy, ones that aren’t going to inflame my body or make me feel sick and bloated, as I so often have found myself after a meal.
I’ve cut out coffee, which tends to hurt my stomach and overload my system with sugar and caffeine. I don’t drink much else besides water, and supplement my body with electrolytes when I need to. I listen to what my body is telling me, and right now it is saying “eat better food”.
My plan this year is to cook at least twice a week, effectively giving myself several days off with leftovers and quick (healthy) meals in between. I want to utilize my little purple crockpot from goodwill more often, and learn what keeps me full and what needs tweaking. I need to eat healthy foods that are not too terrible expensive, opting for local and in-season produce whenever I can. I want to make use of protein-rich grains such as quinoa, and whole grain breads that won’t break down as fast as white breads.
I’d love to learn how to can my own home-grown vegetables to stock my pantry throughout the gently changing seasons of South Florida. To do this, I need to get growing! Winter is an excellent time to begin growing things here, which makes the New Year a wonderful time to begin that journey. I’m going to start by planning out the year’s planting schedule based on optimal growth times.
I want to bake my own bread and whole grain tortillas to cut out extra preservatives and enjoy the process. Ideally, I want to bake once a week and always have fresh bread at the ready.
I have begun my herbal training this year, and want to continue to supplement and support my body throughout 2022. By crafting more remedies and building my home apothecary, I will be able to treat and heal myself and my family during minor illness, dis-ease, and injury.
Aside from foods and herbal supports, I want to start my yoga practice once again. I was once very in-tune with my body and had flexibility, grace, and balance. I am going to return to this practice to heal through motion, and to connect with my body once again.
For a vast majority of 2021, exercise was incredibly difficult for me. Not only did I lack the energy and motivation, but it would make me feel sick to run or push myself when I tried. However, with the return of my energy, I resolve to exercise 3-5x a week, focusing primarily on weight lifting with a few minutes of cardio before every session. In this way, I will be moving my body and regaining the strength I once had.
Making these changes will be a gradual and fulfilling process. I can’t expect them to happen all at once, but I’m excited to incorporate healthier practices into my life. I hope to achieve these goals, among others, by 2023, but will be patient with myself as I learn and grow. I am tracking my goals to watch my progress and encourage myself to push further.
I hope 2022 is a year of growth for you, whether that’s mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Take some time to renew your own goals and assess your health in all areas. Let me know what you decide to work on this year, and how you plan to do it!