January is traditionally the time for self improvement, new life goals or big changes, with New Year’s resolutions and trends like Dry January and Veganuary. But it’s also the deepest darkest month, the glum period after Christmas, and the time when it’s acceptable to stay in all weekend and be cosy on the sofa.
So I gradually begun making some small changes at the end of the month and start of February instead, largely in an attempt to stop myself falling indefinitely into indifference and laziness outside work hours.
These are things I began doing, or continued doing with increased purpose, which I believe are good for both mental and physical health.
– I’ve started flossing once a day. Hopefully it lasts this time – we’ve all been there, only starting to floss in a panic a month or so before going to see the dentist or hygienist.
– My goal is to read 52 books this year, so the equivalent of one per week. Last year I read a series of books which I rated as distinctly three-star and average, but so far this year I’ve been more enthused about reading again, thanks to some good choices and plenty of reading time on my new commute. So far I’ve read eight books, two ahead of schedule.
– I have stopped charging my phone and iPad next to my bed, making my bedroom an electronics-free zone (with the exception of lazy Sunday mornings in bed, and obviously my Kindle). This makes it more likely that I will read until I go to sleep, instead of winding down (or not) on Twitter instead. Even more crucially, it means I get up immediately in the morning to respond to my alarm going off in the kitchen, rather than lying in bed for 15 minutes on the internet. This has improved my bedtime routine and made my morning a lot more efficient (and my cat is happy because I feed her straight away, instead of wasting time in bed!)
– I’m making a conscious effort to ask myself why I’m reaching for my phone unless I have a specific purpose in mind, such as checking the bus times. This means that sometimes I stop myself from aimlessly checking social media and go back to my book instead.
– I’ve restarted the Couch25K running programme. I completed it a couple of years ago, but this time I want to keep going straight through to the 10k add-on programme and not let it all slide after putting in that effort.
– I’m making more of an effort to maintain a twice-daily skincare routine. For years, I’ve only usually been bothered to cleanse, tone and moisturise in the evening, but now that I’m getting up more quickly in the morning I have more time for this sort of self-care to set me up for the day.
I’ve also recently been appreciating the value of cooking at home and thinking more about the environmental impact of different products, from plastic to dairy. Most of these things I’ve listed are quite small, but I think they make a big difference added up.
What little things do you do which might help others feel like they are looking after themselves? Let me know in the comments below!