Welcome to 2021! As we wind down from the excitement of Christmas and the New Year, January is often a time we use to refocus and set intentions for the coming year. While setting new year’s resolutions can be a great way to start the new year with a positive attitude, it can also cause us to put pressure on ourselves. Luckily, transformation coach Natalia is on hand to tell us how to set goals for a healthy new year.January 03, 2021 12:52 pm
‘To me, conscious wellbeing is about approaching every part of life with a sense of awareness.’ Natalia says.
It’s a concept she believes in so much that she has named her company after it! Natalia is the founder of The Conscious Wellbeing Company, alongside her work as a Transformational Wellbeing coach.
Having worked for ten years as a wedding make-up artist and stylist, she has had plenty of experience witnessing moments of transformation in people’s lives. ‘My approach was always holistic. I didn’t just focus on how the brides looked, but on the way they felt,’ she says.
‘It sparked a passion in me, and a lot of my coaching skills really developed during that time. I wanted to do more to help others, on a much deeper level.’
Natalia now works with a range of different holistic approaches to wellbeing, including healing diets and holistic health coaching. She is a big advocate of Himalayan Kriya practices, a type of yoga that focuses on detoxifying the body through breath work. The breath work itself is known as Pranayama, the practice of activating life force through controlled breathing.
She also recommends meditation, conscious rituals and bringing ancient Vedic wisdom into modern – day living. These teachings come from the Vedas, ancient Hindu scriptures which contain spiritual and philosophical knowledge and are thought to be sacred.
As such, there are few people better positioned than Natalia to give us an insight into setting healthy new year goals!
So, we caught up with Natalia to ask her advice. For those of us just starting out on our wellness journey, or hoping to make 2021 the year we finally take care of ourselves, what are some good ways to set ourselves up for a healthy new year?
1. Try to live mindfully
According to Natalia, the very first step to a healthy new year is to live as mindfully as possible. For those not familiar with the term, mindfulness is the practice of deliberately paying attention to the present moment. Focusing in on what’s happening now can help ground us, and stops us getting too caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past.
‘It’s very easy, particularly living in cities and having busy lifestyles, to get into routines and habits where we become like robots; more in our heads and less in our hearts,’ says Natalia.
‘When we infuse a sense of mindfulness into everything from the foods we eat and the products we use to the way we spend money, the way we show up when we are with friends and family, we start to enrich our life experience. That sense of wellbeing applies mentally, physically and spiritually.’
2. Reconnect with nature…
According to mental health charity, Mind, interacting with nature has many benefits. These include reducing feelings of stress or anger, improving confidence and self-esteem, and improving your mood.(1)
Studies have shown that taking a walk in a natural environment (as opposed to an urban one) resulted in lower activity in the prefrontal cortex in healthy people. This area of the brain is associated with repetitive, negative thinking, sometimes known as ‘rumination’.(2)
Connecting with nature is an idea that Natalia thoroughly supports. ‘Make sure you get outdoors in nature,’ she says. ‘Spend time in silence, alone with your own thoughts. Breathe deeply, or meditate. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty about doing things that make you feel good. You are worthy, and you are your greatest investment!’
If you live in a built-up area and can’t travel easily to the countryside, listening to natural sounds indoors may help. Research has found that natural sounds help us to focus outwards, which is a state of mind associated with feeling restful but awake, or daydreaming.(2) Inward focusing, on the other hand, is linked to negative experiences such as depression and anxiety.
…even in your diet
Getting closer to nature is also good advice when it comes to your diet. ‘Make sure you’re having lots of water and eating as many raw and unprocessed foods as possible, in their natural form,’ Natalia advises. ‘This works wonders for your mental health.
‘A product I absolutely love is Erbology Greek Olive Crackers. They are so wholesome and rich in nutrients, with high vibrational ingredients. I love these dipped in an organic olive hummus or broken up into a healthy fattoush salad.
‘As a healing diets coach, I value the Erbology product range greatly. I feel the ingredients have been really well thought out for the wellbeing of consumers.’
"When we cultivate practices to slow down our thoughts and bring ourselves more into the present moment, we access a calmer state."
3. Create your own safe haven
Given recent events, many of us are experiencing feelings of anxiety or low mood. It’s not surprising, given how much has happened over the last year, and it’s a completely natural response.
