2020 has been a challenging year in many ways, and with people having to tackle changes to their lifestyle as well as anxieties about the pandemic and its consequences, caring for our mental health is more important than ever. There are lots of things we can do to help the wellness of our body and mind, so here are a few tips for the coming year.
1. Try something new
The cliché result of lockdowns; mountains of macrame and complex DIY projects. It doesn’t need to be a huge project, just have a think if there is anything you’ve been meaning to try, or something you’d simply like to do more of, maybe reading. Try to devote 10 minutes a day, or more, to a new hobby which helps you to relax and take your mind off things.
Exercise is not for everyone, and whilst lockdowns saw some people following impressive workout regimes, for others the motivation is extremely hard to find. Choose something simple, a short walk, an online yoga class, a 5 minute run, whatever suits you, but try to do a small amount daily to get your blood pumping and those endorphins flowing.
3. Get outdoors
Not everyone lives with beautiful countryside walks on their doorstep, but just a few minutes of being outside helps to make you feel a bit more fresh and awake, especially if you are working indoors. Whether its a walk or just a trip to the shop, try to make the most of it and take advantage of the health benefits of being outside.
With apps such as Mindfulness as well as free online videos, it’s easy to try meditation even if it is totally new to you. You don’t have to spend long doing it, and it is a skill which you have to practice in order to get better like most others, but practicing redirecting your thoughts away from your daily worries is a very healthy and helpful activity.
Think about your sleep schedule; do you sleep enough? When do you sleep If you don’t sleep well, why? What can you change? Not sleeping well effects our mental health and challenges often feel a lot harder when we’re not well rested. Try to think about what you can do to improve your sleep; reduce screen time before bed, take a hot shower just before you go to bed to help you relax and sleep easier, listen to sleep or meditation tracks to help you fall asleep, and try to keep to a similar going to bed/waking up schedule.
6. Eat healthy
What we eat is extremely important, and if lockdowns or working from home is making you lead a less active lifestyle this is especially important. Look up some tasty healthy recipes, eat plenty of vegetables to keep your vitamin levels up and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Healthy eating helps to improve your mood, skin and general health, and a New Year is the perfect time to take a look at your general diet and see how it can be improved.
7. Talk to people
Lockdowns and social distancing have reminded us of the importance of friends, family and conversation. Even when it is challenging, make an effort to talk to people on the phone, by message of by video call. If this isn’t possible try chatting a bit with the cashier at the shop. Just a small bit of conversation can help our mood, and it is really important to share thoughts and feelings rather them keeping them to ourselves.
8. Take care of yourself
Be kind to yourself. It has been an extremely difficult year and going into the next one we must look after ourselves. Think about what you need and make changes to achieve it if possible. Set small goals that you think will make you feel better, and always talk to someone if you are struggling. Reward yourself for facing and overcoming challenges and take time to recover from them. Your physical and mental wellness is so important so take a moment each day to check in with how you are feeling.