Every year people all over the world make New Year's Resolutions. Yet, by February many are broken and, taking a look at the most popular New Year's resolutions, perhaps they're not the most well-rounded. So this year, we've pondered some more holistic resolutions that could make a real impact on your wellbeing in the long term.
What Are Our Top Wellbeing Resolutions For The New Year?
- Eat More Plants
- Try New Foods
- Drink More Water
- Go Phone Free In The Mornings
- Save Money
- Practice Mindful Listening
- Read More
- Get Back A Bedtime
- Stop Using Your Phone At Night
- Start journaling
Let's take a look at the reasons why these are the best new years resolutions for wellbeing:
Eat More Plants
We try to refrain from telling people how or what to eat because every body is different. Only, we’ll make an exception when it comes to plants because we’ve never heard of anyone who hasn’t benefited from eating more fruit and veg. When we recommend eating more plants we don’t mean necessarily switching to a plant-based diet, we just mean eating more plants.
Hardly any of us eat enough and five-a-day really is the bare minimum. Fruit and vegetables help our skin, hair, bones, immunity and have too many health benefits to list!
Try to fill your plate with 50% vegetables and keep fruit handy. If you don’t see it, you won’t remember to eat it.
Try New Foods
Remember when people used to say ‘everything in moderation,’ in regards to food? It was really good advice, except we think maybe we put more emphasis on the moderation part when we should have been paying attention to the ‘everything’ part.
A diverse diet is great for gut health. Sometimes, with all the information and misinformation about what we should and shouldn’t be eating, it’s easy to forget what it’s actually for. Food is fuel for our bodies and we need so many different sources of nutrition to keep every part of us functioning well.
Many of us get stuck in the same routine and we stop trying new foods. Some of us never eat beans or legumes, some never have seeds or leafy veg. A great way to introduce new foods into your diet is to try new recipes, particularly from cuisines you don’t usually eat and maybe even plant-based recipes to up your veg intake.
Drink More Water
Water is not only great for our bodies but has an amazing effect on our minds too. When we’re feeling sluggish, achy and struggling to concentrate we might not be tired, we could be dehydrated. After all, most of us aren’t drinking enough. Not enough water anyway.
Water may not be your favourite drink but it is what our bodies need most. Yes, even more than caffeine. One way to drink more water is to invest in a metal water bottle. Fill it each evening and keep it in the fridge overnight for nice cold water and then challenge yourself to drink and refill it each day. Start with refilling it just once, then twice, then three times each day over a three week period. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your body begins to respond to and start craving more water each day. Can you get addicted to water the way we can feel addicted to chocolate or ice cream? Maybe not, but the more you drink the more you’ll body will request. Much like an increased intake of fruit and vegetables, nobody seems to report any issues with drinking more water. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as too much water.
Go Phone Free In The Mornings
Starting your day well sets you up for all the lies ahead. How your day begins impacts your ability to enjoy it and deal with any pressures that may arise. So it’s important to start the day in a way that shows respect to your body and mind. This means not immediately allowing digital messages and alerts into your barely awake brain.
Take some space for yourself in the morning by leaving your phone off, or at least away. Instead, spend some time waking your body up with gentle movement, feeding yourself, getting washed and ready and giving your mind some time to think freely without interruptions.
Doing so may not only lower your stress levels but actually help you to be more creative. When we flood our minds with the opinions of others, reminders, requests and the many other notifications that our phones alert us to, we don’t leave any space to fill with our own thoughts. Free thinking and letting the mind wander can lead us to unexpected places and sometimes even provide solutions or ideas seemingly from nowhere. We need some quiet in our lives to truly listen to ourselves. If we don’t start the day that way it’s difficult to create time to do it. So try to leave your phone alone for at least an hour after you wake up. Initially, this might be hard but sometimes you need to set boundaries with yourself, in order to set boundaries with everyone else.
Do you struggle to save money? You’re not alone and you’re not to blame. After all, how many adverts do you see per day telling you to spend money versus the ones that encourage you to save? Realistically though, so long as we’re not saving so much that it significantly impacts our lifestyle, saving money is good for our wellbeing as it is for our wallet.
Skipping the Starbucks morning coffee or switching to a few unbranded products will probably go fairly unnoticed but you could find it enables you to put a little extra into a savings account. IT doesn't matter whether it's £100 or £10, it's doing it that makes a difference.
Though you should set your banking up to transfer money into your savings account automatically each month, knowing that you have even a small amount of savings could help you to feel more protected and even more responsible.
Practice Mindful Listening
The world is so busy and loud and in the past couple of years, wellness has, through great need, become a way for people to practice self-care. Many of us have learnt to take time for ourselves, to listen to and prioritise our needs. Yet, how much are we really connecting with one another?
