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8 Ways to Live Your Best Life in 2021

More than ever before, you are soready to start a new year with a clean slate. But staring at a brand-new set of calendar squares isn’t going to magically improve your life—that’s up to you. Here are some ways to do just that.

1: Breathe DeeplyA

It almost goes without saying, but 2020 was a tense year for a lot of people. Such tension can lead to shallow breathing, which uses only about 20% of your lung capacity. On the other hand, deep breathing can help your lungs open up, leaving you feeling ready to tackle a new year. Breathing more deeply can also help you to detoxify: “The same way we chew food, we need to ‘chew’ the air,” says Susana Belen, author of Detox and Revitalize (Vital Health). So try this: Inhale slowly until your lungs are full, and then retain that big breath so all that oxygen can pass into your blood. Belen suggests that each time you remind yourself about deep breathing—particularly while doing mundane tasks—you should inhale and exhale slowly 10 times. Such “breathing breaks” will help you incorporate this beneficial practice into your daily life.

2: Care for the Skin You’re In

It’s about more than just looking good: The skin is an organ essential for getting rid of toxins, which requires looking at skincare in a whole new light. Belen cautions that many creams and lotions can clog pores, hindering toxin release; she recommends dry-brushing your skin with a natural fiber brush to remove dead cells, which opens the pores. And Alexandra Jamieson, author of The Great American Detox Diet (Rodale), suggests hot towel scrubbing: Prepare a hot wet towel and a basin, then “gently rub in circles from your fingertips up and from your toes up, and that opens the pores. It’s a nice way to take a break and actually get in touch with your body a little bit,” Jamieson says.

3: Give Dairy a Rest

Believe it or not, taking a break from dairy may help you feel better. “Even if you’ve been using organic dairy products, so many people have lactose intolerance—or even a dairy allergy that they’re not aware of—that just removing it for a week or so and seeing how you feel can often show a lot of improvement,” says Jamieson. She recommends cutting out butter, cheese, milk, yogurt and related foods, if only temporarily. This allows the body to acclimate to life without dairy, which may lead to benefits such as better elimination habits and reduced nasal congestion.†

4: Eat More Protein

The pros of protein go far beyond just building muscle: This crucial nutrient forms the bulk of all your body’s tissues besides serving as an energy source and providing a sense of hunger-quenching satisfaction after meals. Organic eggs and meat, as well as wild-caught seafood, provide protein, as do such plant-based sources as beans, peas and nuts. And it doesn’t hurt to add clean protein powders to your diet, such as the Organic Proteins from NaturesPlus: Available in Almond, Paleo, Pea, Pumpkin Seed and Sunflower, each is not only organic but also vegan and gluten-free.

5: Take Stock of Your Life

Taking better care of your body is crucial to living a good life…but only if you know what you’re living for. Sit down with a notepad and pen, then think about the term “life purpose” and free-associate for five minutes, writing down anything that comes to mind without worrying about spelling, grammar, etc. What is it that you really value in life, and how can you arrange your life to live out those values on a daily basis? Boil that down into words or phrases, such as “generosity” or “professional excellence.” Then try identifying an opposing quality. For example, ““My word is ‘inspire,’ so for me the opposite is ‘boredom,’” says life coach Teri-E Belf, MA, CAGS, MCC. “Then I look at each area of my life and see where boredom shows up.”

6: Find a Creative Outlet

We all have the drive to create, so the question is: What’s yours? Are you drawn to visual arts, such as drawing or photography? Do you enjoy writing, such as poems or fiction, or making music as a singer or instrumentalist? Do you prefer handicrafts, such as knitting or woodworking? Or do your interests lie in areas such gardening or cooking? Find what you love to do…and then find ways to make more time for that thing you love.

7: Connect Socially (If Not in Person)

Humans are social beings, wired for connection not only as a survival mechanism but also as a source of deep emotional and spiritual satisfaction. That’s why it is critically important to stay in touch with friends and family, whether you can see them in person or not. And while calling, texting, Zooming, Skyping, etc. are all useful ways to do that, you can also go old-school with handwritten cards; even a brief “thinking of you” note can mean so much. (Who knows—you might even get a card in return!)

8: Connect to the Wider World

In a time when it’s easy to feel disengaged, empathy—the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes—can help overcome such feelings. “The more we get to know people not like us, the easier it is to empathize because we realize that we are all part of the human fabric,” says psychiatrist Helen Riess, MD, author of The Empathy Effect (Sounds True). Finding ways to be of service—anything from buying groceries for an elderly neighbor to giving blood to participating in a local park or beach cleanup day—will allow you to not only help others but also discover a deeper sense of connection.

†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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