There’s never a better time than the start of a New Year to resolve to make a change and after a rough year in 2016 I’m more determined than ever to practice wellness and self-care throughout 2017. I’m not just talking about eating healthier or getting enough sleep – I’m talking about the habits that really make a difference inside and out, mentally and physically.
Here are my top five wellness practices that I’ll be doing more of this year.
If it wasn’t for practising gratitude throughout the last year I would have struggled to see the light in some pretty dark times. It can be really difficult to work a grateful mentally into your daily life, especially if things aren’t going well, but try starting by finding just one thing you have been grateful for in a day. I do this just before I go to bed so I wake up the next day with the intention of finding something to give thanks for again that evening. Whether it’s the food on your plate, the plants in the garden or a smile from a stranger – there is nearly always something to be grateful for in each day.
We don’t all have time for an exercise regime, a lot of us can’t even stand the idea, but exercise doesn’t have to involve sweating away in a gym. Sometimes the best exercise you can do is a brisk walk outside. I find if I’ve been indoors too long, or I’m finding home life a little stressful, I get myself outdoors in the fresh air and take a few deep breaths before walking off my stress for a bit. I truly believe that no matter how good your exercise routine, it always pays to get outdoors into the fresh air. It’s also easier to work into your day than you think – next time you jump into the car to do a five-minute journey, spend a little extra time walking there. You’ll be amazed what it does for your mental and physical health.
We can find ourselves in some pretty stressful situations in our daily life and by the time we head to bed we find it hard to unwind and switch off. Mindfulness is a great exercise that can not only help you destress but also helps ease anxiety and even depression. A couple of times a day, spend some minutes really taking notice of what’s happening around you. What’s the temperature? What can you smell? Listen. I initially found it difficult to remember to do this but I found it helpful to set a reminder on my phone and there are even a lot of great apps that can take you through the whole process!
If you find the practice of mindfulness helpful, then you’ll almost certainly benefit from working a daily meditation routine into your schedule. This is a little more challenging to do as it actually involves taking some time out of your day to do but believe me, whether you do five minutes or sixty minutes, the positive effects meditation can have on your mental wellbeing are incredible. It can not only help alleviate stress, anxiety and depression but can improve your concentration and even your immune system benefits. My advice for bringing meditation into your daily routine is to start small – five minutes built upon week by week is absolutely fine. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable where you won’t be disturbed. Some people enjoy guided meditations, many of which can be found online, whilst others prefer sitting in silence with themselves. Experiment a little with whatever works best for you.
Plan some you time.
Sometimes all we need to do is take half an hour out of our daily lives to do absolutely nothing – and that is completely ok! We’re so accustomed to believing that relaxing and doing nothing equates to laziness but what you’re actually doing is recharging. Just as you wouldn’t leave a torch on all day every day and expect it to stay lit – you can’t keep shining without the opportunity to recharge your batteries. Run a bath, put your feet up, read a book – whatever your indulgence it’s important and you deserve it!
I’ve already highlighted that adding some habits to your daily routine can be challenging but if you start seeing daily wellness practices as part of your essential daily routine you’ll find them much easier to incorporate. Just as we wouldn’t go for days without washing or eating, consider it just as important to work a wellness practice into your day.
Whether you pick just one to take forward throughout the year, or take on a completely new wellness lifestyle – make the promise to yourself to do it. Wellness is so much more than just your physical health, your mental health is just as important!