After January has run its course, many of us are left with gym memberships we never truly intended on using, failed promises and dashed hopes. There is something insidious about the concept of New Year’s resolutions – it’s similar to being coerced into making a series of promises to yourself only to find that you were being overly idealistic when you set your goals. Then, you’re disappointed just in time for some of the darkest, wettest and most dreary months of the year.
However, it does not have to be like this. Sometimes the best resolutions are made not during New Year’s but instead on a particularly boring workday, after a disappointing date or even just while waiting in line at the grocery store.
Below are a few easy lifestyle changes that are guaranteed to make you feel better, more refreshed and ready for what your week – or particularly daunting day – has in store for you.
One of the best ways to feel better is to make time in your schedule to spend time outdoors. Whether that means enjoying a coffee on your balcony, taking a slightly longer walk to work so that you can travel through a park or even trying a new sport such as cycling, skiing or hiking, it’s all worthwhile.
Most of us spend a significant portion of our day cooped up inside working. Taking time to be in the fresh air, slow down and take in your surroundings can really make a difference. In Japan, for instance, there is a practice known as “forest bathing”, which essentially equates to spending time in nature and enjoying the beauty of your environment. Whether you are going for a long-distance run or simply making time to breathe and take in the majesty of nature, it will be worth it.
When you are spending time outdoors, try to make a conscious effort to experience and savour the moment, rather than focusing on past mistakes, future problems and overwhelming concerns. Even just concentrating on your breathing and making a note of the various things you see or hear, such as small birds, bright green leaves or running water will help you to truly wind down and relax.
Take time for what you enjoy
Many of us wake up, rush to work and then either rush home or to pick up kids from school or daycare, before trying to then do all of the domestic tasks that need to be done. Even the weekends can quickly fill up. If you are not careful, you will quickly feel like you are drowning in work.
Our culture praises efficiency, hard work and diligence. Even the happiness and wellness strategies that are pushed in the workplace are geared towards optimizing worker efficiency. This perspective really should be resisted as dehumanizing and unfair. Instead, it is essential to take time for yourself and carve out at least a small chunk of every day for activities that you actively enjoy.
If hitting the gym and reaching a new personal best on the squat rack is your idea of a good time, then go for it. However, many of us also enjoy things like “guilty pleasure” television shows, making a beautiful meal or playing video games.
One of the most popular new ways to wind down is playing mobile games via online casinos. Although the industry started small, there are now thousands of different online casinos for players to choose from, all of which offer a multitude of online casino games which have been fully optimized for mobile play.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet is to introduce more plant-based foods into your diet. A well-rounded vegan diet has been shown to be just as healthy as the Mediterranean diet. Furthermore, vegan diets have the least negative impact on the planet. If you’re the person who worries about climate change or always felt uncomfortable looking at cute lamb Easter decorations and then down at the lamb on your plate, you might also find that opting for plant-based options soothe those concerns.
If committing to a vegan diet seems overwhelming, you can try focusing on eliminating one animal-based food at a time. For example, if you struggle to give up all dairy products, why not first focus on finding and cooking with a good vegan yogurt, and then move on from there.
Everyone who tries a vegan diet should do their research beforehand. It can be restrictive for those who do not (yet) know how to cook, and those who have never previously considered macro and micro proteins. You should look into the types of nutrients you will need, various vegan supplements that can help, and how to cook a series of vegan meals which are nutrient-rich and protein-dense.
Make time to wind down in the evenings
This may seem obvious, but it is vitally important to take time in the evenings for yourself to wind down and let yourself process the day which has just occurred – and prepare for the day ahead. Many of us tend to drag ourselves into bed exhausted and then proceed to either endlessly scroll through social media feeds or watch whatever the newest show is on our streaming platform of choice.
It is worth taking the time to relax at night and take time away from screens of all shapes and sizes. Pulling out a book and reading for just 20 minutes before bed will help you to relax and fall asleep much better than scrolling through Instagram can.
If you are not sure which books to read or where to start, then the internet is a great resource. There are hundreds of different book clubs which are run online and on social media. If you find one book interesting, chances are you will enjoy the other books which the group is reading. You can also pop by your local library and ask for an expert recommendation.