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In this edition:
- How to Bounce Back From Just About Anything
- The Key to Looking Forward, Not Backward
- How to Tell What’s Fresh in the Produce Aisle
- Every Part of Your Body That Needs a Reset
- Literal Fresh Starts Throughout History
- How to Freshen up Throughout the Day
It’s 2021. At last.
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to get a fresh start, and man, if there’s ever been a year that we could all use a reset after, it’s 2020.
But where to start that fresh start? There’s no better place than your own body, of course. It’s time to drop all the bad habits you might have picked up last year and begin taking care of yourself again, and we have some tips to do just that. Once you’re looking good, you’re going to start feeling a little better, too
After your body’s had a factory reset, your mind is next. We talked to a psychologist about how to look forward into the future, instead of wallowing in the past, as well as former NBA player Dennis Hopson, who told us how to rebound from bad situations (and how to rebound a basketball, naturally). For those needing some inspiration, learn about a few countries that made some major transformations of their own — hey, if entire nations can change, you can too.
Now that 2021 is here, there’s no better time to begin moving forward again. Honestly, getting a fresh start might be the most important thing you do all year.
1 – What I’ve Learned About Rebounding — Both on the Court and Off
Former New Jersey Nets player and current college coach, Dennis Hopson, explains the secret to bouncing back.
You were the leading rebounder of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1987. What was your secret?
I think what made me such a great rebounder is that I was able to read the flight of the ball — I knew exactly where it was going to hit and come off. You have to have a nose for the ball. And at the end of the day, you have to have the will in the heart to want to rebound.
Where’s the best place on the court to do your rebounding?
If you’re on the opposite side [of a shot] there’s a 70-75 percent chance once the ball hits the rim it’s going to come to you. But you have to be in position. If you’re in front of a guy, you’ve got a great chance of getting that ball. If you’re behind a guy, you won’t.
This has been a very difficult year for a lot of people. What do you tell your players when they’re having a tough time?
Well, you have to be resilient. You have to paint a picture of what you want things to look like and include yourself in that picture. If you can envision yourself grabbing hold of something, you’re going to be able to grab it eventually. A person with no vision is going to struggle.
2 – Getting Back to Looking Forward
Tripped up by the craziness of 2020? Psychologist Dr. Deborah Heiser explains how to get back on your feet.
Remember What Makes You Happy
“It may sound silly, but you should try to find three things you’re grateful for every day, whether it’s your dog, your significant other, a new friend, or even that you still have your job,” says Heiser. “Writing them down in a journal will help make them feel real, and focusing on these positives will help give you a little kick forward in the New Year.”
Search for New Opportunities
“It’s easy for people to dwell on negativity, but try to focus on the things that make you happy,” Heiser advises. “There are still opportunities for enjoyment out there, but if you’re having trouble, open yourself up to new possibilities. Research shows those who made the most out of a new opportunity in 2020 did very well, so look at moving forward as a sort of adventure.”
Focus on What You Can Accomplish
“Write down the things that you want to accomplish each day,” says Heiser. “If you have 10 things you need to do and get through seven of them, that’s going to feel good. Seeing your accomplishments is mentally helpful, because people need that structured self-satisfaction, and it helps push them forward. It’s free, it’s super easy, and you can do it on your phone.”
3 – How to Tell What’s Fresh in the Produce Aisle
Looking to eat healthier this year? Here are some tips on picking the good stuff.
Look at It!
This is your easiest way to figure out which fruit and veggies are ripe for the picking, so to speak. You almost always want produce that’s a vivid and uniform color. If the hue gets significantly lighter or darker at one end, then the fruit is ripening unevenly, which makes for awkward cooking and eating. More importantly, look for blemishes and brown spots — they’re clear signs something’s off.
There are very, very few fruits and vegetables that taste their best when they’re either mushy or rock hard. “Firm” should be your watchword, especially for things like asparagus, apples, Brussel sprouts, garlic, melons, onions, peppers and potatoes. Avocados, berries, eggplants, grapes and tomatoes should have a little give to them, while green beans, kale, lettuce and peas should be crisp enough that they break when you bend them (but don’t do that in the store!)
Putting your uncovered face against produce is clearly not okay while a pandemic still stalks us, but in normal circumstances, your best and final arbiter of whether produce is good is, of course, your nose. It’s hard to quantify how strong, sweet, or stinky each type of fruit or vegetable should smell, or when the fragrance indicates they’ve passed the very fine line between ripeness and over-ripeness. But no matter what the food, if your nose detects an odor that makes you suspicious, trust your gut — it’ll thank you for it later.
