Well, 2020 is behind us, and we can all breathe easy. Right? Well, it’s not that simple. However, new years are always turning points, and we can at least try being better and happier people than we were.
The pandemic wasn’t the only thing that went wrong. Polarizing politics, civil unrest, economic uncertainty… they’ve all left their marks. It’s no wonder everyone could all use an XXXL dose of happiness.
So, let’s look to the future and see what we can do to have a good year.
Look on the bright side
Yes, saying “every cloud has a silver lining” may sound trite, but it’s actually helpful. While it’s natural to focus on the downside of any situation, we need to balance it with the positives. The pandemic caused a lot of damage, but it also brought people together in ways that were completely unexpected and strengthened the idea of collective selflessness.
In hardship, look for opportunities to take advantage of and lessons to learn from. You can always reframe the whole last year as something that you overcame and something that happened for you instead of to you.
Practice good sleep habits
This is crucial. In a world saturated with social media feeds and the preponderance of doomscolling, it’s easy to lose track of time. Collectively and individually, we all spend too much time staring at our screens and it’s interfering with our circadian rhythms.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is an excellent way to start the day well rested. If you’re well rested you’ll be more productive and feel better about yourself.
Being present in the moment will help you filter out the usual distractions of the outside world and focus on your personal well-being. So set some time aside for meditation, and you’ll be surprised at the changes you’ll experience. Your days will feel longer, and you’ll be able to do so much more; whether it’s work or catching up on your reading, make the best out of it.
In the same vein, focus on the task that you’re doing. Don’t eat and browse the internet at the same time. When you’re doing a specific task, do that specific task. Multitasking is not only the bane of productivity, it may be causing you actual harm.
We’ve reached the point where our interactions with people online are actually becoming toxic. It’s no wonder what a digital detox is in order. You don’t have to cut out social media entirely, but try taking a break at least. Take a week or two off. Alternatively, set aside a specific time when you’ll engage with social media.
Also, unless it’s absolutely necessary, delete any work-related apps and accounts from your phone. When you’re home, be at home and relax, your job will still be there tomorrow.
Cut toxic people out of your life
Just like we need a detox from harmful substances and activities, we also need a detox from toxic people. Of course, this is easier said than done. What if the toxic individual is a relative or a close friend? You need to understand that toxic people distract us from being our best selves. They belittle our opinions, try to discourage us from being more productive, and make fun of us for wanting to be better.
You owe it to yourself not to engage with them. No matter how difficult it is, no matter how much it hurts in the short term, you’ll be better off in the long run. If you can’t completely cut them off, at least minimize contact and establish clear boundaries. If they cross them, walk away and make it clear why you’re doing so.
This is probably on every New Year’s resolution list and for a good reason. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, and to put it simply: they’ll make you feel good. In addition to making you feel better, exercise can help you look better, which will create a positive feedback loop.
You’ll also be healthier and be able to enjoy life more, so it’s a net positive. Of course, be careful not to overdo it. Keeping a steady pace will help you stay the course instead of quitting in two weeks like most people do. Also, if you have any health issues, consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous fitness regimen.
So there you have it. Some basic tips on how to be the best you in this year. Exercise, be mindful, don’t spend so much time on social media, exercise, sleep better… you’ve heard all these things before. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The real key is in experimenting and discovering what works for you. No list is going to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but this should be a good starting point in order to make this year your year.