The New Year is coming and I can say that 2016 has not been a good year for us at all so all I can do is hope that 2017 is better. But instead of just hoping, I’ve also realised there are things I can be doing for myself to ensure that mentally, 2017 is a little bit easier for myself and others too.
If you are looking forward to a better 2017 but don’t know what is going to make it a better year than the last… start with you!
Here is my list of things you can do in 2017 that are guaranteed to make you feel better, more at peace with yourself and more able to handle what life throws at you!
I took my time choosing these ideas, making sure I had a good reason for suggesting it and also was following my own advice!
- Join the gym. My gym membership starts on 1st January and I actually can’t wait. When it comes to exercise, the gym is my favourite form (especially now it’s so cold and swimming just seems like an illness waiting to happen!) It also helps that there’s finally a gym within 10 minutes walking distance of my house. Gym membership prices vary from £10.99 a month with a £20 joining fee (The Gym Group) up to crazy prices like £186 a month with a £400 joining fee (Equinox – please don’t do this to yourself!).
- Start jogging. I am going to be honest and say I won’t be doing this as I know that jogging isn’t for me but it is a really good form of exercise and really helps to clear the mind. I have tried it and I know people who love it. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and some comfortable running clothes for the seasons. It’s cheaper than a gym membership too!
- Start swimming. I love swimming but I refuse to swim when there’s frost so icy I could slip at any moment and fog so thick I can just about see my hand in front of me. I like swimming but I hate the cold! I did enjoy it when I was doing it though and will definitely start again when the weather changes – I didn’t buy those goggles for no reason!
- Any exercise! Before I was swimming or gymming, I was the biggest Fitness Blender fan and I still love their videos. When I get really tense and stress, I use their kick boxing workouts to release some of that negative energy. Any exercise is good for you whether it’s brisk walking to HIIT personal training. Just force yourself to get moving!
- Read as many books as possible. I have been a book worm for as long as I can remember. I was reading as soon as I learnt how to and I just never stopped. Reading is an amazing way to learn new things, develop yourself and to lose yourself when life gets a bit too much. I’ve read some amazing books this year and I know I will find some great reads in 2017, too.
- Have luxurious bubble baths at least every other night or whenever I feel tense. When my depression was really bad, this is something I loved that I stopped doing. My therapist actually made it my homework to start doing this again as often as possible and it is a perfect space to relax, unwind and practice some mindfulness as well. I sometimes light some candles as well for the ultimate relaxation environment.
- Use the “Spiritual Me” app I found this app on my Kindle when I was having a super stressed moment and it turned out to be amazing. You can get a free version which is just as good as the paid for version in my opinion. It has never failed to make me feel calmer. I plan to use this app for general mindfulness as well as those moments when my anxiety needs a helping hand.
- Write in a diary or journal. I started doing this properly in November and it’s a good way to plan, organise and reflect on the current day and days to come. Suffering with anxiety includes a high level of control for me to function so this has really made my days less stressful and easier to manage. Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration as well. Diaries/Journals range in price depending on what you want so have a look around & see what others are doing and using before making your purchase.
- Listen to music every day. We all have different taste in music but listen to whatever makes you feel good. Whatever makes you dance and sing and feel like you could do it for days. In my house this is a massive variety from UK Grime to Soca to Gospel! We love music and always have a fun time dancing and singing along.
- Stay in contact with people who inspire you, love you or help you to push your comfort zones in a good way. This doesn’t include people who “love me” but bring drama or negative energy into my life. Deep down, you know who is good for you and who isn’t so focus on staying in touch with the ones who are really beneficial to your life.
- Get out of the house often. Sometimes, you just need some fresh air and a little bit of exercise to change your mood. It is often one of the hardest things to do but one of the most beneficial. Walk to the shop. Walk the dog. If you have to, tell yourself you are just going to stand outside the front door and then push yourself to walk to the end of the road and then keep pushing yourself a little further until before you know it, you’ve managed a 5km walk.
- Reconnect with your faith/spirituality. Invest your time, heart and spirit in your faith until you get back to a place where you feel spiritually revived. I plan to reconnect with God but I also look into other things that can help me to find peace spiritually.
- Smile for no reason. I always try to smile when I’m looking at the Mini Me’s unless they’re in trouble because a smile always makes me feel better and like the person I’m talking to is happy to talk to me. Smiling releases endorphins as well which make you feel good; it’s scientifically “contagious”; it lowers stress and anxiety and they make you look pretty too. Say cheese!
- Be grateful for what you do have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try remembering everything good that you do have – for me that’s my family, love, a home, heating, food, cups of tea etc. Whatever you have to be thankful for, concentrate on that. Sitting there thinking about what you don’t have although it can be inspiring at times, it can also be downright depressing too.
- Be grateful for the small things every day. At bedtime, the Mini Me’s say “Dear God…” and go on to list all the good things about their day – they’re 2 and 4. If they can do it, as adults we should learn to do the same. In my diary, I have an Today I’m Grateful For… section every day and I force myself to list 5 things whether it’s my children’s laughter, central heating or the hot chocolate I had that day.
- Get help if you need it. Whether that;s in the form of a therapist, communicating with family or speaking to a personal trainer. Do what you need to do to make yourself feel better. I plan to go back to CBT in 2017 and really make the most of it.
- Keep blogging even when you don’t feel like it. I know how hard it can be to do this but when you hit a block, forget about finding content for everyone else and write a blog post for you. Get something off your chest. Express yourself. Write freely and see what comes of it. Then choose whether to post it or not. Someone else might understand exactly how I feel if you do publish it. You might feel a bit lighter if no one reads it but it’s out of your head.
- Challenge yourself. I have seen some amazing challenges on Pinterest that are all about encouraging you to look after yourself. From this 21 Day Mental Wellness challenge to this 30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself. Challenge yourself to look after you.
- Declutter. They say a tidy room is a tidy mind and I do believe that this works to a degree. The less mess I see, the less I need to tidy which means less stressing about where to start tidying and more time to enjoy the day. I use a daily schedule as well as little bits off of Pinterest that are more general like this 101 items to declutter list or the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge.
- I love this list of positive distractions for times when I just need something simple and quick to get me out of a funk.
What will you be doing in 2017 to make your year a good one by starting with yourself? Let me know in the comments below…