How To Welcome Wellness in the New Year: Advice From Our Health Experts
Welcome the new year with invaluable advice from our health and wellness experts regarding sound healing, intention setting, fitness goals and regimens, mental health, and healthy recipes.
The new year is a perfect opportunity to check in with yourself, reflect on the past year, and set your intentions for the year to come. As a community built on positive change, we’re excited to share advice from our wellness experts to pave the way for a mindful and healthful journey into the new year.
To inspire you to set intentions (rather than resolutions) that will continue to serve you in the new year and beyond, we’ve compiled guidance from Marc Megna, Co-Founder of Anatomy, our fitness partner at 1 Hotel South Beach; fitness guru Devon Levesque; Denevin Miranda, Chef de Cuisine at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge; and Roxie Sarhangi, our Resident Sound Healer at 1 Hotel West Hollywood.
We want you to make the most of this fresh start without overwhelming yourself with unsustainable changes — allowing you to feel grateful, energized, and motivated to align your goals and values and optimize your overall physical, mental, and spiritual wellness in 2022.
Marc Megna, Professional Athlete and Co-Owner of Anatomy at 1 Hotel South Beach, on Fitness and Recovery
What are healthy methods for those looking to reach new fitness goals in the new year?
Start with one goal. Too many goals will set you up for failure. Second, make sure you have a significant WHY. Your WHY will hold you accountable when things get challenging. It will remind you why you started. And last, pick a realistic target date that allows you the time necessary to hit your goal. Write it down and put it somewhere that forces a constant reminder.
Do you have any tips for staying consistent with a new fitness regime?
Schedule each day to avoid guesswork. Make a calendar outlining your training and your recovery days. For example:
- Weight training on Monday
- Running or cardio on Tuesday
- Yoga or mobility on Wednesday
Your training is just like a board meeting. You wouldn’t be late and certainly wouldn’t cancel it.
How can people avoid plateauing?
I suggest scheduling downloading weeks every third or fourth week. Downloading is how athletes continue to train but reduce the overall workload. You would perform half of a workout as opposed to the entire workout, so you continue to train but reduce the amount of stress placed on the body.
How important is recovery for seeing results? How often should people incorporate it?
You don’t get strong in the gym, you get strong in recovery. Pushing your body requires rest and time to recover. If you’re going to push hard you must rest hard. Allow yourself a lazy day of rest. Implement infrared sauna, cold therapy, and meditation sessions. Recovery sessions are an essential part of training. They help shift the body from a stressed state to a calm state. I suggest implementing a recovery day every third or fourth day.
Devon Levesque, Founder of the DML Group and fitness guru, on the Intersection of Mental and Physical Health
You’ve made it your mission to bring attention to mental health. How do you prioritize your mental health and what tips can you give others for doing so in the new year?
Mind and body should act as one. Anytime I do a physical activity I try to superset it with mental activity as well. Here are some tips I super set my physical workouts with:
Give yourself a pat on the back occasionally. I do this by writing down ten things I’ve done in the past couple months to help others. Whether that’s giving back to less fortunate communities or maybe it is as simple as holding a door open for a stranger. Listing out ten things that you’ve done helps me secure self-love.
Providing oxygen to the brain is a super beneficial technique to stay balanced. A simple breathwork technique that I use is called the 3 Point Breath.
- Inhale for 10 seconds
- Hold for 10 seconds
- Exhale for 10 seconds
I do this four times in a row. This helps clear my brain and achieve balance.
You might look at exercise as simply trying to lose weight or looking better but it provides many more benefits than that. The number of endorphins produced when you do physical activity helps significantly reduce depression and anxiety. I try to move my body every single day.
What role can fitness play in maintaining one's mental health and vice versa, how important is being mentally sound in achieving new fitness goals?
All forms of exercise help you understand your body. The more I push my body, the more it makes other obstacles in life feel obtainable. I think there is a direct correlation with physical activity and stress. Push your body for 60 minutes to exhaustion daily so that the other 23 hours in the day come with ease.
Denevin Miranda, Chef de Cuisine at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, shares his favorite recipe and healthy cooking tips
Any tips to slow down and find time for home cooked meals in the new year?
My tip is to manage your time by planning ahead and doing some of the prep in the morning or the day before. That way, throwing together a meal can be done rather quickly.
What’s the key to navigating a farmers market?
The early bird catches the worm or in this case the best produce. Get there early to have the pick of the best produce the farmers brought that day.
What are your favorite seasonal ingredients to feel energized and satiated throughout the day?
Nuts in the winter are great, versatile and protein packed snacks. Roast them, candy them, toss them in a salad or on top of yogurt for an easy healthy snack.
Can you share your favorite recipe to have readers feeling healthy and balanced going into the new year?
