Looking forward to a New Year
Making 2021 a better year.
It’s that time of year again; Christmas has come and gone; New Years is fast approaching. For some of us, it is the perfect time of the year: it is the happiest time of the year. But now, the jingles are dying out and you’ve possibly realised that the Christmas season sometimes brings out the fruitcake in us. 2020 has been a tough year, maybe even one of the worst, and certainly one of the strangest.
Every Christmas season we want it to be the happiest, most special time of the year, but is it? Now is the time to look back and reflect on the past week, on ourselves, on our loved ones and on the past year. Subconsciously, our brain jumps to the year ahead: what do we want out of the coming year, what can we change, how are we going to do it differently? What are our new year’s resolutions, what are our new year’s goals? Whatever it is, it’s often the time of reflection- of seeing the past with honest, open eyes and wishing for a New Year, a New Start. Closing the door on all that was never intended and possibly never invited but, instead, happened to us anyway. Are you wishing 2020 away and expecting 2021 to be better?
Holidays Blues – Looking forward to a New Year
Emotions often run high during this season, some call it the ‘holiday blues’ and it’s a real condition for many people. The season of joy and giving often takes on a different emotion to the one we expected: the pressure to perform, entertain, cater and present is higher than any other time of year. It’s often filled with stress, anxiety and financial pressure. We often working our fingers to the bone, spending money we don’t have, picking up offenses we shouldn’t and experiencing food and alcohol guilt – the holiday spirit takes on a feeding frenzy of its own. Sometimes it’s loneliness and disappointment that takes over. Whatever it may be, we may tend to think about it, but do we do something about it? Is next year going to be different?
2020 may have come with many blows, but, just maybe, it made you stronger, made you more resilient and best of all – it made you grateful for all that you have. Regardless of what the world throws at you this 2021, how are you going to do it differently?
Keys to a healthier and happier you
Change your mindset
The saying goes: ‘Change your mindset and you change the narrative of your life’. This can be true for you too. What exactly are mindsets? How do they affect our thinking and mould us into who we are?
Mindset: a person’s way of thinking and their opinions.
We all have different mindsets, established by different factors; such as the way we are raised, our parents, siblings, friends, environment and influences. Our mindsets are key to our happiness, our success and the key to the above- our gratitude. It is crucial that you start doing a mental autopsy on yourself and figuring out the mindsets to keep and nurture and the ones to cut away. Those to cut away would be greed, victim-mentality, jealousy, anger, hatred, comparison, isolation, pride (the arrogant, selfish kind), always having to be right, always putting yourself first and more…
Our mindsets are key to our thinking patterns and our behaviour. Everything we do is based on our mindsets; how our thinking is wired and where our mindsets lie is key to how we view the world and us in it.
Set goals and have purpose.
Goals give us direction in life; they help us to understand our desires and set us along the path to the success we want. Helping to give our lives purpose and distinct meaning; encapsulating our values and driving us to the finish line. They propel us forward and help us stay accountable, even if it is just to ourselves. They are our road map to a future we have planned and dreamed of; without them, we are wandering in the woods of life, not sure of where our destination is. When we reach short term or long term goals in our lives, it gives us an incredible sense of accomplishment and happiness. When we reach our goals and purposes in life, it brings joy and happiness that we worked hard and achieved the results we desired.
Friends, family, work colleagues, fitness friends; our circles of loved ones are incredibly important and something we need to nurture and allow to grow constantly in our lives. People who have one or more close relationships have more joy in their lives. We have an inherent desire deep within to have close relationships, to have people we can trust, rely on and have fun with. Unfortunately, life happens and these relationships sometimes get broken and we sometimes also get broken through the process. Relationships need to be honest, supportive and uplifting, not abusive and unsafe.
We need to have healthy boundaries and it needs to be mutually beneficial to all involved. Good relationships bring great benefits; science and research prove that they allow us to have less stress, help improve our health, increase better lifestyle habits, we live longer and with greater purpose. Having meaningful relationships even allows us to develop our identity and enables us to thrive in life, which helps combat loneliness, which reduces our life span and is detrimental to our overall health and wellness. Loneliness is the number one cause of suicide in today’s world. We live in a social media, selfie-driven, fast-tracked, information-obsessed world. And yet the rise of teen and young adult suicide has reached numbers the world has never seen before. It is time to ask why and to start making good and beneficial relationships.
Make wellness your priority
Wellness ( ) is an active process of choosing to live a healthy and balanced life. Wellness is not simply being free from disease and ‘healthy’; it is accepting that we all need growth and to take part in our own evolution by making healthy choices and responsible decisions. Wellness refers to the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. It is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
Wellness is ensuring our physical, mental and social well-being are aligned and working as they should be! We are all different; we are all wired completely differently and what is important to one person is different from another
A beneficial way of finding out how to achieve different wellness and health techniques is by seeing a coach, therapist and specialist. Deciding on which one will work for you?
This is a vital and important subject that we often don’t know enough about. The food we put into our bodies is the most important thing we can do to heal ourselves or hurt ourselves. Food gives our bodies the instructions and information on how to function properly and our bodies react dependent on the nature and quality of food. We wouldn’t put diesel in a petrol car, we would be far too concerned about the engine combusting- so, why do we not worry about our ‘engine’ the same way? There’s incredible information and medical research available on how food affects every cell in our bodies. Therefore, we should be eating real, whole, balanced and unprocessed and foods.
Drinking water is an important health care benefit to our bodies and mind, every aspect of our body needs and relies on water. The human body is made up of 60% water, approximately 73% of the brain and heart are made up of water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even our bones are about 31% water.
