The past 12 months have been like no other in living memory. After all we’ve been through, there is a real need take a compassionate look at wellness and renewal, both in terms of our physical and mental health in 2021.
New Year’s Resolutions can be dangerous and counterproductive. The temptation to leap into the year chasing a ‘new you’ will lead you down the path of self-criticism and unrealistic expectations. The drive to achieve a more vibrant, healthy, driven, goal smashing, habit breaking, 100 billion new skills acquiring you by December 2021 will leave you feeling overwhelmed and a little disappointed.
The Mental Health Foundation advises that instead we should set a theme for 2021. Here’s four themes you could adopt.
Accept who you are
Evaluate the relationship you have with yourself. Ask would you speak to somebody else in the way you speak about yourself? The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and to creating healthy and happy relationships with others.
5 habits to improve the relationship with you in 2021
- Invest in yourself by spending 15-30 minutes each day doing something you enjoy
- Write down positive things about yourself when your inner critic finds faults
- Act as if you were your own best friend and be kind and supportive when you stumble or feel you have failed
- Do something to wind down and relax at the end of each day
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate the small wins you have achieved
Nourish your body
Resisting the urge to join up to the latest fitness or diet fad as soon as 1 Jan arrives can be hard. But it can be a great idea to try taking a deep breath, pausing and working out in what ways you want to nourish your body and mind in 2021 instead.
4 questions to ask yourself before you dive into new fitness ideas
- What do you want to get out of being active?
- Would you prefer to be indoors or outdoors?
- Would you like to be in a group or do an individual activity?
- Would you like it to be integrated into daily life, such as doing housework, going on a walk, doing gardening (these are physical activities too)
Bring intention into your actions
Bring intention into your actions through mindfulness. That way, you can counter the New Year urgency to sprint when January arrives.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
Take a minute a day to bring intent to you – mindfulness doesn’t need to take a lot of effort or time… to be precise it can take just one whole minute
- Breathing – become present with the physical activity of breathing
- Body scan – check in and bring awareness to the sensations in your body, head to toe
- Mindful walking – bring awareness to the sensation of walking, how your feet feel when they connect with the ground, how the muscles in your legs feel when they move
- Mindful listening – bring awareness to tuning in to your environment, listen to the sounds around you
Take time for yourself
Sometimes life can become a little overwhelming, and especially when you’ve got an expectation as well as the exciting opportunities that come with having a whole new year ahead of you.
When you feel the balance isn’t quite right, pause, be your friend and ask yourself: Is this level of stress causing me a problem? Can I identify the causes? What small changes can I make to my lifestyle? Could I … eat healthier, exercise, take time out, be mindful, get some rest and sleep, and most of all be kind to myself.
Top tips for self-care:
- Take a walk-in nature
- Paint, draw or doodle
- Unplug the phone and journal
- Spend time with positive people
- Get a hot cup of something
- Cheer up someone who is feeling down
Did you know that regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness and can also relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centres attention, and can sharpen concentration?
Below, World Cub 2019, Christopher Gonzalez, shares some beginner yoga techniques.