Everyone wants to start the new year feeling refreshed, happy, and accomplished. Have you ever wondered how other people seem to just be getting it done while you're still struggling? Feeling blue is unfortunately all too common for these early days in January, but you don't have to stay there. Kick out the doldrums this January and get going, babe! Here are 7 ways to jumpstart your new year toward success.
1. STAY ACTIVE, EVEN FROM HOME
There's been a lot of stay-at-home days these past few years. Rather than avoiding this new reality, embrace it. This means taking advantage of all that time at your disposal by staying active from home. As you might be aware, we're BIG Peloton bike fans! Our founders, Prudence and Ryan, both are enthusiastic Pelotoners who are passionate about a lifestyle of movement. (In fact, that's why we're giving away a Peloton to one lucky Beauty by Earth customer! Check out the deets here in our Ride Well Giveaway).
Try a Peloton Bike
Peloton bikes are a great choice for indoor fitness for a host of reasons. Think about it. You can achieve a thorough workout (anywhere, anytime) without the need for tons of equipment. Plus, there are hundreds of live classes to choose from with real instructors to help you feel motivated. And you can save your favorites to do again and again.
Try a Fitness App
But you don't have to own fancy indoor workout equipment to stay fit! The app store is filled with interactive, creative, and engaging programs that help you stay fit from home. Some of the best apps we've seen for staying fit indoors include FitStar Yoga, FitStar Personal Training, 10 Minute Solutions, and Daily Burn. We highly recommend checking out these workouts to stay active from home this year!
Try a Fitness Game or YouTube Playlist
More of a gamer type? Try the Nintendo switch's exercise game, Ring Fit Adventure. In this interactive game, you'll jog, jump, lunge, and squat, all within your living room. Looking for a totally free alternative?
There's a ton of free workout videos on Youtube available to help you get going from your living room! Get yourself an open area of the floor and get going, babe! Check out these YouTube Workout Faves:
Whatever you do, make sure to get up and stay active in your home. You'll feel happier, healthier, and more productive throughout the day.
2: Dump Door Dash
I know, I know . . . It's A LOT of work prepping for meals ahead of time. But take my word for it: your body, mind, and especially bank account, will thank you for the effort.
I get it - you're wondering 'but it's easier to just get delivery right?'. NO! Well... it's not cheaper anyway. Ordering takeout often means spending an average of $18 for a single meal. Just think of how much money you could save by just having a few nights' worth of meals prepped and ready to go instead!
So, how do you go about figuring out what to make?
Here are a few guidelines for planning your meals ahead of time. First, choose foods that are easy to fix/cook. We're talking things like chicken, tacos, soups, veggies, rice dishes - basically anything that you can simply throw together on a large scale and enjoy for a few days. On the other hand, avoid foods that require a lot of preparation and/or individual servings (e.g., sandwiches, breakfast items, etc.). You'll just end up wasting a lot of time and money.
To keep yourself on track, it's really helpful to use a meal planning service. Try a free app like Cozi that lets you conveniently plan out your meals for the week ahead, schedule them on your day planner, and even share recipes with other family members. No more wasting food or money.
How to Meal Prep
First things first: invest in some good containers. I recommend something clear that can be easily stacked for storage.
Next up: portion out your ingredients. Just as making a big batch of cookies requires you to use the same measuring cup every time, so too should you measure out your ingredients into individual containers.
This saves you from having compartmentalized container lids that don't fit well and spill all over the place. So invest in a couple of sets of these plastic storage containers with lids and you'll be one step closer to meal prepping success.
Prepare the Ingredients
Now, onto the good stuff: how to actually prepare your ingredients. You might be wondering: can I really cook my proteins and vegetables ahead of time? The answer is yes! It's easy as pie (or pancakes). Just follow these simple steps:
1. Cook your protein.
You can grill, fry, or roast some chicken breasts or steak on a sheet pan as long as you set aside enough to pack for meals throughout the week. Just make sure they cool completely before placing them in containers.
2. Steam veggies.
You can steam broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and more! Just make sure they're well cooled before bagging and freezing.
3. Make your sauce/marinade.
I like to reserve a bit of the marinade when I'm cooking my proteins so I can pack it in containers with veggies and rice for later use. Then all you have to do is add your protein and heat it up whenever you're ready to eat!
Now, go ahead and heat your food back up and enjoy. Yes, this one might take a lot of time but the results are definitely worth it!
I think we can all agree that home-cooked meals are healthier than takeout or fast food. So just follow these guidelines and you'll always have a healthy, delicious meal ready to eat after a long day at work/school. In the end, it's all about being organized and setting your meal prep schedule so you can spend time on things that matter most.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Another great thing about planning your meals ahead is that it gives you the chance to experiment with new recipes, especially in the slow cooker! Some awesome examples include Sweet Potato Chili, Paleo Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup, and Teriyaki Meatballs. Pinterest is packed with great slow-cooker recipes!