4 – Every Part of Your Body That Needs a Reset
You’re looking for a fresh start, so why not kick it off with your own body?
Chances are you didn’t make it out to see a dentist in 2020, for obvious reasons. However, there’s also a chance you skipped the dentist in 2019… and perhaps 2018… and so on. The new you can’t have a mouth full of unattended cavities. Make an appointment, hear the verdict, understand whatever needs to happen needs to happen before things get worse, and just deal with it. You’ll be happy you did! …eventually.
A thorough exfoliation takes off the dead skin cells and opens your pores, which helps your skin look fresher by softening spots and wrinkles, which in turn makes you look younger. A facial would work wonders, but you can also maintain your glow with a good home skincare regimen. “It doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Gregory Dylan, of Gregory Dylan Beauty. “You just always want to make sure you’re cleansing.”
Reminder for anyone that somehow still needs it: It’s totally fine for men to get manicures! Neither men nor women find cracked skin, uneven fingernails and fraying cuticles attractive. A good salon or spa will take care of all of that, plus give them a good cleaning and even a massage — you’d be surprised how much tension can get packed in your palms. Look, your hands do a lot of work every day, don’t they deserve a chance to get refreshed?
Next, it’s time to give the inside of your body a makeover. A good massage relieves muscle soreness in areas that tend to give us trouble, like our shoulders, necks, and lower backs. But some studies have shown that massages can also help lessen stress, anxiety, headaches, and insomnia, and possibly also increase levels of happiness-inducing hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Starting 2021 with a smile and a positive attitude would be the freshest start of all.
If you think your hands have it rough, please look down at your feet. Do you know the state of your toenails right now? Do you know how many calluses — just hunks of dead skin — are attached to the bottom of your feet? They’re not just gross — they could lead to infections. Plus, who doesn’t want a foot massage? “Manicures and pedicures are enjoyable, relaxing and just a really good habit to start,” says Dylan. Treat your feet!
5 – Let’s Try This Again: Literal Fresh Starts Throughout History
Even whole countries need to change things up once in a while!
Starting over can be a big deal, whether you’re entering a new year, bouncing back from a relationship, getting a new job, or moving out-of-state. It’s an even bigger deal if you’re a major country, trying to effect massive change for millions of people. However, these nations have managed to do it, despite some considerable odds — and sometimes considerable opposition, too.
Switzerland Puts It in Neutral: November 12, 1516
In the early 1500s, the Swiss Confederacy (a collection of city-states) was as power-hungry and expansionist as most other European countries of the time. However, in 1515, the Confederacy got turned to Swiss Cheese during the War of the League of Cambria. When France made Switzerland sign a peace treaty the following year, the Swiss decided they were done with this war crap forever. They decided to stay out of conflicts entirely, a massive feat given that they were surrounded by France, Germany and Italy, who were constantly fighting each other. This kept Switzerland out of trouble for centuries (minus a brief invasion by Napoleon in 1798) including both World Wars, despite being surrounded by warring countries.
France Decides All Metric Systems Are Go: April 7, 1795
After the French people wrested control of the government from the nobility in 1789, they got a ton of stuff done, including taxing the nobility, abolishing slavery and ending feudalism. They also ordered a new set of weights and measures, based on science, that could be standardized and used throughout the country. The French Academy of Sciences created the meter based on the Earth’s circumference, and grams and liters by the weight of water in metric dimensions. Everything utilized decimals and had a standard naming convention. France formally adopted the metric system in 1795, and other countries (not all, cough cough) started using it a few years later.
Canada Makes Time Harder for Everybody: July 1, 1908
In 1895, a New Zealand etymologist made the first proposal that humanity should needlessly confuse time, all so he could have more daylight to collect his bugs. In 1905, an Englishman named William Windett had the same idea on his own, mainly because he hated having to end his golfing when the sun went down. But it was Canada — specifically the city of Port Arthur, in Ontario — that first turned Daylight Savings Time from a wacky idea to an actual law. Other countries quickly followed suit, not because Port Arthur was the world’s most glamorous city, but because the first World War had countries looking for ways to conserve fuel, and extra daylight meant less coal and oil that needed to be used, thus making sensible time-telling yet another casualty of the conflict.
