Health

9 grown-ass ways to start the new year off right

By Maya Khamala

It’s 2022, so happy new year already! Depending where you are in the world, this ongoing global pandemic year will have different meaning (or lack thereof) to you. Personally, if I had access to a working time machine right about now I’d almost certainly choose to live in any time but this one. What can I say? Covid has cemented my passion for the 1980s—so sue me. Life before settler colonialism may also have a thing or ten to recommend it. That being said, we live in the here and now, dear ones. 

Maybe you’re super stoked for this brand new year and ready to tackle it for all it's worth. Or maybe you need a swift kick in the butt to get yer motor humming. No matter how your heart’s fairing this January, chances are you could use a few hot tips to start the year off right. 

Here, I submit to you 9 ways to break into 2022 with true panache. Literally every item on this list has helped me stay sane and healthy at various times, and, taken together, they offer a badass routine for newness and change.

1. Meditate, breathe, do yoga. If you’ve never been able to get into meditation, it may seem hard. If you’ve never even tried because you’re not interested, it likely seems even harder. But when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or chronically anxious, I’m here to tell you that meditation is a great way to ‘hack into your system,’ if you will, and reroute that faulty wiring. Not convinced? Hear what the inimitable Russell Brand has to say about it, and follow his meditation for beginners. For an incredible journey into the power of simple breath work to transform one’s health, check out journalist James Nestor’s (truly!) life-altering book Breath. Wanna get more active while still maintaining some link to meditation and breath? Check out Yoga with Adriene—you’ll never look back.

2. Sleep better. I don’t care what anyone says—my sweet spot is 8-9 hours a night, which I rarely get. 7 is acceptable, but less than 6 and I start to lose my damn mind. The fact is, without enough sleep, all our other functions start to fail. Too little sleep for too long will catch up to you. Think of it this way: sleeping more has myriad benefits which you could be tapping into. These include: a sharper mind, a better mood, a healthier heart, more balanced hormones, and even weight control—to name a few. Start off the year by setting a bedtime and make it a priority to stick to it. Got insomnia? Consider these home treatments.

3. Get organized. I’m talking ‘bout getting your house in order in every sense. This might include cleaning out your closet and donating items you don’t wear, alphabetizing your books, doing away with clutter in your living space, cleaning more regularly, getting your debt paid down, and setting attainable goals. Or, maybe your use of time requires a little more structure—there’s no shame in scheduling time for sex, or for being creative, or for anything else you need but seldom get to do. Being organized can do wonders for your happiness. Don’t doubt it, try it.

4. Get off. Most of us need not defend the importance of sexy time, be it solo or coupled. As a way of inviting more pleasure and joy into your life, it may be high time to include masturbation in your daily routine more intentionally—this applies whether you’re single or not. After all, there’s no sub for top notch self-lovin’. If you’re involved with a lover worth their salt, definitely also consider being more intentional about carving out time for steamy sex, or maybe even a multi-hour tantric session now and then. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s no shame in planning shit out! After all, this life is an inhuman hustle, yet the fact remains: an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. For bonus orgasms, consider revamping your sex toy collection!

5. Listen to your body. If you work at a computer all day like I do, your body’s probably screaming at you. Listen to it. Get up and dance to a song that gets your blood pumping every hour or so. Chances are no one’s watching, so use that. And/or start each day with a yoga session. And/or create a work out plan. It can be as simple as walking every day, running every afternoon, or doing sit-ups ’n stretches between [email protected]#$%^& Zoom meetings. Even if your job doesn’t involve being stationary all day, getting fit and staying fit is the way to go. Consider using a fitness app to help you track the process of gaining muscle or losing weight.

6. Prioritize your mental health. As a concept, work-life balance is catchy as hell, but do you have it? Can you attain it? Do you know that your mental health depends on it? Sometimes being successful means knowing when to close your damn email and do something you truly love to do. Keeping a journal can help you lay out your feelings in a way that brings more clarity to your life. Opening up to those you love and trust (or to a therapist) can likewise help you to identify mental health needs you might not have considered before. While discussing your feelings can be scary territory, allowing yourself to be vulnerable can help you to grow, evolve and thrive.

7. Nourish yourself. Given that we’re rapidly hurdling toward year 3 of the pandemic (you heard me), chances are you’ve cooked your own meals a little more often in the last couple years than you previously did. Or you just have really high delivery bills. Either way, you may be in a culinary rut. More importantly, are you eating food that makes you feel good? Consider cooking a new dish once a week (or once every 2 weeks—whatever works!). Testing out new recipes can open up whole new worlds of nourishment and up your enjoyment of food. Also: drink more water—always! If you have a glass upon waking, one before and after each meal, and one more before bedtime—that’s 8 glasses right there! 

8. Connect with other humans. Ok, we all know that connecting with others via video chat or phone has its very real limits. But if the alternative is not to connect at all, do it—and be sure to keep doing it. Schedule social calls if you must! Why? Because we need connection just as much as we need good food and sleep and exercise. And while social media can at times be a positive platform for staying ‘connected,’ it can also be highly addictive, alienating, and detrimental to one’s self-esteem. Consider a social media detox in favor of more focused phone, video, and in-person hangouts whenever possible. An hour-long coffee with a friend will do you much better than an hour of passive scrolling into and out of the lives of people you never speak to IRL. Unfeasible as it may seem, you might also try to meet new people! Yes, whether it’s meetup, a dating app, or a real-life dog park, putting yourself out there can do worlds of good for your morale while offering a much-needed change of perspective. Hot bonus tip: expand your circle beyond mere humans and adopt a pet!

9. Attend to your erotic hygiene. Given how stuck at home and stuck on our devices many of us have been for the last 2 million years, erotic hygiene is something we could all afford to learn about. I’m talking about those many colorful sensual configurations that dwell within us, allowing us to feel cold wind, hot sun, deep pleasure, and wrenching heartbreak. The question is, how erotic and embodied do you feel on a daily basis? While the erotic can include sex, living an erotic life is so much more than that. At its base, it means living in your body instead of in your head. In order to inhabit your body, it’s necessary to live life in the present moment as often as possible. This means not rushing; carving out time for nothingness; acknowledging addiction and making space for change; being creative; building sanctuary; and scheduling alone time and rest. Anything that helps you to feel truly. Are you just about ready to step into your best and most erotic self?

Bottom line: time, she keeps on marching, and the best we can do from year to year is make the most of this precious, gorgeous, unpredictable, and yes, erotic life we’ve been gifted with. Because come what may, life is a gift. xt

Happy new year everyone. <3

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