Sure, my favorite winter recipe is my easy-to-make homemade honeynut squash soup. Check out the recipe below!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
- 5 ea honeynut squash, halved, seeds removed and reserved
- 1½ cup onions, diced
- 2 Tbls ginger, chopped
- 3 Tbls lemongrass, chopped
- 1 Tbls garlic, chopped
- 4 Tbls Thai red curry paste
- 2 Tbls vegetable oil
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable stock, or water
- 1 tsp salt
Method of Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350F, lightly oil and season squash with salt and pepper, place the cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Roast the squash in the oven for about an hour or until a knife pierces the flesh with no resistance. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onions, ginger, lemongrass and garlic in vegetable oil, add salt and continue to cook until onions are translucent.
Add the curry past to the pot and cook for a few mins until aromatic and oil turns red.
Deglaze pot by adding the coconut milk and vegetable stock, bring mixture to a boil then add the cooked squash, skin and all. Turn down to a simmer and cook for another 20 mins.
The reserved seeds can be tossed in oil and seasoned, then toasted in the oven until lightly golden and crunchy.
Remove the pot from the stove, carefully blend the soup in a blender until very smooth. Use a kitchen towel to cover the top as a safety precaution to prevent any of the hot contents from splashing out.
Pass the pureed soup through a fine sieve, you can return the soup to a pot to heat up again and do some final seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with herbs like parsley or chives and the toasted seeds.
Roxie Sarhangi, Sound Healer, on Setting New Year Intentions
Tell us a little about yourself and the sound baths you host at 1 Hotel West Hollywood.
I am a certified sound healer, artist, and meditation expert with 11 years of experience practicing meditation. I’ve had the honor of serving as the resident sound healer at 1 Hotel West Hollywood since 2019, where I’ve had the pleasure of leading sessions that feel inclusive, inspiring, and welcoming — a sacred safe space to really let go.
The sound journeys at 1 Hotel are experienced during the full moon each month. We have the sessions on the full moon to tune into the natural frequencies of nature and raise our internal vibration. If you think of it literally the moon in this phase is at its brightest and we can see clearer. This is why many individuals are drawn to our powerful full moon ceremonies and rituals to go within and reconnect.
Please share your wisdom about setting intentions. Why can this be more effective than setting resolutions?
Intentions have a broader and more open nature to them, whereas resolutions can feel more rigid and restrictive. Years ago, I transitioned from resolutions to intentions because I noticed I wanted to rebel when there was a resolution! It lacked freedom and creativity for me.
An intention can bring a full vision into play with a creative flow and spiritual connection. Even a single word can be used as an intention to spark great imagination. Perhaps you choose the word "joy" and cultivate a mindset of creating more joy in your life in the next year. What would that mean for you? Taking an extra class? Spending more time with an inspiring friend?
You can also use daily intentions to guide your day. Perhaps you’d like to feel more present and mindful throughout the day, and this intention can bring more awareness to the present moment and remind you to gently check in with yourself.
Every year, I create a list of all the things that made me feel good in the last year, including what I manifested and accomplished. Then — and only then — I decide what I want to create in the next year. It is such a positive way to set the tone for the coming year.
What are the benefits of sound baths?
During each session, participants listen to the sound vibrations of Crystal Bowls, Symphonic Gong, Ocean Drum, Koshi Chimes, and Tibetan Bowls. The sound healing experiences are heart-focused, encouraging free-flowing energy of love and a lightness of being from within. Aligned with my Persian background, I use the ancient Persian poets and mystics, Rumi & Hafez, as my guides for each sound journey. We can use this time to release stress, relax deeply, and reconnect to what is truly important. A reminder we are truly one and not alone. In stillness, we can receive and welcome in beautiful open energy that is already within us. It is a great act of self-care and self-love.
There are so many benefits of sound baths, ranging from feeling relaxed to experiencing a deep state of transcendence and transformation. There is a great published study here on the effects of sound healing.
Where and how can guests experience sound healing at home?
There are many ways to experience sound sessions at home via YouTube, and you can use headphones to amplify the sounds. I personally started leading virtual sessions in March of 2020 and we have a beautiful global community now that I am so grateful for! If you sign up on my website, www.roxiesoundhealing.com, you will receive the latest information regarding in-person and virtual events. I also have free sessions on YouTube and have saved sessions on IGTV @roxiesoundhealing. There is also a quick and effective 5 minute sound healing on Insight Timer if you have limited time. It is incredible how just five minutes can feel recentering when we reconnect to our deeper self and align to the power of sound vibration.
What are your top mental wellness tips for a proactive start to the new year?
There is a great energy and spirit of the New Year. In this newness, we can have a lot of goals and desires, but I think it is important to know that at any point we can begin anew; at any moment, we can change our mindset and align with our heart and with an open mind. The ability to know that no matter what happens in our life, we can tune into our own magnetic infinite light within us and feel freer in knowing our soul is limitless.
Meditation has changed my life in this way. There is a depth and consciousness we can connect to in sound meditation or other forms of meditation. To be specific, try spending each and every day connecting within through intentional self-care. Whether that is a twenty-minute mindful walk in nature, a sound healing/sound bath/sound meditation, or even a five-minute breathing exercise that connects to your heart and raises your vibration.
From there, I recommend finding ways to invite more awareness to your day-to-day life (observing your thoughts, adjusting your mindset, etc.) and do more of the things that light your soul on fire.