If there’s ever a time of year where pressure and self-expectation is rife, it’s January. Big Ben chimes, we drain the dregs of our glasses, and announce that things are going to be different this year. We’re going to realise those dreams, finally kick those bad habits to the kerb, and end the year in a gloriously proud haze.
Then we go back to work, real life hits, and we realise that things are just the same as they were last March, or September, or November. Life can be HARD, and while resolutions are well-intended and for the greater good, they can end up making us feel worse if we fail to live up to the ideals we’ve set.
So, you know what? Let’s scale back a bit. Why not look at working TOWARDS a goal rather than achieving it in record time. Set the bar just slightly lower, and give ourselves a fighting chance of meeting those expectations.
We’ve put together five areas where we all can make small-scale improvements, and they won’t break the bank or keep us awake at night (in fact, quite the opposite). They’re totally achievable and will make you feel better, we promise.
- Move more
We’re still locked into that doom and gloom season where it’s dark long before 5pm and all we want to do after work is hibernate in a blankety cocoon. Lethargy and fatigue can set in, not helped by the artificial temperatures and lighting that we’re surrounded by. But, did you know that a really good workout actually gives you bags of energy? This is thanks to the release of lovely endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling and a sense of wellness. Even just a brisk 30 minute walk each day gives enough pep to blast the winter blues into the long grass. Then, when spring and summer arrive, there are even more daylight hours to make the most of. We’re thinking evening bike rides and early morning jogs as the sun comes up. Bliss, trust us!
- Drink more (water)
Is the whole “hydrate” thing sinking in yet?! It must be, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this website! We cannot stress enough the importance and overwhelming health benefits of drinking more water. We know that plain old water can be a bit sparse in the taste department, which is why we’ve put together zillions of recipes to help you be creative and get quenched. Follow ours, then invent some of your own and submit them to us so we can showcase them on our site!
- Worry less
Anxiety, and anxious thoughts, can be intrusive and counterproductive if not managed well. How often is it that we worry about things that have happened, or MIGHT happen, rather than worrying about what’s happening right now, in the present? All of this could be perceived as wasted worrying, and the minutes notched up stressing about an event that hasn’t happened yet can often outweigh the time required for the actual event itself. One good tip is to allocate a specific “worry period” during the day (not too close to bedtime though). Jot down all of your worries as they pop into your head, then push them away until your scheduled worry time. Set a time limit for yourself, perhaps half an hour, and then wallow in all the worry. Try to view your concerns objectively – often, approaching them with a clear head is all you need to spot a solution and put an action plan into effect.
- Sleep more (or at least, more effectively)
We’ve talked before about how important sleep is, and how you can achieve a peaceful slumber. January is a great time to put some of these tips into practise and capitalise on the sales to invest in some positive sleep tools. Does your mattress need replacing? Or have you been eyeing up a blackout blind for a while? It’s a sad fact that our sleeping time can be chipped away at to make room in our busy schedule for other things, but we can certainly all make our downtime work for us a bit more. Even if you’re managing on six hours of sleep a night, improve the quality of those hours and you’ll be set to take on the world.
- Start the bucket list
We’re betting that over the past fortnight, your facebook news feed has been full of people stating what made 2016 great for them. How about you? Was there something you wanted to do, see, or achieve, but didn’t? Has a friend visited somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go? Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read? Now’s the time to think about your bucket list. It can be as big (wedding in Vegas, anyone?) or as small (start a bullet journal) as you like. It just needs to be personal to YOU. Keep the list and aim to tick off at least one item before the end of the year. Just make sure that you rock it.
And remember – January is not the ONLY month. Lifestyle adjustments can be made all year round, and it’s ok to cut yourself some slack too.