And in with the new.
The new year is right around the corner…just a few hours away from when this is posted! So what does that mean for us? Out with the old and in with the new.
Out with the old.
Now, do we need to run around our house and toss out old things? Do we need to stop all our old habits? Do we need to completely change our life?
No, not at all.
We don’t even have to set any goals for the next year. But like I mentioned in my last article, the time off paired with starting a new chunk of time, this fresh start (at least in our eyes), is a perfect time to change ourselves and our habits.
What are the old bad habits we have? Odds are we know some already. If we drink too much, smoke at all, mope around instead of working out, eat tons of bad food we’ll know that we should stop those things. Those are the obvious things. Everyone always says these things so we know them.
The solution to those are simple. Eat right (healthy, balanced, more on that later). Exercise consistently. Quit smoking. Drink in moderation.
But…are there other toxic habits that we should throw away in the new year?
The answer to that question is a big honking yes.
I’m no mental health professional, but I can confidently tell you that there are thousands of way we ruin our mental health and thousands of bad mental habits out there.
For today though, I’m going to skip the real mental aspects of it and instead look at physical habits that are detrimental to our health.
The Old: We do ourselves a disservice by constantly being indoors. A lot of us exercise indoors, work indoors, and then relax indoors. I get it. I don’t always want to head out either. But I think I almost always am up for some outdoors time when I think about it. Especially when I think about how happy it always makes me.
The New: I love fresh air and naturally, we all do. In the new year, a small shift to eating lunch outside, going for a ten minute walk every day, and relaxing outside (by a fire, on your lawn, in your driveway) can help you out. You’ll get more vitamin D, less depressive symptoms, and I’ve always found that spending time outside helps me think more clearly. I feel alive.
Get off your phone.
The Old: We spend more time on our phones, computers, tablets than we should. This probably isn’t a huge shocker, but it might be. I’d honestly suggest getting a tracker of some sort that monitors how much time you’re actually spending on your phone/electronics. How often is it on in the background? How often do you check it? You could also make a tally sheet to check how often you pick it up.
The New: And maybe pick up a book instead. Instead of sitting on your phone for probably longer than you should, pick up a book! Read a story! You can engage your mind this way without the downsides of your phone. No blue light, no social media depression/envy, just ink on a page.
As well, when we are on our phones we aren’t letting ourselves just be. We aren’t relaxing in our minds. We aren’t letting our thoughts exist where we can hear them. And that’s not just a shame but that’s detrimental to our health.
The Old: Not relaxing. And also not understanding our schedules. If you’re like me, you tend to just keep putting more stuff in your day without realizing there’s no more time in your day. Sometimes you have to cut stuff out.
The New: Incorporate relaxation into your day and learn how to actually plan your day. There are only so many hours and stuffing more and more stuff into them is only hurting you. Not to mention, after a certain point you stop being as productive. Find a healthy balance next year!
Clean Your House.
The Old: Having a messy, cluttered up house is a problem. I’m not talking about filth or dirtiness, I’m just talking about clutter. Having a disorganized house means your brain is devoting time to trying to create order all the time. When things are messy it actually encourages anxiety and depression and it makes you feel overwhelmed. While you might not feel completely taken by the clutter, organizing and cleaning up your place will help you.
The New: Create a place that is clutter free. It might take some time and some effort, but start creating goals that help you keep the house ordered. For instance, a goal about keeping counters clean or the floor void of clothes and stuff.
Okay, okay. I know I said I wasn’t talking about exercise but I’m not talking about it with regards to losing weight and looking good.
The Old: We don’t move. We exercise twice a week. This isn’t quite the best for our mind and mentality. It’s important to get up and get moving all day long. We poke around, sit all day and then feel cranky.
The New: Every half hour or so if you can walk around, get up, stretch, do five minutes of yoga. Keep yourself moving. And make sure to incorporate exercise into your daily life…whether or not you like doing it (pro-tip: no one likes doing it until you teach your brain to like it).
All right, all right. That’s a lot to digest. Like I said, I could keep going forever. Instead of that, I’ll encourage you to take a look at your life. What are the things that you struggle with? How can you change them? Note that word: change. I’m not saying “fix” them. I’m saying change them.
That’s my final piece of advice. Change your language. Try to spin things more positively. Instead of saying something is bad, say it isn’t great. Instead of saying you’re stupid (to yourself), say you’re being silly. Small changes can alter your thinking so much.
With that, everyone please have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration.