Forget resolutions for 2021. After this past year, who needs the stress? So this year, instead of making promises we are unlikely to keep, we suggest just aiming to take a step in the right direction. No commitments. No expectations. No stress.
The good news is that there are plenty of healthy, life-changing choices to make in Fairfax County. And some of those healthy choices can even be quite decadent. Better yet, you don’t even have to wait for a new year. You can make better choices for your physical, mental, or spiritual wellbeing anytime!
So let’s start 2021 (or just today) off right with our top wellness recommendations for 2021!
Image courtesy The St. James /Facebook
If your belly got some extra jelly in 2020, you’re not alone. Nor are you without options. The St. James is a 450,000 square foot fitness complex in Springfield. Yes, they have weights and machines and treadmills. But they also have NHL-regulation rinks, NBA-regulation courts, an Olympic pool, squash courts, a gymnastic training center, an obstacle course, and an indoor water park. It is truly a goliath of fitness and fun. For some of the same features, but on a smaller scale, visit Fairfax County RECenters and Community Centers, each of which has a special attraction—such as an Olympic-sized pool, skating rink, or indoor water park—in addition to fitness equipment and classes. (Just be sure to check hours and operational status before leaving home, as there may still be some restrictions in place.) There are also work-out-at-home options available for those who may not feel comfortable going to a gym quite yet.
Relocate your Zen.
Life sometimes has a way of messing with your emotional and spiritual balance. And we have a way for you to get it back. Throughout the county, you’ll find spas with all sorts of treatments to bring your body and mind back into alignment. Or you can learn meditation online at the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax. Or take an online yoga class from the county or one of the area’s many studios, like YogaWorks in Fairfax. Another way to find your Zen? Pay a visit to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Korean Bell Garden – the only traditional public bell garden in the Western Hemisphere.
Indulge in healthy antioxidants.
Image courtesy River-Sea Chocolates
While some antioxidants are just good for you, others may be the most beloved part of your day. Like a nice glass of Fairfax County wine before bedtime. Or a local home brew after shoveling show or mowing the lawn. If alcohol isn’t your thing, maybe a nice cup of black or green tea from Elden Street Tea Shop is. Or a custom-made bar of dark chocolate from River-Sea Chocolates. Speaking of chocolate, did you know you can take a Chocolate Safari tour around Fairfax County? (You're welcome.) Each of these antioxidant destinations makes for a good outing. Enjoy some flavonoids there and bring some home for later!
Up your eating game.
Image courtesy True Food Kitchen /Facebook
The quality of food you put into your body can make a big difference in your health. In addition to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, Fairfax County is lucky to have regionally owned MOMs Organic Market as a beloved option for groceries and produce. And if eating local is a priority for you, then you’ll find weekly farmers markets throughout the county, year-round. Want a break from cooking? No problem! Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in Vienna is known far and wide for its vegetarian fare. In Herndon, GreenFare is a café and learning center for organic, whole plant foods. For those who like a little meat with their vegetables, True Food Kitchen at Mosaic has a menu developed in partnership with wellness icon Dr. Andrew Weil (also coming soon to Reston Town Center!). From superfoods bowls to pho, our restaurants can introduce us to new flavors and ingredients that you can use to build a healthier diet.
Go for a hike.
Image of Great Falls Park courtesy Angela Pan
Hiking is a great way to get fresh air, exercise, and grounding. We are blessed to have many amazing places to hike, from the breathtaking Great Falls Park to the peaceful Mason Neck State Park—each reflecting different moods of the river on opposite ends of the Potomac. Fairfax County’s First Hikes program promotes doing a hike January 1-3 at Fairfax County parks like Huntley Meadows Park and Burke Lake Park. Take a photo, submit it and you could win money-saving gifts from Fairfax County Park Authority.
Exercise your brain.
Image courtesy George Washington's Mount Vernon
Keep thinking and learning and educating with a visit to one of our historic sites or museums. A trip to George Washington's Mount Vernon is a masterclass in Revolutionary War history and the founding of the U.S. A visit to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will open your eyes to the skies. An exploration of the new National Museum of the United States Army will have you standing at attention. And an outing to Historic Blenheim will open your mind to the obscure historic fact of Civil War graffiti. (Note: Be sure to check hours/operational status prior to going, as some of these spots will have limited hours or temporary closures due to the pandemic.)
Do good for others.
Image courtesy Ciao Osteria
Nothing feels better than getting outside of yourself and doing good for others. Volunteer Fairfax can help you find a non-profit to give your time (or money, if you prefer) to based on your availability, the commitment you’re willing to make, and other variables. Especially now, so many need your help. Bonus: volunteering can work miracles for your spirit. The experience always gives back more than it asks. For more ideas on giving back to the community, find other ways to share the love here.
Find a new friend.
Image courtesy Samantha Brooke /Instagram (@samanthabrookephoto)
Pets are life-changing in so many ways and such a big part of your wellness. You get exercise when you take them on walks. You have company when social distancing. They are excellent listeners and snugglers. And, no matter how bad your hair day is, regardless of how hangry you’re acting, or despite how you feel about yourself, pets think you hung the moon. There are few sources of unconditional love in this life, but pets truly are one of them. Adopt a pet from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Humane Society of Fairfax County, Homeless Animals Rescue Team, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, or one of the many other rescues operating in the region.
Anytime you push the reset button, you can bring new energy into your life. If you’re like many of us, 2020 has left much to be desired. So shift the script by starting 2021 off on fresh footing with healthy and fun choices in this great place we call home. Be sure to tag us on social in your adventures using #FXVA or @VisitFairfax.