“Sky Above Clouds III/Above the Clouds III” by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1963

If there is anything we should focus on after a year like 2020, it’s self-care. Reconnecting with ourselves and the things that bring us joy. Prioritizing health and happiness. Shanelle McKenzie and Kim Knight, co-founders of the Villij — a company committed to creating a more inclusive and accessible wellness space — admit that, even for them, mindfulness can be difficult to achieve. “As nurturers and healers, we walk a fine line between serving our well-deserved community and serving our personal needs,” they tell us. “While our work centers on well-being, we also neglect to take care of ourselves at times.” Sounds familiar. In 2021, we resolve to change that.

Here, McKenzie and Knight offer up five ways to achieve mindfulness in the year ahead. Spoiler alert: the work starts first thing.

1. Spend the first 30 minutes of your day doing something that brings you joy

The best thing we can do for our mental well-being is to create mindful morning routines to start our day. Whether it be journaling, taking a walk or listening to a playlist while preparing breakfast, do something that makes you feel good.

2. Trust yourself

Ever feel like you’re your biggest critic? Well, you are not alone. It’s important to be aware of your self-doubt and your lack of trust within. They may be at the root of some of your actions. Learn to address these thoughts and assumptions by writing a list of the decisions you’ve made with favorable outcomes. Then, create another list of the decisions you made in which the outcomes were not favorable. Every time, you are faced with doubt or indecision, take a look at your list. It will remind you that you’ve made the right decision for YOU.

3. Write a letter to your inner child

Often, so much of our trauma and insecurities stem from our childhood. As an adult, there are ideologies and negative experiences that we still may latch onto subconsciously. Start the year by writing a letter to your inner child to put your younger self at ease. Reminding yourself that you have what it takes to be well and overcome anything that comes your way is an amazing and therapeutic practice.

4. Live in between your goals

2020 was the year that reminded us that life is not promised. Despite all the new year resolutions and planning, we were all faced with uncertainty that affected our life decisions. Of course, goals give us a sense of direction. But, shouldn’t we enjoy the journey in between? What if the journey to our goals is what really matters instead of if we achieve them or not? So, leave room for daily moments that appreciate where you currently are in life. Spend time nurturing a hobby, enjoy the outdoors, eat food your body deserves, and connect with loved ones are just a few examples of living in between your goals.

5. Let go

Letting go of expectations, thoughts and habits that no longer serve you will help create space for all the wonderful things you want to receive in the new year. As a way to move forward, imagine life through behaviors that align with your goals and purpose. Create a list of things (and even people) you feel are holding you back. When the time feels right, breathe and release.

For more from the Villij, click here.

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