January normally means watching the pennies, shedding a few pounds after the Christmas excess and setting some goals for the year ahead, but that doesn’t mean you need to cut out all joy from your life.
Make time for fun and relaxation. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune and it doesn’t need to involve breaking any resolutions either. Why not form some new, fun, healthy habits that could be a permanent fixture of happiness in 2019 and beyond?
Be willing to change
If you want to become a better or happier person, you have to be willing to change. Change is the way in which we grow and progress as a person. When you keep an open mind and are willing to change, you are able to grow into the person you want to become.
Try some ideas that will take you out of your ‘comfort’ zone. You could organise a smoothie making morning with some friends, or invite colleagues to take turns making dinner for each other in a healthy eating version of Come Dine With Me.
January’s short days can be hard enough as it is, so there’s no need to add extra suffering by enforcing endless nights in and eating bland diet food for dinner.
Set realistic exercise goals
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that involve new exercise regimes and fitness programmes. Sadly, less than 8% of us will actually stick to them. Most of us make the mistake of being too ambitious with our fitness regimes and picking exercises that we don’t really enjoy.
The truth is that a manageable exercise pattern can become something we look forward to, elevating your mood and helping you feel healthier at the same time. The key to success is setting realistic goals and looking for exercise that is enjoyable and fits into your daily routine.
Try a new yoga class, walk home from work, take the stairs every day instead of the lift or suggest creating social sports team with some friends or colleagues. If you can find a way to take your exercise routine outdoors, you’ll also get the added benefits of an increase in Vitamin D and serotonin levels too.
Learn to control your anger
Anger can result in irrational decision making and can make you do or say things you might not mean. If you learn to control your anger, this can cause less upset in the long run. Ideas to help let go of anger are: writing down your feelings or meditating.
Start a gratitude diary
It might feel like a left-field idea, but making time each day to think about the great things you already have in your life is scientifically proven to make you feel happier.
Many of us struggle with thoughts of lack or inadequacy, but what we often fail to focus on is what we already have – and for most of us, that’s likely to be quite a lot.
Set aside 5-10 minutes a day to make a list, mentally or in writing, of all the things you feel grateful for in your life, from the most basic, such as the roof over your head to the bigger things, like your loved ones and treasured friends.
Don’t make excuses
Instead of blaming other people for your mistakes or making excuses for them, if you are accountable then admit it. By understanding that it is your own fault, you are able to use your mistakes to learn which in turn will make you a better person.
Take a holiday
Here’s a radical idea – why not think about taking some time off? Holidays to the sun are often discounted in January and February and provide welcome relief from the dreary grey evenings in the UK.
It will give you some breathing space and a bit more time to put your new healthy lifestyle into effect and soak up some much needed Vitamin D.
Don’t forget to listen
When was the last time you sat down and really listened to someone? People are so busy with their lifestyles that they often forget what is really important.
By taking time to listen to people you can learn some of the biggest details of someone and develop connections that will last a lifetime and people really appreciate you listening too.
Being a good listener and having empathy for others will make you a much better-rounded person.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or lethargy, you may want to reach out to a professional to ask for help. You don’t need to suffer alone. Several treatment options are available to you.
Traditional talking therapies can be a huge help, as can certain antidepressants in more severe cases. If you are suffering from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, you may find specially designed light boxes which mimic natural sunlight help alleviate symptoms.
Give as often as you receive
Giving will not only make other people happier, it will make you happier too. Giving also encourages cooperation, improves connections with other people and it is also contagious – spreading love around the world.