June 3 2015Read more
Now, before we jump ahead of ourselves and start setting unrealistic expectations that create yet another burden to bear for the year ahead—let’s take some time to pause.
January can often be a difficult time as it is, with finances tight from Christmas, some of the shortest, coldest days of the year and summer way off in the distance. So it’s important to keep this in mind before embarking on a complete life overhaul after the festive season.
That said, the symbolic beginning of a new year can trigger many people to question some of their existing habits and think about how they can improve their lives. So anything that brings us closer to this is ultimately a good thing.
If you’re looking to start the new year in a positive way, we’ve got some tips to help below.
With the rise of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, many people have found calm in cleaning their spaces. Living and working in a cleaner space can reduce stress and improve wellbeing. Research shows that having a clean, organised space can help you feel in control. And there’s also a dual benefit that comes from the physical activity of cleaning. Moving your body in this way can release endorphins and provide a time-out from any thoughts or problems that might be on your mind.
Sleep has a big impact on mental health in many ways. Sleep is vital for brain health, including better thinking, learning and memory, as well as emotional regulation. The research shows that sleeping problems are both a cause and a consequence of mental health problems. Needless to say, getting a good sleep routine is vital to wellbeing. You can help yourself into this routine by going to sleep at the same time every night, avoiding screens before bed and reducing your caffeine intake.
Setting yourself goals to work towards gives you direction and focus. Setting these intentions in stone (or writing) helps motivate you towards the place you want to be. It could be a big or small goal. By acknowledging what you want you can figure out how to get there. Once you start working towards these goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment.
There’s a huge body of research that highlights the positive impact exercise has on mental health. Exercise reduces anxiety, depression and negative moods by improving self-esteem and cognitive functioning. But you don’t have to take on a tough workout schedule to feel the benefits, even small amounts of exercise can improve your mental and physical health. So try to move your body in ways that you enjoy, whether a yoga class, walk or swimming—find what works for you.
Life’s demands can be pressing with busy schedules and lofty to-do lists. So you must make looking after yourself and tending to your needs a priority. By making time for yourself, you can slow down and avoid burnout. It can be as simple as a walk, a bath or reading a book. Make time for some self-focus with something you enjoy.
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