For many of us, the start of a new year represents fresh hopes, new beginnings and the opportunity for change.
Since ancient times, we have welcomed in the new year with rituals which modern society suggests that these ordered activities are a way of countering the powerlessness we may experience at a time when we are faced with the start of another 12 months of the unknown.
Tapping into our survival mode, we make resolutions to take charge and keep ourselves ‘safe’. I see this day in and day out through interacting with family, friends and customers, in a world that moves at such speed, more of us are seeking ways to hold on to control through extreme exercise routine or rigid eating patterns or goal setting that pressurises us to keep to a tight schedule and timeline that we may not be able to fulfil.
A new year brings this to the forefront more than any other time. We resolve to diet and exercise, to quit smoking, to start saving, to be ‘different’, to be ‘better’. It doesn’t matter whether we hold our resolve and make good on these rules, committing to them at least for a moment gives us a feeling of more power over the impending uncertainly of a new year.
However, we can also view it as a time to let go of what is no longer needed and be open to nourishing new beginnings as a time to rest, restore, replenish and in line with pagan traditions, find light in the dark.
In a time when our lives are more hectic and disconnected than ever, our need to return to these practices and turn away from ‘new year, new you’ or calorie-counting regimes, has never been stronger.
It is my belief that January offers an opportunity to embrace a way of eating that celebrates the connection between our body and soul, that honours the seasons and rekindles our bond with nature – a way of eating and living that is free of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but rich in sustainable nourishment and tenderness for our body and mind.
Traditionally, the food eaten during this period is said to affect the quality of the coming year!
In all religions, eating practices such as fasting, cleansing or more recently, ‘detoxing’, have been used over the centuries as a means to clear and energise the body, to reconnect to our spirit or essence so it can flourish – not as a payback for festive gluttony.
Simple ways to heal and restore
- For a healthy start to the day, soak whole-grains (quinoa, buckwheat or oats in water or plant based milk overnight) to make delicious healthy porridge ready for the next morning. My delicious raw buckwheat porridge recipe can be found here: Free Recipie
- Drink warm filtered water with fresh ginger, squeeze of lemon & warming spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric) to aid lymphatic flow of nutrients
- Use a body brush before showering in upward strokes until you get to the level of your heart and downward strokes from head to heart to get the blood flowing and activate your lymphatic system
- Get some fresh air every morning before work through walking, stretching outdoors, journalling where weather permits.
- Stew seasonal fruits with spices to add to your grains/porridges. These can be kept in the fridge or even frozen for future use and future ease.
- Make delicious healthy & nutritious soups from seasonal vegetables
- Walk in the light, rest at night, away from any stimuli (tv, computer etc.)
- Bathe in Epsom bath salt to sooth you skin and muscles (magnesium dry flakes also can be powerful to bathe in)
- Light some candles and simply sit, enjoying the moment without doing anything (in the bath or in a quiet clear space of a room)
- Start a meditation practice where you can simply calm down in the moment and relax body and mind
- Read a book
Simple, wholesome changes to the diet can help to deeply nourish health and mental wellbeing and improve your experience of your everyday.