How To Begin The Year Feeling Renewed

 In Reflections, Top List

The first month of the year always feels rejuvenating and refreshing, or at the very least you hope that it does. If you are lucky enough to begin the year with a trip, that is our number one way to kick start the year with a positive outlook and feeling absolutely your best!

However, that is not always possible and for us, our January didn’t begin with a trip (outside of several trips to New York City, that is, but that’s our backyard so take what you will). So, we look for other activities and make them as travel related as possible to encourage that same rejuvenating, refreshing and renewing outlook we hope for to kick off the new year.

Below we share a few of our favorite ways to “travel” when you can’t travel.


Take a Hike

Hiking in Randa, Switzerland

Hiking is such a simple act that requires no money, no required traveling and can be done just about anywhere. No matter where you live, there is someplace you can go within a reasonable driving distance that can get you out of the daily chaos and into nature. A walk in nature is refreshing for the body, the mind and the soul. It can be exhilarating, it can be calming and it can really help clear the mind.

John Muir is someone Kapil admires and this quote really brings it home with respect to hiking and being in nature, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” This is beyond true. We would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t ventured out into nature and come away with more than they had set out for.

So find your local state park, the beach, the mountains, or just your own neighborhood and set out for a walk.


See Sunrise and Sunset

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean

The miracle of a sunrise and sunset are something we take for granted daily. We forget how easily attainable it is. You don’t need to go out to the ocean front or mountain tops to witness it – although if you have access to either or both, what a treat you could be having on the regular! This simple act of observation reminds you of your place in this universe and how both profound and tiny it is simultaneously! It can’t help but brighten your day, give you a little more perspective on life, yourself and the day ahead. So take some time out to wake up a little earlier than usual and go see the miracle of another day begin right in front of your eyes.

Sometimes it doesn’t even require leaving your home to see the sun come above or set below the horizon! You might even be able to do it from the comfort of your couch and in your pajamas!


Go for a Drive

Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee

We love road trips and as often as we do them, there are definitely times when a road trip with a set destination is just not on the cards. So we do the next best thing we can — we just go for long drives! Pick a route, set out and turn around when it feels right. Simple as that! Because let’s face it, sometimes you just want to feel restored without any physical activity. When you just want your mind to stop thinking or on the flip side, give it a lot space to think and you just want some uninterrupted period of time where you can go and not be stressed about anything else. Long drives can be very therapeutic and other than gas, it doesn’t cost you much. They are also excellent way to travel when you’re short on time because even escaping to a neighboring town, state, province, et al can shift the mind just enough to regain its frame of reference.


Work Out – Indoors or Outdoors

Swimming in Cartagena, Colombia

Working out is a big part of our lives but we both have very different ways in which we approach it. Kapil feels his best when he’s at the gym and lifting weights at 3:30am like clockwork every morning. Saadia, on the other hand, feels best when she’s at a yoga class or taking a dance class with no set schedules to either. Regardless of which approach best suits you, that singular act of physical fitness, especially if done routinely is a powerful way to consistently feel your best. If you love riding, take your bike out for a stroll, if you love swimming, hit the pool at a recreation center or a local hotel (some hotels offer swim passes for local residents). If you prefer trying different activities, consider aerobics, pilates, the much talked about orange theory classes or even a variety of yoga classes such as hot yoga or aerial yoga. Trust us, there is sure to be something you enjoy that would get your heart racing both physically and emotionally.


Don’t Forget to Look Up

Monument Valley, Utah

If you want a quick reminder of your place in this world, just look up at night. Even if you don’t live in a place where dark skies are prevalent, you can still see some stars with your naked eye. In fact, generally speaking there are three (brightest) stars you can almost always spot in the night sky: Sirius, Vega & Deneb. Of course this depends on which hemisphere you live in, which country and what time of the night you’re looking up. Nonetheless, the sky is filled with billions of stars, the chances of not seeing any are absolutely impossible.

If you can’t recall the last time you gazed up at the sky, then you are in long overdue for a night of stargazing. When you look up, remind yourself what you’re actually looking at. These are enormous balls of gas that are lightyears away, meaning millions, billions & trillions of miles away! So no matter which star you’re looking up at, you’re looking at our past! Standing here, in this ver moment, you are looking at a past that is nearly impossible to imagine and yet, here you are, witnessing it! This is a remarkable miracle in and of itself, yet, we take that for granted on the regular.

The idea that we have no idea what the universe looks like at the very moment that we are looking out is probably life’s biggest mystery and miracle; how can you not get perspective when you stop to think about the enormity of this one tiny fact?


Meditate

This seems a bit out of place in comparison to the above recommendations, but this is something Saadia has adopted over the last several months and more routinely since January and it has made all the difference in everyday life. She uses the Calm app, makes it a point to do it first thing in the morning, even before getting out of bed so that there are no excuses for not keeping up with it regularly. The app has a ton of different meditation programs from focusing on self care, habits, personal growth, anxiety, focus, and just about everything else between. The app also features a Sleep program which is filled with music, bedtime stories, nature sounds – all of which has been quite helpful in helping to fall asleep sooner and in a more calmer state of mind.

Tip: The meditation are guided, so there is a bit of talking at the beginning and end to help you get the most of it. The first time Saadia tried it early last year, the guided meditation felt distracting and a nuisance. However, after giving it a second try, nearly a year later, she found the guided meditation to actually be super helpful. It helped keep the mind focused and bring the mind back into focus when it would stray. If you are just beginning meditation, it is worthwhile to give the guided meditation a chance (maybe a second or third chance) before dismissing it altogether.


Wishing you a wonderful January, an adventurous 2019 and sending you loads of positive vibes!

What do you do to get the feel of renewal when you can’t travel? Share in the comments below; we’d love your suggestions!

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