Looking ahead

Taking stock of your body and soul

As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, what can we do for our mind, body and soul to ensure we bring in the new year with a sense of positivity and purpose?

Run into a more active lifestyle for the new year. Photo: Leandro Boogalu/Pexels.com
Keren Green.


Personal trainer Keren Green shares why you should prioritise your physical wellbeing this new year. 

The lead up to Rosh Hashanah is a perfect time to reflect on the things that matter most, and one of those is our health: Your health is your wealth!

There is nothing more valuable than a clear and positive mind and a body that will live longer and stronger, pain free with as much mobility as possible.

Studies have shown that our muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8 per cent, per decade, after the age of 30, and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. It is imperative that we consider the best ways to take care of our health right now. As a bonus, physical activity bumps up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.

We all want to feel our best and making time to improve our health often falls to the bottom of the list for various reasons.

We can’t be at our best and help those around us if we are not taking care of ourselves: We cannot give from an empty cup.

So, for all the reasons above, if you’re not already moving your body, there is no better time to start than now, and I have some simple and effective ways to slowly rebuild better habits.

Making some small changes can have a huge effect on one’s health long term.

Start small. Pick out one or two easy habits where you know you can succeed in accomplishing real change. Work hard at creating these new habits. It may take a couple of months, but this will give you the confidence to continue in your journey. Most people try to change too much, too drastically all at once, and then get so overwhelmed they give up. It’s simply unsustainable.

Pick a couple of positive changes, and focus on making them every single day.

• Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water each day

• Get 7-8 hours sleep each night

• Add more veggies to all meals

• Add lean protein to all meals

• Get 15 minutes of sunshine on your skin (vitamin D) every day

• Aim for more movement in your day (whatever average number of steps you do per day, aim to increase it by 1000 each week until you are doing 10,000 each day)

• Add some resistance training into your week. Once you start feeling some changes, more positivity and motivation for continued better health will come. Then, you can focus on a clear goal that you would like to achieve.

A tangible target can motivate and guide your efforts:

• Having a plan is key. Without a plan, there is no road map to direct you to your end goal.

• Breaking it up into smaller, achievable pieces will also help in keeping you motivated.

• Being patient is the biggest piece of the puzzle: Real change takes time, so once you have committed to this new lifestyle, you will need to work hard at staying consistent.

If you have been struggling to succeed on your own, the right coach will help you with your plan, program, nutrition as well as keep you accountable at a pace that works for you. Your health is worth the investment. Use this time to reflect and then take actionable steps in the right direction.

For more support from Keren, connect with her on social media. Instagram: @keren.green.pt. Facebook: United By Keren Personal Training.

Rabbi Rabin recommends journalling as a practice to connect to oneself.
Photo: Kevin Malik/Pexels.com


As the days draw closer to Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and renewal, it’s essential to consider not only the physical preparations, but also the nourishment of the soul, writes Rabbi Daniel Rabin. 

In a world often consumed by material pursuits and the demands of daily life, taking a moment to connect with our inner selves and spirituality becomes a precious and transformative practice.

Amid the hustle and bustle of our routines, the soul can easily become neglected, overshadowed by the urgencies of paying bills and meeting responsibilities. Yet, it’s during these moments of stillness that we have the opportunity to engage in profound self-reflection.

Ask yourself: How aligned is my current life with the values and purpose that resonate with my soul? What actions can I take to live a life that genuinely nourishes my spirit?

Connecting with one’s spirituality involves more than attending religious services; it’s about fostering an intimate relationship with the Divine, whatever form that may take for you. Whether through prayer, meditation or mindful practices, creating a space where you can engage in meaningful dialogue with your inner self is paramount. Dedicate time each day to sit in silence, to express gratitude, and to seek guidance from within.

Elevating your spiritual practice in the lead-up to Rosh Hashanah can be a transformative experience. Consider incorporating rituals that resonate with your soul, such as lighting Shabbat candles, reciting Tehillim (Psalms), or engaging in acts of kindness. These actions not only enrich your connection with the Divine but also infuse your life with intention and purpose.

Making contact with your most authentic self is a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. It’s about peeling back the layers of societal expectations, fears and insecurities to reveal the essence of who you truly are. Engage in journalling or contemplative exercises that allow you to explore your aspirations, values and the inner calling that guides your life’s journey.

Preparing for Rosh Hashanah isn’t about attending synagogue out of obligation; it’s about a personal commitment to growth and transformation. Regardless of where you find yourself, you can take steps to ready yourself for this meaningful period. Engage in thoughtful gestures, seek forgiveness from those you may have wronged, and set intentions for the coming year that align with your deepest desires.

As the shofar sounds, let it serve as a call to awaken your soul, urging you to embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and connection. The period leading up to Rosh Hashanah offers a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual, creating a harmonious balance that allows you to approach the new year with a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.

Rabbi Daniel Rabin is senior rabbi at Caulfield Shule.

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