PRO TIP: Make extra! Cook once for dinner and set aside leftovers to enjoy for lunch. As you'll see, planning ahead is a great way to save yourself from scrambling to make food in the morning before work or school.
3. Switch to Natural Beauty and Skincare Products
Conventional skincare and beauty products can be filled with all kinds of sketchy, even dangerous ingredients. Common bad boy ingredients include petroleum jelly, sulfates, parabens, perfumes, and alcohol. If you're looking for some good skincare and beauty products, check the ingredients! They really do tell all. See something like "fragrance"? That's a big red flag! It's probably hiding something icky. And we all know that skincare and beauty products on your face can enter your bloodstream and head right to your heart, so it's important to be on the lookout for sketchy ingredients!
Make the Natural Ingredient Switch for the Best Year Ever!
Switching to natural beauty products can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. There are a lot of great natural beauty products out there that work just as well as conventional beauty products. Here are a few tips to help you make the switch:
- Start by replacing your conventional skincare products with natural ones. There are a lot of great natural skincare brands out there, (I mean, I'm personally in love with Beauty by Earth, but there are a lot of great brands to choose from). You should have no trouble finding something that works for you.
- Replace your conventional makeup with natural makeup. I like Pacifica and Clove & Hallow. Again, there are a lot of great brands out there!
- Make sure you choose products that aren't tested on animals. And it's important to remember that it's not just conventional products that aren't cruelty-free. So always double-check the labels to make sure you don't support animal testing. Beauty by Earth is Leaping Bunny Certified, which means all products are guaranteed to be completely free of animal testing! Woot!
- Look for items that are made from sustainably sourced ingredients and natural extracts to help preserve the planet as well as your own health.
4: Go RAW!
Sounds crazy, I know, but raw fruits and veggies are loaded with natural vitamins and essential nutrients that can get lost during the cooking process.
The idea behind the raw food movement is that cooking food destroys nutrients and natural enzymes. This process kills off most of the foods' enzymes that aid in digestion and disease prevention. In a nutshell: When you cook it, you destroy its life energy. Accordingly, eating more unprocessed foods will provide you with an overload of nutrients instead! Enzymes in those bright fruits and veggies are preserved since they won't undergo harsh temps from boiling, baking, or frying. Some believe this allows your body to absorb more of the ingredient's nutrients. They boast that a diet of raw foods can help with headaches, allergies, immunity, memory, and disease.
Few studies have been conducted about this type of lifestyle but their results were promising enough to convince many people around the world that going "raw" is where it's at!
So what can I eat on a Raw Diet?
Uncooked, unprocessed, and mostly organic foods are your best bet. We're talking raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains that make up your core staples. Some people consume unpasteurized dairy products, raw eggs, meat, or fish. We recommend, though, to take it slow. Just sub out cooked fruits and veggies for raw versions.
How to Embrace Raw Eating Habits
So, how do you go about adding more raw foods to your diet? Here are some easy ways to get started:
The easiest way to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet is to make sure they are always easily accessible. Keep them in the front of the fridge, not buried deep in the crisper drawer where they will go bad before you can eat them. You can also buy pre-cut veggies that are easy for packing snacks or meals on the go!
- Buy a big tub of baby carrots/celery/cucumbers and snack on them through the day. They're super easy to keep in your desk drawer at work or in your backpack for when you need a pick-me-up.
- Eat fruit instead of drinking juice! Oftentimes, juices are filled with unnecessary sugar that doesn't provide any real nutritional value. Fruit is always the way to go!
- Explore new recipes/ingredients! Pinterest has an endless supply of great ideas for delicious meals featuring raw vegetables & fruits.
Give it a try! And if you can't commit to eating raw all of the time, make sure to at least have one or two days where you go full-on RAW.
5. Toss old beauty and skincare products
Did you know that nearly every beauty product you buy has an expiration date? If you've ever gone to the beach wearing expired sunscreen you know the pain of ignoring the toss date.
It's true: all products are going to turn bad over time. The fewer additives/preservatives, the faster the degradation. While that might sound like a bad thing, it's actually quite natural. Just like your kale won't stay fresh in your fridge forever, your moisturizers and eye creams aren't immortal. Keep using them past their expiration date and they'll become less effective for their original purpose (i.e., moisturizing) or even worse — they could harm your skin!
How to find the expiration date on your beauty and skincare bottles
The easiest way to see an expiration date for a skincare product is by looking at the bottle. All cosmetic items with a shelf life of 30 months or more must display the PAO—Period After Opening—on their labels. Items with a shorter shelf life than 30 months must be labeled according to the minimum shelf life or best before date. These symbols are usually pictured as a number inside an open-lid jar surrounded by a circle.
