The New Year is upon us, a time of retrospection and re-evaluation for many. We can now jump into a brand new year and make some of the changes that we know need to be made in our lives for the better.
A New Year is the perfect opportunity for all of us to start afresh with our New Year Resolutions. Many of us have in mind that we’ll start doing this, or stop doing that. But how about trying something a little different?
Most of the habits we try to tackle are likely to be the remnants of poor coping mechanisms for stress previously encountered. This year many of us are focusing on reducing those wines after work, resolving not to Netflix into the wee hours, aiming for one coffee instead of five, quitting sugar and increasing chia and for some of us taking up cycling instead of gaming all day.
Well why not resolute to handling stress better this year? It’s likely that all the other resolutions will then just fall into place, without the usual battle that goes with them.
Stress affects how we feel, how we think and how we behave. It also has the ability to affect every other aspect of our life. If we’re looking for effective ways of changing our life for the better, here’s 7 tips to keep us physically and mentally healthy no matter what 2019 has in store for us.
Put Yourself First: Say no to others more and say yes to you. It’s not selfish to be number one in our life, when the intent is to become a better version of ourself. By doing this, others will inadvertently get the best of us. Talk to the people around you that matter, and let them know what you need to do in your life to be the best version of you.
Set Small Goals: Having goals keeps us focused and keeps you on track when life gets stressful. Take a look at your resolutions for this year, and line them up from easiest to hardest. Work through from the ones you know you will do first. This maximizes your chance of success. You can leave the harder goals for later when you have increased your confidence.
Get Organised: Declutter your physical and mental space. This decreases the feeling of overwhelm. It will leave space in your brain for dealing with your tasks on hand, however stressful. Throw out, give away and clear out your environment. Use schedules, lists & diaries to keep everything out of your head.
Prioritise Sleep: You need sleep to rest, recharge, repair and restore your mind and body. Without sleep you’re not at your best, and you can’t think clearly. Look into getting a good sleep routine happening, and stick to it. Going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time is a good place to start.
Express Yourself: Often our thoughts and feelings can get out of control when we are stressed. Expressing yourself removes both mental and physical stress, bringing you back to feelings of calm and control. Talk to people, write, sing, paint or dance– do whatever you can to get what you are thinking and feeling out.
Get Rid Of Perfect: Many of us strive to be perfect, but there is no such thing. Perfectionism has a darker side that can actually make us rather stressed, anxious and miserable. Challenge any ‘perfection’ thoughts and beliefs in relation to your expectations. Develop a new perspective. You can’t be in control of everything and life this year will involve uncertainty. Embrace it.
Get Outside: We spend most of our days removed from nature—and it’s not good for us. Nature is a stress killer and not only rejuvenates us, reduces muscle tension and reduces anxiety but it’s also where we can do many of the other activities that help reduce stress. So get outdoors more and relax, socialise and exercise.
Life this year will present us with good times and difficult times. It always does. Stress will also be a part of this, but if we have a blueprint in place to tackle it, we can ride the waves of 2019 in a much healthier way.
It’s not the stress that matters, it’s what we are doing in our life to tackle it that counts.
Happy New Year!