America Turns Booze Illegal: January 17, 1920
In one of our country’s darkest, driest times, a large coalition of Protestants and other assorted teetotalers inspired and/or convinced the legislative branch of the U.S. government to enact the 18th amendment in 1917. Enacted three years later, it prohibited the making, sale and distribution of all alcoholic beverages, a job that organized crime was more than happy to take over. Gangsters built an enormous financial empire out of slaking many Americans’ thirst.
America Admits It Needs a Drink Quite Badly: December 5, 1933
After the Great Depression hit in 1929, two things because clear: First, America needed the jobs provided by the beer, wine and liquor industries to give jobs to at least some of the country’s millions of unemployed workers. Second, the U.S. government urgently needed the revenue that could be generated by taxing booze sales. That money would be used to employ more Americans without jobs through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs. When running for president in 1932, one of FDR’s campaign platforms was granting sweet freedom to alcoholic beverages and those who drink them. The 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5, 1933, and is the only one that repeals a previous amendment — sort of the government’s most official way of saying “Whoops.”
Sweden Stops Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road: September 3, 1967
For the first two-thirds of the 20th century, in Sweden, the left side of the road was the correct side to drive on. Unfortunately, their cars also had their steering wheels on the left side, which are positioned for people driving on the right side of the road, as that’s the position that gives drivers better spatial awareness. It made driving into and out of Sweden a pain and contributed to many traffic accidents. Unfortunately, the left-hand driver’s seat cars weren’t going away, as 90 percent of the Swedes drove them (since those were the cars most available to purchase; Norway, Finland and all the other countries neighboring Sweden had been driving on the right side of the road for decades).
The Swedish government decided in 1963 that it needed to fix these problems ASAP, and the best way to do it was to make the entire country switch lanes, so to speak. The government spent four years issuing a media campaign to let its people know the switch was coming. This spanned from merchandise like special driving gloves to holding a contest for the big switchover day, which was called “Dagen-H,” short for Högertrafikomläggningen (“the right-hand traffic diversion”). In the months leading up to Dagen-H, road workers added new sets of traffic lights, signage and road markings, all covered in black plastic and tape that could be peeled off between September 2nd and 3rd. When the Swedes awoke, they (mostly) had an entirely new road system in place where the right side had also become the right — er, the correct — side, and traffic accidents went down… for about six weeks, then returned to normal.
6 – Oh FAQ: How Do I Freshen up Throughout the Day?
It’s not easy being clean — it takes work, equipment and planning to keep looking your best all day
1. Start Strong. Look, all the refreshening up in the world won’t help you if you don’t start the day fresh. Get in the shower, wash your hair and scrub yourself thoroughly. Once you’re out, it’s time to put on deodorant, brush your teeth and give yourself a thorough, careful shave. Now encase your beautiful body in clean clothes and you’re finally ready to start slowly getting dirty throughout the day.
2. Sweat the Small Stuff. To put it another way, sweat sweat — it’s your biggest enemy during the day, whether you’re walking briskly to meetings or spending your lunch hour at the gym. “If you don’t have time for a shower you could always just use a body wipe, then reapply your deodorant,” says esthetician Gregory Dylan. Body wipes are your best freshen-up friends to help clean and deodorize all your sweaty spots.
3. Take a Moment of Tooth. Most people only brush their teeth once a day, usually right before they go to bed. But these people have also gone through their day oblivious that they have enormous, gross hunks of food stuck in their teeth. Bring your toothbrush and paste and give your mouth a scrub after lunch, then follow it up by flossing just in case.
4. Face Facts. Your face is always going to be a problem since it spends the day collecting dirt, dead skin cells and sebum, the natural oil your face refuses to stop making. There are facial cleansing wipes available, but a regular body wipe will do in a pinch. “If you tend to have oily hair, a little dry shampoo will refresh that and absorb all the oil,” adds Dylan.
5. Clothes Make the Man. You can keep refreshing your body, but your clothes don’t have the same opportunity. Any sweating that occurs during your important presentation will be absorbed into your clothes, and your feet and groin are going to get pungent over the course of the day no matter how much you prepare them. So keep a spare shirt, pair of socks and underwear on hand for important occasions.
6. The Smell of Victory. Your body wash, deodorant and hair and shaving products should do the basic lifting for your personal aroma, although you can lightly apply cologne to places like your neck, chest and wrists if you want — but better to under-apply than overwhelm. And don’t you dare go out in clothes you aren’t completely confident have been washed! You might not be able to smell them, but others will.
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