2014 Health: Renew with the Chinese New Year

chinese-new-year-red-envelopes-oranges

Today marks the 2014 Chinese New Year, ushering in the year of the horse. It also stands as the one month marker from when you set your resolutions at the outset of the month. This is a great time to revisit those goals and evaluate whether or not you’ve been staying on track.

Use the Chinese New Year to renew and refresh. Whether you’re still riding pretty or you’ve seem to fallen off your horse, it’s never too late to pump up the energy and really put your goals into action. Haven’t set a resolution yet? We can all benefit from working towards positive initiatives. Make the Chinese New Year your New Year, and spend some time today to declare a resolution.

Need some extra inspiration? Following are some ways to use the year of the horse to your advantage.

  • Giddy up [off the couch]: The horse is part of a 12-year cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. Each hold different characteristics bestowed to those born in that year. A primary one for those in a horse year is “energy”. Yee-haw.

It is said that this year, all past horse babies will embody an even extra amount of vitality. Good for them. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Well, it’s simply a good excuse to try to tap into some of that energy for ourselves. Let this year be the year you establish a regular workout routine, and find the exercise that fits you best. Whether it’s unwinding after a day of work with an evening yoga class, getting up bright and early for an awakening morning walk, hitting the tennis courts on a Saturday afternoon, or joining a group class, there are tons of ways to get active. Allow yourself to try new activities until you find the one(s) that fits you best. Research shows that exercise fights fatigue, meaning we call all make this the year of our most energized self. The key is just a bit of regular movement! Yee-haw to that too.

  • Taste the tradition: While our New Year seems to be more about imbibing brews and booze, the Chinese New Year is one filled with culinary traditions. Many of the foods they use to signify good luck could also bring your body good health. Plan a celebratory dinner that starts out with a plate of long, leafy greens, meant to signify and wish upon a long life for your parents. Check out this recipe for Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce. Tackle a whole fish for the main event of the meal. The word for fish in Chinese sounds like, and is associated, with the word for abundance. It’s important that the fish be kept whole to represent a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year. This recipe for Fragrant Steamed Fish with ginger and scallions from PopSugar sounds like a winner to us. Finish with a simple dessert of fresh oranges, which denote luck and wealth. Bonus points if they still have their leaves, a symbol of longevity.
  • Keep your house pure and clean: It’s Chinese tradition to thoroughly sweep every corner of the house before and after the New Year to rid it of bad luck and negativity. (Take note: don’t clean on the actual New Year, today, for this is said to sweep away good luck!) While cold weather lurks, dance around with your broom, and burn some calories while doing it. This is also a good time to take a look at your cupboards and rid them of unneeded junk. After all, your body is your true home, meaning it’s the most important thing to keep clean if you want to embody good fortune. Let’s raise a green smoothie to that.

Wishing you all a prosperous year ahead, Gong Xi Fa Cai.


How to Stick to those New Years Resolutions

New Year New You

By Lizzie Myers

Happy New Year! On this last day of the year, now is the time to think back on the greatest moments of 2013 and look forward to an even happier 2014. For most people, personal health is a priority and there is always room for improvement. Whether it’s weight loss, heart health, or better sleep, it’s important to stick to your health resolutions. As the excitement of the New Year fizzles out, so will the crowd at the gym and the deals on health programs. The key is to keep your resolutions from fizzling too. How can you do this, you ask? Try these tips out!

Be Specific – Turn An Idea into an Achievable Action

While “lose weight” or “get more sleep each night” are great goals to set, they are far more difficult to accomplish in absence of a plan. Ask yourself: How exactly can I reach these results? For example, one might replace “get more sleep each night” with “lights out by 11pm every night” or “no electronics after 9pm.”  With a concrete and reasonable approach in mind, a health resolution, and any resolution for that matter, becomes much more manageable.

Make it a Routine from the Get-Go

Everyone has some semblance of a routine in their life, no matter how disorganized you think you are. Many of us wake up, go to work, eat 3 meals per day, and go to sleep around the same time during the workweek. A daily routine depends on what an individual’s priorities are, and all secondary tasks are planned around that routine. For this reason, aim to make your resolution part of your daily routine, installing it as a mandatory part of your day. Want to lose weight? Throw a gym bag in your car before heading out the door and hit the gym after work. It will likely take some effort to initially create the habit, but come February, you’ll see that habit start to cement.

Sign Up for Something

If you’re one to get bored easily or lack motivation, make each workout feel like an adventure. Now is the time to sign up for nutrition programs or fitness classes, and try something new. With so many people resolving to improve their health, there are deals galore in the world of wellness at this time of year. Once you commit money towards one of these programs, it’ll be hard to let that go to waste!

 From all of your friends at LifeVest, we wish you a healthy and happy New Year! Don’t be afraid to set goals. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. We’ll be here to help motivate you along the way.