Exercise has numerous benefits for our overall health. It helps improve our mood; it increases endorphins (our happy hormones) and the extra oxygen to our brain allows us to think more clearly. Research even shows that regular exercise adds years onto your life! There is literally more and more scientific evidence released, almost daily, showing the incredible benefits related to exercise. It clears your mind, improves memory function and brain health and helps activate different organs and cells. It has so many different benefits but a great one is that it helps with mental health and wellness.
Good quality sleep should not be taken lightly as it allows our body to repair itself and our brain to organize and categorize all our memories and processes information. Sleep helps keep our heart in healthy working order; it helps reduce stress; it is even believed, due to scientific studies, that a lack of sleep and too much light exposure could be a contributing factor to certain cancers.
Sleep helps reduce inflammation in our bodies; it makes us more alert and helps us lose weight. During this time, the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping- these protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage.
Sunshine and good, clean, fresh air has many health benefits. Vitamin D from sunshine is important to our body functionality and our immune systems. The outdoors helps us to focus, improves lung health and it stimulates both our physical body and our emotions. Fresh air has the powerful ability to improve our emotions and helps settle our nervous system and bring a calmness and peace to our over-worked, stressed bodies. It is amazing how a walk, or just sitting under the trees, breathing in good, clean air, will clear and settle your mind. It helps improve our mood and even increases our energy levels.
Meditation, Journaling and Mindfulness
Practicing Journaling, Mindfulness and/or Meditation helps us get to know ourselves better; it helps us relieve stress, helps us find peace and encourages us to live.
Journaling is proven to help reduce stress, improve the immune system, and keep the memory sharp. It improves mental health and moods and strengthens emotional functions. It was incredible and took my life onto a road I will never get off. There is power in sitting quietly, praying, writing your thoughts, breathing, and just having that time to reflect on your heart, mind, emotions, your day, your life, your people and all that is you!
Mindfulness is growing in popularity and has become a crucial aspect of mental health help and people’s healing journey. Mindfulness can help to relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and surprisingly- help alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. It helps improve our overall well-being and contributes to a satisfying life. Being able to look at all that you have and taking stock of all your blessings will only improve your life and create a better today and tomorrow.
Meditation is training your mind to focus and direct your thoughts in a meaningful manner. The benefits are unbelievable and help people realise to that it’s time to stop, breathe and clear your mind from the overcrowded thoughts: removing the cobwebs of the past and reflecting on a new day and a new future. This all helps to reduce stress, control anxiety, reduce mental health issues, social anxiety, and phobias. It also helps enhance self-awareness, self-growth, lengthen attention span and the list continues.
Having a Faith
Believing, trusting and hoping in God is powerful. It helps alleviate stress, gives purpose and encourages you through stressful periods and seasons in your life. It is one of the Alcoholics Anonymous’ steps, and for good reason. Believing in God takes the pressure off you and allows your mind a joy and hope that only comes from choosing to have faith. The Bible’s definition of faith is: Heb 11 1-2 (NIV) ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’. This is what the ancients were commended for.
Stop believing outdated information and what others tell you to believe. When you educate yourself, it is more empowering than you can imagine. It is important that, as we age, we keep learning, inquiring, and pursuing knowledge and skills. This enables joy as our minds grow and push boundaries. Whatever it is we are learning, that skill will help improve our longevity and help give our minds a sense of purpose and achievement. Learning new skills literally makes us happy. Maybe it is a sport, an activity like a card game or chess, birding, or scuba diving- it doesn’t matter. Just keep your minds growing!
Learning increases our self-esteem and creativity; it is an active activity and not passive, like watching TV. When we learn, it places us in what researchers call, “the Zone” or “Flow” where we get so engrossed in our activity that we lose the concept of time and space as we become more consumed by our new sphere of learning; this helps change the structure of our brain- our brain’s connections and neurons are changed by our new skills & knowledge. This process is called neoplasticism, where our brain keeps developing, growing and changing for the good. Never stop the pursuit of acquiring new information because it literally keeps our brain young.
Remove yourself from the crazy
Sometimes it is time to take a step back and realize what is causing you stress. Take a vacation, a few days off, leave the stress behind for a few days and relax. Research shows that by viewing your weekends as mini-vacations and holidays helps reduce stress and enables you to have more energy for the week ahead. Stepping back from the stress and pressure allows our mind to reset, focussing on what is important.
Switch off your phones and laptops for a few days. Take a technology fast; your health depends on it and research shows that your brain does too. Our technology is causing our brains to become lazy. We don’t need to remember the information anymore, our smart devices will do it for us. Take a step back from social media; it is more beneficial than you may realise.
Find the Fun
Have fun, do what you love, create traditions, make yourself laugh and create new memories. Actively seek to find joy in your life and your surroundings.
2020 – Now what!
Do you need a new Career? Has Covid-19 stolen from you? Do you need to diversify? Have you already taken some measures, maybe drastic ones? Are you diversifying? Are you in the hustle? Whatever year you have had, reflect on it and decide on how it can be different.
What is your goal in life?
Each one of these steps in and of itself is incredibly important put them together and they are literally life-changing. It’s important to note that they work in conjunction with each other. It may seem as if it’s an enormous challenge to undertake- implementing all these steps. It can be done: one step at a time, one day, one week and one month. Little by little the city was conquered; little by little your mental health, wellness and physical health is restored. The outcome: health and happiness.
At the end of it all, you need to decide what is important to you- what makes you tick and what is the best way to achieve the life you want and need. Covid is not going anywhere fast, therefore, we need to make 2021 our year, regardless of this virus. Research shows us that seeking the advice from a registered profession such as a psychologist or counsellor, a life coach or wellness coach is more beneficial than people understand. Often it takes making that first step and decision to find someone to walk alongside, to help you and to enable you to stay on course. There is power in accountability. Choose you and choose wellness. Looking forward to a New Year.