Happy New Year!
I’m starting off 2019 on an exciting note. I’ve been booked for an interview next Sunday morning on a local New York City CBS news program. I’ll be representing Stoneridge Orchards, the dried fruit company I’ve aligned myself with for the last four years. For this interview, I’ve been given the topic of “New Year, Healthy You.” As I share the product and recipes I’ve created with SRO’s dried fruit, I will be asked for some New Year tips. Hhmmmm.
There’s a lot of pressure this time of year from media, mirrors, and fitness organizations to make changes, turn over new leaves, make lists of rules for the coming year. Do this more, do that less. Lose this, gain that. Restrict, resolve, be resolute... all under the umbrella of ‘health and wellness’ goals.
Self-help books and life coaches might suggest choosing a theme for the year. Or picking a word to cling to that you would like to embody as the calendar page flips to 2019. And then of course we can always write morning pages, make regular New Year resolutions, and design goal setting charts of 3 months/6 months, 9 months/12 months, and good old fashioned vision boards.
In some ways, I love the idea of all that and have done every single one of those practices, but they’re not always sustainable and often leave me overwhelmed, defeated, and feeling like a failure. No bueno. I’m no fitness expert. Nor am I a life coach, but I always find that I am healthiest when I am my happiest. So the zillion dollar question is how do we connect the two? What to do, what to do...
Around the time this interview opportunity was announced, my good friend Ericka Kreutz was showcased in an interview of her own. Ericka is a children’s photographer living in Los Angeles. Just as I post food inspiration on social media almost daily, Ericka’s feeds contain stunning photos of the children she’s captured. I read the feature on my friend and lightbulbs and flashbulbs began to surround me as I thought about my upcoming “New Year, Healthy You” interview. Aha! The secret to connecting health and happiness as an adult is to remember our inner child! As I scrolled through Ericka’s photos, my list of tips started listing themselves off with ease. For me, 2019 is going to be The Year Of The Child.
Parents’ main priority for their young ones is rest. Why should our adult priorities be any different? No, we all don’t have the luxury of a cubby with our nap mat waiting for us to unroll it and take an afternoon snooze. If you work from home, assign yourself some quiet time to stretch out and find rest as you organize your day. And for those in a more formal work place, a nap can be setting a five minute alarm on your phone, laying your head down on your desk, and taking a break. Walking outside to sit on a sunny bench with your eyes closed for a few minutes counts as well.
Let your emotions out.
Adulting can be hard. Many of us don’t allow ourselves to express true emotions. We stifle laughter. We bottle up anger and sadness to protect others. We hold grudges because we can’t find the words to communicate our hurt and disappointment. We can learn from the uncomplicated emotions of children. Their anger is just a passing cloud because they deal with it as it reaches the surface. Innocence and joy are readily available with giggles and squeals. Hurt and sadness easily dissipate because kids don’t trap their tears.
Adulting through the week can bring challenges to the childlike mindset. Remember when you were a kid and would explore the world around you? Exploring as an adult doesn’t always have to be booking a flight somewhere. Drive down a new road, walk along a different street than your normal route. Maybe your playtime only comes on the weekend. Fair enough. But make sure you’re doing something fun, not just housework and running errands.
Laugh and smile. Be delighted.
Subscribe to a joke of the day email, allow yourself to smile and even laugh every single day. Find delight wherever you can. Skip. Run. Hop. Jump. Create some movement in your body that you haven’t done in awhile. You can actually go to the dollar store and buy yourself some bubbles. Bubbles are instant delight bringers.
Ask questions. Listen for the answers. Oftentimes we think we should know everything. Maybe we fear that admitting we don’t know something will signal weakness and make us look bad. We can’t know everything. Asking questions arms us with more information to do a better job. Answers don’t always come from words. The universe is mysterious and ‘talking’ to us all the time. If we are still and listen, I think answers reveal themselves.
Remember your manners. Use your words. Say you’re sorry.
I think 2019 will be full of healthier and happier people if we all remember our manners and find our words to apologize when we’ve hurt someone. We remind and insist that children to do those things all the time. And then seem to forget when it comes to our own actions. Pleases, I’m sorries, and thank yous are some of the most valuable words we’ll ever learn. Let’s use them more often.
Sit on your porch or stoop and daydream. Imagine the best scenarios of things. Take trips in your mind. Explore ideas of things you want to make or do, and places you’d like to go!
Take pride and celebrate.
I want my 2019 to be full of things I’m proud of and celebrations for my progress. Maybe we all need to buy sheets of gold star stickers to reward ourselves for jobs well done. We high-five children and recognize their milestones at every turn. Let’s do more of that for ourselves, for our husbands and wives, our friends and colleagues. A little encouragement goes a long way.
Say please and thank you.
Special thanks to Ericka for sharing her images and creativity with me for this very special All Good Things post. I am especially grateful to my Los Angelino friends Amy, Brian, Christian, Erika, Jim, and Ericka for sharing their children with me. (New York misses you!) Parenting is hard and you’re all doing great. These photos are proof!
Pack a snack.
When I was a nanny, days could be made or broken by snacks. I learned to carry something to eat with me at all times. Even today, I’m a bit of a Mary Poppins with my friends. I’ll always have something in my bag as a tasty pick-me-up. No, we don’t have a kindergarten snack period of juice and graham crackers these days, but every one of us can pack a snack to keep the hungry grumpies at bay. Stoneridge Orchards has an incredible collection of dried fruit that you can buy online. A little protein and natural sugar is an easy way to recharge and summon stored energy.
I’m including a few recipes I’ve shared before, but they are worth a revisit. They are snackable, packable and shareable! I’m making these snacks to take on set for my CBS Stoneridge Orchards interview as I highlight the year of the child. Send me some good vibes on the morning of January 6th please! Happy New Year, dear ones.
CHERRY ALMOND POWER BITES
2 ½ cups blanched slivered almonds
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoon water
Place almonds, flax meal, cherries, cranberries, hemp seeds, honey and salt in food processor.
Pulse until ground and then pulse in water until the mixture begins to form a solid ball.
Press mixture firmly into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish -lined with wax paper.
Slice into bars and serve.
Makes 15 small bars.
Blueberry Pistachio Protein Balls
Makes approximately 35 1” balls
1/2 cup Stoneridge Orchards dried blueberries
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried coconut flakes
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Microwave peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil to melt together (or melt in a saucepan on the stove.) Next, stir wet ingredients into the dry. Mix really well until thoroughly combined. Note: If it's too wet you can add a little more oats and if it's too dry, add a little more peanut butter. Form into balls and store in the refrigerator. You can also substitute your favorite nut/seed butter or any other dried fruit/nut or seed combination.
My Stoneridge Orchards recipes were captured by Cheryl Stockton of Stockshot Studio and we made the video with Liv Behre.