Alexis Novak is a yoga instructor, mobility enthusiast, and certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT). As a contributor for THE/THIRTY, Alexis will be sharing her knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and meditation to help you find your own personal balance between strength and serenity. Her approach to wellness is to simplify and keep a sense of humor. Below she reflects on seven big lessons many of us experienced in 2017—and what it all means for the new year.
Lesson 1: You do not have to spend time with people you don't like.
A couple years ago Kylie Jenner had the philosophical epiphany that 2016 was going to be the year of "like, realizing things," and as vague as that is, it still rings true. The internet can create a false sense of connectedness with people we barely know. It gives us a curated window into their lives and naturally, we get a sense that we know them better than we do. This also feeds into the idea that we are being excluded from events we weren't invited to. Because of this subtle fear, we agree to maintain relationships or friendships that we don't necessarily need.
I dove deep into a few books this year (Attached, Training in Compassion, and The Art of Memoir) and a common theme was to do what is right for you. So many of our decisions are based on what reaction we think it'll have on those around us. What we assume people will say or feel and not so much how the situations we embark on really impact our own joy and pleasure. Through that notion, I continually came back to this: You do not have to spend time with people you do not like. It sounds harsh, but it isn't—it's honest. If there is someone who you do not like, it is not illegal for you to not give your time, energy, or talent to that person or situation. Easier said than done, but when put into practice, it can lighten up your load.
Lesson 2: The internet is hell.
I know, I know. It's not completely hellish because it brings you funny dog videos and articles like this one. But—especially since January 20, 2017—it has been stressful at best. According to this study, 65% of American adults consider themselves "constant checkers" of the internet, text messages, and emails. And 53% of them showed signs of increased stress levels after checking. I am not great with stats, but it seems at the very least like maybe constantly plugging into the trauma circuit that is the internet isn't quite that good for us. (And maybe it's time to start taking time away from it in 2018.)
Lesson 3: Women will not be silenced.
Hollywood is taking the dirtbag bucket and dumping it out. This year has been a shock for the world as a movement started after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was revealed as a serial sexual predator. After Weinstien was out in the open, a flood of sexual misconduct started to flood out of other powerful men who had used their power to intimidate and sexually assault their subordinates. Tarana Burke started the #MeToo movement online calling women who had been sexually assaulted to write the simple hashtag #MeToo to try to show the magnitude of the problem in our society. The campaign went viral and was honored as part of Time's Person of the Year (The Silence Breakers). It's a sad time right now in many ways, but it appears as if there is a transformation happening and sexual assault will no longer go unnoticed or tended to.
Lesson 4: K-beauty products are still the best.
Is it just me or has the skincare game gone completely insane (in the best way)? From the Byrdie Beauty Lab to countless online tutorials, I have found some of the best affordable at-home skincare rituals I didn't realize I needed. As a girl with eczema, I never thought there would be a time when skincare was so hip and accessible, and yet here we are. What a time to be alive. (If you have never tried a K-mask, that's my homework for you!)
Lesson 5: Jumpsuits are back in a big way, and I am here for it.
I consider myself a jumpsuit connoisseur of sorts, and this year has been BIG for me and my love of jumpsuits—even in the world of activewear. That's it, and that's all.
Lesson 6: Wonder Woman had us all walking around with our heads held higher.
This year has been a year for women to break the mold, and Gal Gadot shattered it! Wonder Woman, a female-directed movie, skyrocketed the box office and made women everywhere feel empowered and uplifted after watching it. Her character embodied all the best qualities women possess naturally while simultaneously saving the world with compassion and strength.
Lesson 7: A breakup will not kill you.
On New Year's Eve last year, my boyfriend of a few years broke up with me unexpectedly. I thought that was a terrible start to the year, but it inspired this piece and it helped me deepen my mindfulness practice as a result. I am going into the New Year single with an open heart. Cheers to 2018!