When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we all look forward to a new beginning, a year when we accomplish our dreams and become better versions of ourselves. We want to lose weight, make more friends, travel more, find work-life balance, learn a new language, save more money or make time for the people that truly matter. Unfortunately, most of these New Year’s resolutions are abandoned a few days later and we find ourselves in the same daily grind. According to psychologists, this happens because people have a feeling of false hope and because they have trouble prioritizing themselves. If you feel that you’re spending too much time juggling work, family and social obligations, it’s time to make some order into your life and find at least a few minutes every day for mindful, relaxing, “me time” activities - small, yet crucial habits that will help you deal with anxiety and make you feel more confident and in control over your life.
Fewer screens, more books and meditation
Technology is fun, but you shouldn’t spend every moment of break glued to a screen, especially not at night. It disconnects you from the real world and besides, doctors say that the blue light that smartphones give off prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, making you feel tired and irritable the next morning. From time to time, try to read a book or listen to relaxing music instead of scrolling Facebook and playing puzzle games on your phone. You can also install a meditation app that helps you fall asleep easier, do Yoga before bedtime or simply not use any sort of technology after 10 p.m. It will be difficult at first and you might experience a fear of missing out, but your mental health will improve.
Make time for walks
Walking for a few minutes every day helps you shoot two birds with one stone: you’ll be able to detach and relax your mind and also work on your cardio. If the ideal goal of 10,000 steps a day sounds like to much for you, take things slowly: start doing part of your daily commute on foot, take a short 10-minute walk on your lunch break or go for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening. Psychologists say that people who walk for at least 30 minutes daily experience less anxiety, depression and mood swings and they can handle stress better. Walking also clears your mind, helps you focus more at work and increases productivity.
Don’t neglect your hobbies
No one can live between work, family and social obligations and feel happy and satisfied. To reach this state of mind, you also have to do things for yourself and find time for your hobbies. Everyone needs to have a hobby; whether it’s watching TV shows, playing with your dog, gardening, dancing, writing or cooking, if it relaxes you, invest time and money in it. You shouldn’t think of your hobbies as something that consumes precious time or that you don’t deserve. On the contrary, you need to acknowledge their importance and still do them when you can. It’s true that once you have a 9-to-5 job and children to look after you can’t find too much time for yourself, but when you can afford to take a break, invest in your hobbies or make new ones that are better fitted for your lifestyle.
Practice self care
Good mental health begins with self care. If you do not look after your body, your mind will be affected as well. So, first and foremost, take good care of your body:
- Eat healthy food. Food is fuel for your body. If you’re always on irregular diets, eating too much or too little, eating only junk or processed foods, you will feel tired and irritated. Include as fruits, vegetables and healthy fats in your diet and try to slowly cut down on sweets, fizzy drinks and crisps.
- Have a skincare routine. Remember to take your makeup off at night and pamper your skin with hydrating and replenishing products. Smooth, glowing skin makes you feel confident and powerful!
- Go swimming. Swimming or just spending time in the pool reduces muscle tension and helps you relax and sleep better. Make a subscription to your local swimming pool or, if you have a large garden, consider a long term investment for your health and build your own pool. Experts at 1st Direct Pools say that indoor and outdoor swimming pools have become one of the most convenient home improvements because they also increase your home value, so if you had some refurbishing in mind, this could be the best idea.
- Stay active. Your body was made to be active, not stay in a chair for 12 hours, so find a workout routine that matches your style. Whether it’s going to dancing lessons, lifting weights, jogging, tennis or ballet, being active every week will lift your mood and give you more confidence to take on challenges!
- Have a massage. A good massage therapist can take away weeks of stress in a few minutes. If you’ve never been to one, you should know that it’s a lifechanging way of relaxing both body and soul.
Say “no” from time to time
Loving yourself and finding time for your hobbies can be a huge challenge if you spend your entire day trying to please others. Of course, some compromises have to be made because you still need a paycheck and social contact, but it’s important to know when it’s getting a bit too much and say no. Be it at work, at home and in your circle of friends, learn to delegate and turn down some responsibilities if you have too much on your plate. You’ll be surprised to see this if you’re used to pleasing everyone, but people can be more understanding than you think. Turn down that night out invite if you feel guilty about not going to the gym, pass on a new work project if you already have five more others or ask your partner to help you with chores if you haven’t had a chance to sit down all day. It’s all about finding balance and learning to accept your physical and mental limits.
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