At this time last year we offered up a locally focused take on the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Much of what we suggested on that list still applies, so we encourage you to check it out! For 2015, here are five ways you can improve your life while also deepening your engagement in the local community.
1. think local first: As you saw in our shop local infographic for Cape Cod (and in the first of Amanda’s series on her 2015 commitment to shopping 90% locally), choosing to spend your dollars here matters. You can start small by simply asking yourself (or us!) where you might be able to find a needed item locally. Take a look at your monthly expenditures and see if you can identify one or two regularly purchased items that you could shift to purchase from a locally owned business (could you swap your Starbucks for a local coffee shop, for example? Your books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble to the shop in your town?). Pick up a copy of The Current Quarterly or visit it online for ideas about where to shop local. Check out Buy Fresh Buy Local and Edible Cape Cod for food shopping and farmers’ market recommendations. Remember – all it takes is moving $50 per person per year from a national chain to a business here on Cape Cod to generate millions more for our economy.
2. get fit, mind + body: Mix it up this year. Instead of –or in addition to – traditional gym memberships, why not try something new? Not only is it beneficial for your muscles to work in different ways, it’s healthy for your mind. Many of the local yoga studios from Sandwich to Provincetown offer intro series’ or foundations classes for beginners (or those looking to brush up) in January and throughout the year – and there is something for everyone, from chair yoga to “bro-yoga” and restorative to power. New dance studios and classes are popping up seemingly everywhere: Zumba at DreamStudios, the new Total Body Dance, and BeyondBarre classes at Wellbeloved Fitness offer fun and energizing alternatives. Get outside and take to the trails, of which the Cape has plenty. Keep your mind well by learning how to meditate – a practice that is proven to reduce stress and increase mental clarity. Alicia Mathewson ofSounding Still Wellness leads friendly meditations every week. Consult with a nutrition expert like Nicole Cormier of Delicious Living Nutrition (she takes insurance!) or Shayna Mahoney, who is leading a workshop on Conquering Your Winter Blues on January 11.
3. create + be inspired: As a mecca for artists, artisans, musicians, writers and other creative types, Cape Cod is the perfect place to pick up a new creative pastime (or side business). There are classes and lessons offered in pottery photography, painting, weaving, knitting, rug hooking, creative writing, ukulele, drumming, acting, social media, web design and much more, for individuals, kids, and families. Start with these resources but know that it’s just the beginning: Provincetown Art Association and Museum,Falmouth Arts Center, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Wellfleet Preservation Hall, West Bend Music, Cape Cod Museum of Art, Morrison Glass, HyArts Cultural District and ArtsCapeCod.
4. give back: No matter what you’re into, there is a service on the Cape that needs your energy and talent. Life gets busy and it’s easy to forget to contribute to our community, but it feels amazing and makes a difference. Make a commitment to do a little more this year, whether it is giving blood (the Red Cross helps supply locally hospitals and when our supply runs low, they are able to help bring blood in to help locals), working with women in periods of transition through WE CAN, providing emotional support during times of crisis through the Samaritans, or working with animals at Wild Care. Cape Cod Volunteers is an excellent resource with hundreds of opportunities organized by interest. Many of the non-profits on Cape Cod are seeking board members as well, which is an excellent way to use your skills to help organizations be more effective.
5. put your money where your heart is: One of our personal frustrations in 2014 was dealing with big banks. This year, we’re going to shift any accounts that we haven’t already to local banks, where we are hoping to receive much kinder, more personalized service as individuals and business owners. If this resonates with you, join us! We’ve got more options than you think: Cape Cod Five, Cape Cod Cooperative,Bank of Cape Cod, and Seamen’s Bank are all local and offer lots of great advantages. There are several regionally based choices as well.