In today’s digital world, we’re constantly bombarded with news and notifications urging us to try on a shiny new version of ourselves as we enter the new year. These notifications often hit us at our lowest, when we’re enveloped in a Twixmas buzz that knows no time or date. We’re told (through various forms of media) that we must eat better, drink more water, move more, take better care of our skin etc. and it can feel thoroughly overwhelming. Of course, all these things are good commitments that could help us lead a healthier life, but only if we can stick to them. Most new year’s resolutions go out the window in a few weeks!
If this year you find yourself seeking refuge away from resolutions, who could blame you? Below are a few quick and easy ways to help you weather the ‘new year, new me’ storm:
You could start your day by simply saying an affirmation. Instead of focusing on constantly improving yourself, saying affirmation reframes the narrative. It forces your brain to think more positively, thus challenging (and ultimately dispelling) negative thoughts. Something as simple as ‘I am enough’ or ‘I am doing okay,’ said in front of a mirror in the morning, could help you feel better equipped to deal with the onslaught of new year messaging. It’s all about being mindful of yourself in the present moment, as you are presently. This is often called ‘self-affirmation’, a term coined in the 1980s.
Breathing exercises are great things to do in your daily life whenever things get too much. Like all skills, the more you practise, the better you get and the more you get out of it. Whenever things get too much, practising box breathing is a quick way to feel more relaxed. To do this you should:
- Breath in for four seconds
- Hold the breath for four seconds
- Breathe out for four seconds
- Holding your breath for four seconds
- Repeat for as long as you can
Box breathing is a great on the go tool for when your body goes into fight or flight mode.
There is, however, absolutely no shame in striving to adopt new habits in the new year. For many people, the new year represents a clean break from the past so many find it an appropriate time to build new routines. If you’re looking to set achievable and maintainable goals, one way to do this is by ‘habit stacking’. This includes pairing a new habit with an existing one, for example doing five stretches before brushing your teeth. The idea is that a new habit is easier to maintain if you practise it alongside something that’s already established in your daily routine.
One positive and maintainable micro habit (small and simple daily actions) you might find helpful is practising mini meditation. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths on the tube or doing a mindful stretch at your desk. These could be done anywhere and everywhere or stacked alongside existing routines. Apps like The Zensory aim to help you hone the skills necessary for mini-meditation (and other forms of mindfulness) whenever and wherever you may be!
Remember, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the messaging around the new year, but you are enough and shouldn’t feel pressured to change. Any changes you do want to make should be done for yourself and can be done whenever.