According to Natalia, these feelings stem from relying on external factors to make us feel safe and calm, as opposed to cultivating those feelings within ourselves. If we can manage to build our own sense of safety, we can start to overcome our worries about the future.
‘The trouble is, we tend to look outwards for our security rather than focusing on accessing our own inner safe haven,’ says Natalia. ‘Anxiety is a result of worrying about the future and is generated by overthinking. This then leads to creating fear-based scenarios.
‘However, when we cultivate practices to slow down these thoughts and bring ourselves more into the present moment, we access a calmer state.’
It helps to have some kind of holistic practice, such as meditation, yoga or breath work, to help you stabilise your nervous system and slow down your breathing. Making a resolution to explore one of these practices is a great way to start a healthy new year.
‘The breath is our greatest tool. So, every time you find yourself shallow-breathing and getting stressed, take a moment to breathe deeply. This instantly helps to calm you.’
4. Set bitesize resolutions
Everyone is different and the things we want to achieve over the next year are unique to all of us. However, there are some things you should bear in mind while setting your goals to make sure they’ll be a positive influence in your life.
Make your goals realistic, and don’t pile pressure on yourself. Be kind when setting your new year goals. This is often easier if you imagine setting a goal for a friend or family member as, for some reason, we’re often kinder to others than we are to ourselves!
Natalia also believes in taking the pressure off the new year. ‘We are energy beings in constant motion, so when there is a need or a feeling to make a change, we should do that immediately when the inspiration arises. There’s no need to wait for a date in the calendar to implement them. Start taking action steps as soon as the inspiration arises.’
‘As a coach, I advise clients to set bitesize goals and aims that are more attainable. Setting a new intention each month, or quarterly, will get better results.’
So, if you’re setting a healthy new year’s resolution this January, take it slowly and remember to check in with yourself a few months down the line. Be prepared to reassess or adjust your goals if you need to.
5. Get inspired – by having fun
What if you’re struggling to come up with a new year’s resolution, or are feeling a bit ‘stuck’ and not sure how you want to progress?
‘Explore different things. Start having more fun, new experiences, go to new places and meet different people!’ Natalia says. ‘This often triggers moments of inspiration.’
What should we be looking for? The good news is that the only thing we need to be looking out for is whether we’re enjoying ourselves! ‘When we are having fun, we are more connected to our hearts and less to our ‘ego’ mind. It is from the space of our hearts that we can connect to what really lights us up.
‘We often find ourselves naturally drawn to certain things or projects that excite us,’ she says. ‘These tend to be clues. When we create more feelings of joy, we get a lot more clarity. Start somewhere and see where it leads you.’
And if we’re not sure where to start or what to try first, Natalia’s advice is to check in with our intuition. Not sure how to get in touch? ‘Spend time alone, in nature, in meditation, spend time in silence where you can hear your what your intuition is really telling you,’ says Natalia. ‘This will lead you to some great places.’
6. Connect with your inner energy
If you’d like to try a specific practice to improve your feelings of wellness this year, there are lots of different types to try. You may have already experimented with yoga or breath work, but how about energy healing through Himalayan Kriya practices?
Like many people, you might find it easier to connect to your practice if you imagine interacting with energy both within and around you. Natalia advocates for activating this sense of energy to help us connect deeper within and heal through practices that enliven and fill our cells with prana (life force energy). Through this, we can reduce anxieties, stress, enhance our concentration levels and deepen our spirituality.
‘Everything in the universe is made up of energy,’ she explains. ‘For example, there is a Sanskrit term, ‘Shakti’, which refers to divine feminine Goddess energy. In nature, we think of it as Mother Earth. Through conscious rituals and practices, we can connect better to this sacred feminine energy thats present within us all.
‘I use practices from the Ancient Himalayan tradition to tap into this energy; different forms of breath work, Kriya, mediation and energy healing.’
Once we are able to connect to this energy, Natalia says, we are better able to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life.
‘When this energy is activated, our abilities and perspectives shift. Our creative brain gets activated, we are better able to deal with life situations, and we expand our hearts to more kindness and compassion.’
Have a healthy new year
Whatever your goals are this year, make sure that taking care of yourself is at the top of the list. Feeling good, both spiritually and physically, is the first step on the road to any achievement.
Finally, be kind! We are often able to extend kindness to other people while being our own harshest critic. Remember to celebrate how far you have come, and all that you have achieved already.
Have a happy, healthy new year – you can do it!
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