This year, try to invest some time in deepening the relationships you have with others. Particularly friendships which are commonly less celebrated than romantic relationships and family ones. Yet, they sustain us more than we realise and, if nurtured, can remain with us throughout our lives.
Mindful listening is a perfect way to get to know your loved ones better. Fundamentally it’s about being present in the conversation and remembering to focus on what the other person is saying, rather than planning our response. Asking questions and getting somebody to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences can help us to really get to know someone. Often we are so used to being in a rush it’s easy to get into the habit of guessing what somebody means rather than really paying attention. When we practise mindful listening conversations tend to become deeper and, as a result, we get more out of the time we spend with others. More focused social interactions (put the phone away) can make us feel more supported and people generally warm to good listeners.
We focus a lot on what we feed our bodies, but what of what we feed our minds? Human nature is to be curious, to learn and explore and gather knowledge. This is no less the case if you weren’t particularly suited to school. Whatever inspires you, sparks interest or enthusiasm, make sure you keep doing it because it's as important to keep our brains active as it is to keep our bodies moving.
Not only does continued learning makes life more interesting, but it also makes you more interesting. The advantage of not being in education anymore means that you get to follow the path of most interest to you in terms of what you read. So whether it’s fiction that ignites the imagination, or it’s the history of the world or DIY, take time each day to tuck yourself up with a good book.
Reading shouldn’t just be something we do on holiday or when essential. It should be a natural part of everyday life. Reading expands the mind and can be enjoyable. Furthermore, because it is an activity that requires focus and so disables all other distractions, it's a mindful activity and so can be a stress-reducing and calming practice too.
Get Back A Bedtime
Sleep is possibly our most underrated essential activity. Far too many of us have a complex relationship with sleep. We feel we’re wasting time, missing out or else we prioritise other things. Yet, we need sleep for many things. During the sleeping hours, our bodies recover and our minds are free to process the day (and far more besides).
Benefits of a good night’s sleep include increased alertness during the day and increased immunity as well as strengthened memory and improved mood and productivity. It can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Many of us believe we need less than the recommended hours of sleep per night when in actual fact our bodies have simply gotten used to running on a lower tank. Just because our body and mind don’t completely fail us when running on 6 hours of sleep per night, doesn’t mean we wouldn’t function better with more.
Adults are recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Being that many of us need to get up for work or for the children in the morning, this usually means getting ourselves to bed at a time that may feel early, especially for the night-birds among us.
The key to getting a regular good night’s sleep is routine. So, it might be time to set a bedtime and stick to it, even at the weekends. Unsurprisingly, getting quality sleep also means avoiding caffeine in the afternoons and keeping alcohol consumption down too. Ensure that your tummy also gets a good rest by not eating too close to bedtime and keep to low lighting in the evenings to slowly ease your body into the mindset of relaxation, ready for rest.
After a few weeks of getting more sleep, you’re likely to notice your mood improve. You may find exercise easier, feel healthier in general and experience increased energy during the day.
Stop Using Your Phone At Night
If you’re serious about wellbeing and particularly about getting better sleep, then it might be time to put your phone to bed an hour before you go yourself. The blue light emitted from your phone suppresses melatonin which is the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Reduced release of melatonin can trigger insomnia and therefore make it difficult to get to sleep, even when tired.
Why are we keeping our phones so close anyway? So that they can alert us, most likely. But, since when was being alerted something we want? Although not having our phone nearby can make us anxious, our brains are actually exhausted from being constantly engaged. It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen a trend in mindfulness practises and self-care in the past few years, we’ve needed this to balance us out. With one corner of our minds alert to whatever is going on in the world of our phones, whether that’s activity on Facebook, the news, WhatsApp or other sources of information and communication, it’s very difficult to ever properly switch off. Unfortunately, this extends to the evenings when we’re supposed to be starting to shut our minds down ready for sleep. It’s impossible to rest whilst holding in our hands a device that is designed to keep us vigilant at all times.
Try to turn your phone off an hour before you go to bed. Initially, this will likely cause you more anxiety than it eases but after a few days you will adjust and are likely to find you’re sleeping better, more relaxed in the evenings and probably using your last hour before bedtime far better.
Why not use that valuable phone-free time before bed to write about your day or even set intentions for the day ahead? We are a massive advocate of journaling. It’s a wonderful way to process our thoughts and spend a little time focusing each day on our wellbeing. Furthermore, it can help us address and contemplate fears, dreams, concerns and anxieties.
You don’t have to be a great writer or deep thinker to get something out of journaling. Yet, it’s a great way of processing, reflecting on our lives and dedicating some time to gratitude. It’s also a wonderful way to keep a record of how you’re doing sticking to the resolutions above!