It's been quite a year, hasn't it? Unexpected, challenging and frustrating are some of the more common words to describe it but we hope that despite the curveballs it's thrown up, you have still managed to find some positive elements and a few life lessons from 2020. It's safe to say that we're all ready for a new year and all of the possibilities and opportunities it will present. There's no better time to reflect on the last 12 months, and set some intentions (not resolutions) for the next 12, than right now.
If there's one element of this year that we will be taking into 2021 and beyond it's self care. Never has taking care of ourselves been so important, both mentally and physically, and there's nothing like a global pandemic to shine a light on how we move forward. To ensure that we start the new year on the most positive note, we've outlined the self-care steps we'll be taking in January and the following months to give 2021 a fighting chance.
Make the most of nature
Almost half the population (46%) said that they are spending more time outside than before COVID-19 in a recent study. As we found ourselves confined to our homes, nature became our very own sanctuary away from the challenges of an unexpected situation that was out of our control. We found pleasure from the simplest of things and had an overwhelming wave of gratitude for God's green earth. Not only is nature scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones, it can also significantly decrease the risk of depression and anxiety.
While the world slows down and quietens over the festive period, now is a perfect time to Marie Kondo your home. From computer filing and stowing away everyday clutter to clearing out the loft or implementing some extra storage, it's a cathartic way to clear out your mind as well as physical space around you leaving a fresh start for the new year.
Find slow mornings
Whether you're a morning lark or a night owl, first light can produce some magic moments for your wellbeing. Supercharge your mornings for 2021 by getting up a little earlier than usual to enjoy a cosy cuppa in the garden, do 10 minutes of yoga before the rest of the house stirs or start the day with a little meditation to set your intentions for the day. You'll be stunned at how your day unfolds compared to a morning of rushing around, missing breakfast and drinking a coffee on the go.
When Boris Johnson allowed us an hour to exercise during lockdown, we all laced up and took to the pavements, footpaths and fields in our droves. A recent study revealed that walking for exercise increased from 59% in week one to 63% in week six as we found a new way to enjoy our surroundings and up our heart rate in lieu of gyms reopening. We all know the undeniable health benefits exercise can provide but make 2021 the year that you find a form of movement that you enjoy and stick with it – the physical and mental benefits alone will be enough to keep you motivated.
In a year where negative emotions prevailed, there's a lot to be said about just stopping in your tracks and breathe. As the majority of adults find themselves in a shallow breathing pattern on a daily basis, carving out some time to breathe deeply into the diaphragm, pushing your belly out and out through the nose can significantly reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, leading to a lower heart rate, and a more balanced blood pressure.
Nourish your mind
With so much extra time this year, UK fiction sales climbed by a third in lockdown alone as we passed the time with a little escapism. Reading has seen a renaissance of late as we desperately find a balance in a virtual world and the results can be astounding. Up your reading rate by trying to read an educational/mindful genre during the day and escape with fiction before bed to wind down. We love Glennon Doyle's Untamed for a bite-size account of life's dilemmas and Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers for a thrilling trip to Australian's most controversial health resort.
Article by Jessica Harris
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