Most skincare and beauty products have PAOs between 12-6 months. That means that the 3-year-old mascara floating around in the bottom of your purse is way overdue for recycling. For sunscreens and some other specialized products, the expiration date will be printed on the bottle somewhere in plain text, (e.g. Exp: 3/2022). If you're hanging on to one of these babies, it's time to say goodbye. This is especially true for SPF products. Your skin doesn't deserve that burn, babe.
6. Improve Your Relationship with Caffeine
Coffee beans are actually seeds, not actual beans! They contain caffeine just like dark chocolate, which has a lesser amount of caffeine than coffee. With that being said, you can absolutely have too much of a good thing. (I know! I'm cringing too. I am just so in love with that sweet, sweet cup of coffee . . .)
And let's be real: it's definitely possible to overdo it. Consuming too much caffeine leads to increased anxiety, jitters, and stomach problems like acid reflux. It can even cause insomnia or nightmares if you consume it later in the day.
Worried you might be a coffee addict? Check how many cups of coffee or caffeine-filled beverages you're consuming each day. If you're finding yourself chugging more than 2, you might consider scaling back a little at a time. Believe me, you don't want to develop those pesky caffeine addiction symptoms. Go ahead and turn down your coffee consumption before suffering from the disruptive effects of too much joe.
How to drink less coffee
Luckily there are lots of healthy alternatives to coffee! For instance, try a Fig brew, a Matcha or Chai tea, a Tumeric blend, or even a mushroom-based alternative (it tastes like cocoa!) Don't want to quit coffee entirely (me either, friend!)? Try a blend enhanced with vitamins and minerals to help you feel great all day long!
How to drink less caffeine-rich sodas
If you're a Pepsi or Coke lover, it might be hard to kick the addiction. Rather than losing that blissful fizz entirely, opt for a flavored sparkling water like La Croix or Waterloo. There are so many great flavors to choose from ranging from tropical combos to simple flavors like cranberry or pineapple. Best of all, you'll still get your fizzy fix but without the high sugar, calories, and caffeine content. Win-win!
7. Got a Goal? Get a Buddy
It's much easier to accomplish a goal when you have someone who will cheer you on every step of the way. Find a friend or family member who wants to accomplish the same goal as you and reach your milestones together. While it's important to remember that everyone should strive for their own individual goals, having a buddy is an effective way to increase motivation. It can also help hold people accountable for not cheating on their diets or skipping workouts.
If you're looking for the perfect person, consider asking your significant other to join you on this journey. Or maybe your best friend or favorite co-worker could provide the daily motivation needed to achieve your goal. Whoever it is, just make sure they're someone who will be supportive and help hold you accountable!
Fun ways to find a new friend
It's 2022 and the options for making friends in new ways are vast! If you're not one to go out and meet people (no judgment) then maybe try an online app like MeetUp or one of the many friendship apps for people in your area. They range from broad— Bumble BFF—to specific, based on life stage or interest—Like Peanut, an app for moms or expecting moms to find community. These apps can be a blast and allow you to find community, support, and even fun activities in your area!
Our Favorite Friend-Finding Apps
Here's our breakdown of some of the best apps for finding a new friend:
Bumble BFF - Let's you set up new play dates with other moms in your area! Great for finding friends who are close to you and have kids around the same age as your kids.
MeetUp - A site and app that connects like-minded people based on interests and hobbies you can find a new activity partner or workout buddy!
Peanut - An app for moms to help each other through the ups and downs of motherhood by finding community, support, ideas, and fun activities in your area!
Next Door - Neighbors can see what's going on around them, and everything from yard sales to childcare opportunities is documented by Nextdoor. It's a more natural integration into your neighborhood than the standard move-in!
Hey! VINA - A new app that brings women together based on interests and hobbies for finding friends who share your passions!
Badoo - This site and app is great for meeting people in your area since you can see where other users are located. It's especially helpful if interested in dating or finding a connection with someone close to you.
Atleto - Looking for a friend for a little basketball? Need a buddy to play tennis with? Atleto is your app! It's all about matching you with individuals who like the same sports as you, and encouraging you to play together in real life. Who knows? You might just find your new jogging BFF!
Let's be honest, friendship is always a great way to jumpstart your new year!
2022 is looking bright!
To help you jumpstart your new year, we've compiled 7 ideas for how to find friends in different ways than before. Whether it's through leveling up your fitness routine with a Peloton bike or meeting people through a friendship app, the possibilities are endless. Let me know which idea you find most appealing in the comments below. Tried something else not on my list? Tell me about it!
Snowflakes and Matcha,