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Welcome 2021 with an Open Heart!

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

by Kellie Sabas

It's a brand new year and oh, what a fresh start!

It's a good feeling that we can start all over again and set goals for this year especially the ones we didn't achieve last year due to the 'pause' and 'shift' the whole world has witnessed.

We know that 2020 was not the best one for many reasons. For one (and most devastating), the Covid-19 global pandemic resulted in many loses both lives and livelihood.

I am one of the millions of people who suffered economic consequences. Being in the hospitality industry, the most affected of all, my events have been cancelled due to closures of hotels and travel restrictions. And on the consultancy side, my clients have paused their marketing activities because of the uncertainties we're all facing. As work and school closed their doors temporarily and as my young school-aged children transition to distance learning, we all had to adapt. Quickly.

I admit I felt a little defeated in the beginning but I did not let it drag for long. I acknowledged the situation we are all in and I pivoted right away. I made productive use of my downtime by taking up all the relevant courses I can take online while helping my children adjust in their online learning as well. We all became students. I also discovered my penchant for online learning and as a result, I've gained a few certifications in Digital Marketing and E-Commerce and I am almost done with Social Media Marketing Specialization.

However, the best one that made a huge impact on me was a psychology class titled The Science of Well-Being being taught at YALE University which is my inspiration for creating this space. As of this writing, there are 3.1 million people who took this FREE course through I am forever grateful to Professor Laurie Santos for sharing her knowledge to as many people as possible. Frankly, I think everyone should take the course. Perhaps, it can be taught in high school or even elementary students.

The class engages students in “challenges designed to increase your own happiness,” and teaches how to “build more productive habits” and “incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life,” according to the syllabus. My own definition and key takeaway from The Science of Well-Being is learning the fundamentals of how our brains (and thinking) affect one's happiness and how you can lead a happy life. Now, who doesn't want that?

As part of the course, students are taught how to re-wire our brain and form healthy habits.

Personally, I chose yoga + meditation for my re-wirement goal because I know both practices benefits the mind + body. I've also started doing it more regularly since the lockdown so I wanna know if I can really re-wire my brain and form a habit as the course promised. Well, it has been several months since I took the course, and I am happy to share that I am still doing daily yoga and meditation. Every. single. day. 183 days to be exact. It's now part of my daily routine and I definitely feel the difference. That's 6 months X 30 days of yoga!

I love following Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and she has at least five or more 30 days challenges for you to start with and she's currently running a new 30-day yoga journey entitled BREATH. You should definitely check her Youtube channel. It's free and she's the best! A huge inspiration.

Curious yet? Before the class, I would do yoga maybe when I find the TIME and motivation. More of the former. With meditation, I was fairly new to it but since I have meditation in my Audible app, I would listen to it during bedtime, to help me relax and catch some Zzzzs.

What worked wonder and helped me to be more consistent with my practice is adopting the tools I learned from the class like situation support and goal setting. I scheduled my yoga in my calendar and it would send me a reminder, not once but thrice. Although paper reminders are good, a ping worked better. That real-time notification bell signals your brain that it's time. For example, I try to practice yoga after dropping the kids to school and labeled it ME time. And it worked! Now, my brain knows 2 pm is dedicated to me and I have to treat that time sacred like I would if it's a work or doctor's appointment. It works 95% of the time but there are days when there are conflicts and that is when you have to be more flexible. Yoga teaches you that. Just go with the flow.

Another tool I adapted is using technology to help not just as a reminder but more so to motivate me to keep going. I've been using an app called Daily Yoga to practice daily meditation and then I post it on my Facebook Story that day as my way of checking in. (Telling someone you're doing something helps too). I'm using the free version of the app and set my 6-day Journey to Loving Heart meditation on repeat. I love it and I look forward to it every day. According to my app, I've done 2,525 minutes, 181 days and my longest streak was 49 days! Yes, I missed a day sometimes and it goes back to one. But that's not the point. The point of meditation is setting aside a quiet time for your brain and body to relax, to just focus on your breath and be mindful of your thoughts. Meditation has proven to have a lot of health benefits aside from clearing your mind, like reducing stress and anxiety, which are very handy in the times that we are in. Read this blog from a non-profit Mindworks as they clearly define what IS meditation and what it's NOT. Perhaps, while there, you can try their Fundamental Meditation for free as well and begin a meditation practice this year.

As I shared in my story and the previous post, The Science of Well-Being inspired me to start this space and my goal is to help more people know about this open secret. There are so many things I learned from this course, that it has to be shared in a series of blogs. If I am being totally honest, it has helped me changed not just my habits but also affirmed some beliefs as well as shift my mindset and perspective.

My journey since the pandemic has turned from a seemingly bad start to a year of self-development and self-discovery. I see opportunities coming my way and I find myself open to receiving it because I have a clear mind and an open heart. Overall, I feel happy and I worry less.

My wish for 2021 is for everyone to be safe, healthy and happy in mind, body and soul.

I wish that this global pandemic stops or at least be controlled so that we all get back to a sense of normalcy or adjust to the new normal. That more businesses and schools open. That livelihoods return. That we all heal from this tragedy and bounce back with much enthusiasm and positive outlook.

I invite you to look inside and open your heart to all the possibilities this new year brings, despite and in spite of.

Thank you for stopping by. Stay well and Be Happy.

You can find Happy Body, Mind and Soul on Facebook and Instagram by searching @happyMEcamp

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