With the beginning of another year comes the ever-present need to better ourselves. Here are some simple, easy ways we can do just that!
As we head into a new year, it’s common to think about the positive changes you could make to your life to improve your overall wellbeing. If we take the steps to instil positive changes at the start of the year, then we set ourselves up for the long term. So, take a step back and think about what you could do to help yourself work towards the best version of yourself!
We’re not talking weight loss, weight gain, burning of the Christmas party food, or giving up alcohol. That’s not what we’re about. Instead, we’re here to talk about positive, simple changes that we can make in our day-to-day lives.
5 Positive changes to boost your life 2022.
1. Create a routine and stick to it.
It might seem simple and meaningless, but a routine can make or break your mental health. Whether it’s setting a regular waking time, bedtime, or consistent breaks throughout the day, having a routine adds structure. It doesn’t have to follow any specific guidelines, just as long as it works for you and your lifestyle.
Everyone works differently, so here’s an example of a fairly basic daily routine. From there, you can adapt the structure to suit your lifestyle.
- Get up at 7am, drink a glass of water and have breakfast.
- 30 minutes of yoga before showering, brushing teeth and getting ready for work.
- Go to work for 9am.
- Drink water throughout the morning.
- Lunch at 1pm.
- Continue to drink water throughout the afternoon until it’s ready to go home.
- Prepare dinner for the evening.
- Spend time with the family, friends or family animal.
- Prepare uniform or lunch for tomorrow.
- Prepare for bed at 10pm by switching off, reading a book etc.
- Aim for sleep by 11/11.30pm.
You can adapt this and switch it up as needed. This is an example of a routine best suited for an office worker or someone who works from home (minus the commute). If you’re a shift worker it can be more difficult to create a routine that you can stick to. Therefore I suggest having multiple routines to choose from depending on your working time or the day.
2. Think about what makes you happy.
What sets your soul on fire? Is there anything that makes your heart sing? By finding and spending time doing the things that we love, we help our brain produce endorphins. And what happens when our endorphins are raised? We feel happy!
It can be hard to find that special thing in our lives, but once you do you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. A perfect example of this is my husband who after seven years of doing nothing but working has finally found balance with his artwork. While he still works to pay the bills he also creates and paints beautiful canvases in his spare time. He simply left his fifty hours a week job and downgraded to a job with fewer hours and, ironically, better pay! While I understand that he’s one of the lucky ones, there are other ways to find your passion without having to give up paying the rent.
If you enjoy writing, why not start a blog? Or if you’re an avid artist, set aside time to draw and illustrate in the evenings. Invest your time in yourself and your passions. You never know where it might lead.
3. Get outdoors more.
First and foremost, spending time outdoors is a great way to improve our uptake of vitamin D which is essential for mental health. Vitamin D is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin. It’s essential for building strong bones, boosting the immune system, and low levels are often associated with mood disorders. While you might be able to get this vitamin in capsule form, nothing beats the real deal!
As if this weren’t enough, nature in general acts as a natural antidepressant. Getting out and into the wilds is thought to reduce feelings of anger, aggression, stress, anxiety, and even fear. The tranquillity of a forest or mountain range replaces these with pleasant feelings. Even if you have no green spaces within walking distance, spending time in your garden or even the local park can have the same effect.
As for walking and running, well, rhythmic exercise has a calming effect on our bodies. They’re known to reduce blood pressure, increase our heart rate and reduce the overall levels of cortisol in our bodies. Combine that with a walk around the block or park and you have any number of benefits to choose from. If you make even a few small positive changes in the new year, make going outside one of them.
4. Reduce time spent on social media.
Social media has a lasting effect on our mental health and studies have shown that those who are always online are at a greater risk of issues such as depression and anxiety. Looking at the news of today, it’s no wonder that so many of us are choosing to step away from Twitter and Facebook on a more regular basis. All platforms, news websites, emails etc play a huge part in creating and sustaining our own insecurities, anxieties, and inner struggles. By taking time away from social media, we’re better able to separate ourselves from those and the things we constantly see online.
5. Celebrate all your accomplishments!
Too often we can get caught up in the big accomplishments. Graduating, getting a job, buying a house, getting married, having a baby, or even starting your own business. While all these things are wonderful, they aren’t the be and end-all. You can and should take the time to celebrate your small accomplishments too. Like that time you got out of bed when you really didn’t want to. Or walking to a cafe when you could easily have eaten crisps for lunch. We accomplish so many small things every day that we simply let pass.