At the start of a new year, it’s natural to take stock and look at what we loved about our lives and also what didn’t go to plan. While many of us immediately try to punish ourselves for the festive excess with impossible diets, grueling workout regimes and virtuous resolutions that never work out, more and more people are choosing to take a step back from competitive self-improvement to ask themselves what would really make them happy in the coming year.
Practising ‘self-care’ is a huge trend in the world of wellbeing. Perhaps we’re all realising that that the world is harsh enough. We see unkindness and cruelty all around us and it seems overwhelming. We feel the urge to create something gentler that feels good rather than punishing ourselves with impossible resolution. The only resolution you need to have in 2018 is to take care of yourself. And here’s how to begin…
Ask Yourself What You Really Want
Our minds are so crowded and busy that often we find ourselves frantically pursuing some goal without ever stopping to ask if it’s really what we want. Working out our true desires can be surprisingly difficult, as it involves learning to tune out the voices of others, and that can be hard to do. Tune into your intuition by consciously taking a step back and asking yourself what really makes you happy. It could be setting aside time to get lost in a good book with a Kindle Unlimited subscription or it could be enjoying live music by sourcing hard to find gig tickets through TicketOffices. Find what you love and prioritise doing more of it.
Mindfulness is the practise that sweeping the nation as more and more people discover the benefits of being able to clear your mind. The everyday stresses and anxieties that pile up and overwhelm us can meet away with this simple daily practice, that is purely focused on putting us into the here and now. So much of our mental energy is occupied with things that have already occurred or may not ever occur. This practice can teach us to inhabit the moment fully, and there are lots of mindfulness apps that can turn your smartphone into a tool to help. Carving out a few minutes each day to set your intentions, focus on your breathing and calm your mind can have multiple health benefits, physical and mental – plus it’s easy and completely free!
Take Some Time Out
We are all so pressured not to ‘waste’ time – told that we must make every minute count. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with being productive, recognising the value of some down time can add a lot to your life. Build some no-pressure time into your schedule where you can allow your mind to wander. Often this time is where your best, most creative impulses can stem from. It can be as simple as you like – laying on the grass watching the clouds go by, enjoying a latte or a matcha tea and doing some people-watching in a pavement cafe, or taking a deep bath with lots of scented oils. Any moment where you will allow your mind to wander and not take notice of the relentless march of time can be hugely restorative. Think of this time as an investment in your personal wellbeing and don’t attach any guilt to it. We all juggle such a lot, so having a way to release the pressure is absolutely crucial.
Sort Out Your Sleeping Habits
Sleep is the foundation of good health, so if you have problems lying awake at night or not getting a solid eight hours, it’s definitely worth while to address them. Creating a solid bedtime routine can be really helpful. Allowing an hour or so to wind down, write out your to-do list for the next day and create a social media free zone can really help to make your brain more receptive to sleep and encourage the release of hormones that signal to your body its time to rest. Learning about aromatherapy can also help, while understanding your sleep cycles can be the key to a restful night. Find a gadget like the Lumie Bodyclock that wakes you up gradually using a mimic of natural daylight. Simple, small adjustments to your night time routine can trigger patterns of restfulness and promote a deep, restorative sleep. With enough sleep, your brain functions better, you’ll make smarter decisions and nutritional choices and you’ll have enough energy to tackle anything the day throws at you.