Ethical Wellness Routines to Try in the New Year

Life is full of seasons. Of course, we would all prefer to start the new year in a season of joy, energy, well-being, and organization. But, as they say, the wind doesn’t blow just because we want it to. We’re often not exactly where we want to be. A fact that is complicated by that sneaky part of human nature that makes where we want to be an ever-shifting target.  

The conflicts and confusion in our inner and outer worlds can often feel overwhelming. The outer world is obviously an exceptionally hard nut to crack as far as creating stability goes, but we do have a significant amount of power to create a sense of stability in our inner worlds. This is where wellness routines come in handy.  

Okay, I saw that eye roll. 

And I get it. Wellness routines are by no means the panacea that some people make them out to be. Sometimes the instability of the outer world touches us personally, dislodging us to a place where routine seems like something out of a fairytale. Sometimes we’re so overwhelmed that creating a routine is just another addition to our to-do list, and it can feel like the straw that will break the camel’s back. Creating a wellness routine shouldn’t become just one more thing we kick ourselves for not doing or sticking to. It should be something we engage in when we feel ready and able.  

Wellness routines should also not be more expensive then we can afford (this looks different for everyone), and they should involve ethical choices

We can only truly feel well when we know that our decisions are not impacting another person’s chance at well-being.  

 

If you’re in a season where you feel you would benefit from incorporating some routine into your day, here are a few building blocks for creating ethical wellness routines that work for your schedule and energy level. 

Morning Routines

There seems to be a pretty big divide between the early morning device-lovers and the screen-detoxers. Some people love waking up and immediately checking messages and social media while others benefit from avoiding technology altogether. So, test it out for yourself and see what works best for you! If starting your day by catching up on texts and emails makes you feel energized, that’s great. If avoiding your phone for the first few hours of the morning helps you feel clear minded, that’s great, too.  

Ethical Wellness Routines

Whether you’re a fair trade coffee or tea connoisseur, an OJ obsessive, or a health smoothie maven, take some time to prepare your favorite beverage and savor it, even if only for a minute or two. Take a few sips and deep breaths if you’re pressed for time or enjoy it slowly while reading or doing a few of your favorite stretches.  

Treat your body to the energy it needs (and the deliciousness it wants) with breakfast! Breakfast preferences vary widely and what’s best to eat in the morning can depend on what you plan to do that day. Tailor you breakfast menu based on your individual needs for the day.  

Confidence is key to feeling ready to take on the day, so don’t just grasp through dark closet and throw on whatever’s closest! Take a little time to pick something out that makes you feel comfortable and like your best self. This doesn’t require having so many clothes that you’re breaking out something new every day.

It simply requires a few much-loved, mix-and-matchable pieces.

Consider building a capsule wardrobe that includes your favorite ethical staples and maybe a few fun fair trade accents to jazz things up.  

Work Day Routines 

If nothing else, stay hydrated! It’s not as easy as it sounds because water is basically the world’s most boring beverage. But spicing things up doesn’t mean you have to invest in expensive flavored drinks that come in plastic bottles. Add a few slices of cucumber to cool water or squeeze some lemon juice into a mug of hot water to add flavor without adding plastic waste.  

Get up from your workspace and take a short walk every few hours, preferably stopping to get more water along the way! 

Ethical wellness routines can be reserved for certain days of the week. On Mondays, take some time to think through your week, setting goals and thinking through challenges. On Fridays, take some time to reflect on your week. What was successful and what were the learning experiences?  

Evening Routines 

One easy evening routine is getting things set for your morning routine! Morning person or not, we’re all a little groggy first thing in the morning so consider planning your outfit or prepping your breakfast the night before.  

Enjoy one treat. What qualifies as a treat is entirely personal. Maybe it’s a square (or, okay, two) of fair trade chocolate or cooking dinner with your family.  

Ethical wellness routines don’t have to done alone! If you live with a large family, spend a few minutes of one-on-one conversation with everyone. If you live alone, take some time to play or snuggle with your pet or reflect on your day in a journal.  

Slow down before bed with a cup of fair trade herbal tea in your favorite mug and a good book. This one is my favorite. I keep things interesting by investing in a variety of teas that I can choose from. Some nights I pick a soothing belly comfort tea with fennel. Other nights I mince some ginger and steep it in hot water with lemon. Anything can be exciting if you choose to make it so! Consider burning incense to help set a calming mood.  

Creating ethical wellness routines is a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. Choose what works best for your life today and adjust your routine over time, including taking time off when needed and picking your routines back up again when you’re ready.  

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Maddie Murphy

Madeleine lives in Lancaster, PA. Most of the time she’s reading, but occasionally, you might see her outside riding a bike.

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