According to the History Channel (www.history.com), the custom of creating New Year’s resolutions first began about 4000 years ago with the Babylonians who developed the practice of starting the new year by making promises to pagan gods. If they kept their promise, they would be rewarded. A similar practice was adopted by the Romans in 46 B.C. and early European Christians in the 1700s. Despite its religious roots, making a New Year’s resolution is currently a secular practice that typically focuses on self-improvement. Popular resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, etc. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, New Year’s resolutions are often unsuccessful and short-lived. Perhaps, the problem is that we are not equipped with “the right tools for the job”. As any handyman (or woman) will attest to…having the correct tool makes all the difference.
So this year, create a Wellness Tool-Kit for yourself or a loved one. First, select a box that is aesthetically pleasing to you. It can be purchased or made. To create your own, cover a shoe box with craft paper or paper grocery sacks and decorate it with photos, stickers, postcards, scrapbook paper or drawings. This could be a fun family activity. Then, begin collecting wellness tools. Some examples include, stress balls, baoding balls (www.baodingballs.com), blowing bubbles, chewing gum, playdough, mini Buddah boards (www.buddhaboard.com), relaxation or meditation CDs, finger paints, scented candles, mini rain sticks and essential oils (lavender or orange for anxiety/depression, chamomile to relieve anger, peppermint or eucalyptus to overcome fatigue). You may also research some ideas for guided meditation, mindfulness activities and breathing techniques. Write down some websites or activities on index cards and keep them in the box as reminders.
How to use your tool-kit is entirely up to you…you can schedule time each day or just go into the box when you are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Consider keeping one or two items in your car, backpack or purse so they are always available to you. Remember, this is your tool-kit. Make it work for you and revisit it from time to time to add, change or refresh the items.
Wishing you Happy New Year!
– Amy Molloy, Training and Program Specialist