Fresh ways to start the new year on the right foot

January – a time for a fresh start. A time to make us want to be better. This can be exciting as well as intimidating. Many of us tend to try and take on giant life changes that may be hard achieve or to be consistent with…   My approach is to try and understand the ebbs and flows of my life’s patterns. The past few months of any calendar year culminates with a lot of stress and mental and physical overload that naturally come with running three retail stores (Bradshaws, Small-Mart and Werk-Shop) while juggling a household with two kids. Add to that a global pandemic and let’s just say when the year ends, I am completely drained, mentally exhausted and creatively depleted. This used to frustrate me to no end and additionally made me feel like I would never be able to pull out of feeling that way, but what’s changed is that now I embrace the opportunity that the new year presents to me to reflect, reconnect and regroup in order to become reinvigorated,  driven and inspired for the year ahead.

Understanding this cycle helps me be kinder to myself. It allows for me to give myself  time and space to read, cook, relax with my family, listen to music, go for afternoon walks and basically come back down to earth. This is an image of my book stack – some already read, others waiting to be embraced.

Here are some of my favourite tricks for getting my year started on the right foot and I share these ideas with you in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to incorporate some new healthy habits into your life as well.

Winter tends to make me want to cozy up to a fireplace, regenerate and be cozy and warm. I take the time to light scented candles to signal to myself that it’s time to slow things down. The beautiful fragrance of a good candle allows you to relax and decompress. I have been enjoying  the Nomad Candle and Wanderlust Candles from Candlefolk Co. and have also been giving these lovely candles as gifts to the women in my life that I care about who need to slow down!

In past years, I’d love to relax with a cocktail as my drink of choice but made the choice in April to dramatically reduce my alcohol consumption from daily to monthly. Instead of coming home and pouring myself a glass of wine, I now fix myself a non-alcoholic cocktail or a really nice cup of herbal tea. I always love Seedip Grove mixed with pink grapefruit juice served on ice or a soothing Golden Milk Latte from The New New Age. I’m happy to report that my choice to reduce my alcohol consumption has dramatically improved my sleep patterns and reduced anxiety that was connected to my lack of sleep. Highly recommend if you’re struggling right now.

I’m pretty dedicated to a good skin-care regimen and am completely obsessed with The New New Age Skin Food to prevent dry and flaky winter skin. After showering, I use this on my entire body and my skin has never looked better. It is especially helpful with dry hands and cuticles that have been exasperated by overuse of hand sanitizer a harsh hand soaps.

Face care is increasingly important to me as I age and I have been enjoying experimenting with Sopranolabs products from Goshen, New York.

Sopranolabs Lavender Facial Polish is an Emulsified Vegan scrub infused with apricot seed powder, pink French clay and sugar exfoliants. A little goes a long way… I wet my hands and create a paste with the scrub and rub it on my face and neck in small circular motions. It’s the perfect way remove the dull top layer of skin and reveal the fresher skin underneath which is essential to prepping your skin to evenly absorb makeup and not make you look like you’re wearing a mask!

Post-exfoliation, I’ve been using either Sopranolabs Phytoretinol Bakuchiol Vegan Beauty Oil or Repleneshing Beauty Elixer  to lock in moisture and support more elasticity and firmness in my skin. Bakuchiol is a plant-derived alternative to Retinol and offers retinol-like benefits without the irritation or sensitivity. I’m finding it gives me a beautiful dewy glow, making me feel twenty years younger and I love the gentle rose fragrance of this serum. I use these products on my face, lips and cuticles. I love washing my face at night and using these oils on my face before bed so I wake up looking well hydrated.

One of my favourite ways to regenerate is to start pulling out my favourite cookbooks to  get inspired to cook clean and healthy meals again. I find I really loose interest in cooking towards the end of the year but have a burst of activity in the new year when I start pampering myself a bit more. I made a delicious dinner last night after becoming inspired to try something new when making a baked fish recipe. I created a delicious Charred Mandarin Orange and Lemon Salsa using Kanel Sweet and Smoky seasoning, roasted garlic, olive oil and parsley and served it with roasted sweet potato with smoky paprika, lemony parmesan greens, guacamole and baked Arctic Char smothered in the citrus salsa. It was AMAZING, not only for dinner but for lunch again the next day. Recipe coming soon… This year I will be exploring more plant-based meals and the Flexitarian Movement.

Finally, getting outside is a great way to find clarity and clear your mind. If your mind is as cluttered as mine, you will appreciate some time alone to breathe in some fresh air and try to notice things you might not have noticed before! In Stratford we are lucky to have the LightsOn Winter Lights Festival which runs until January 28th so be sure to give yourself the chance to check that out. Other interests of mine include walking, hiking, skiing and working out. When you incorporate excercise into your life for FUN instead of forcing yourself into something you feel you “NEED” to do, you will be more consistent because it is more enjoyable. Physical activity will boost your mood, help you sleep better and make you feel better overall!

Happy New Year everyone, and THANK YOU for continuing to be interested in reading these posts. It means so much to me when you stop me to tell me that you loved a recipe I posted or a tip you saw in our blogs!

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