As hard as it may be to imagine right now, spring is on the way. The warmer weather and brighter days are coming and that means that we all need to think about our spring cleaning. For most of us that means dusting the tops of our bookshelves, vacuum cleaning under the couch and putting our winter blanket back in the wardrobe, but there are plenty of areas of our lives that could benefit from a little of that spring cleaning energy.
One of the reasons why this time of year is such a good point to adopt this strategy is because we all have a hard time keeping our New Year’s Resolutions going through the first couple of months of the year. It is all very well telling ourselves that we are going to get fitter, eat better and be more organised when we are basking in the glow of the holiday season.
But when we are facing the mountain of work and the brutal weather of January, we end up telling ourselves that we will get around to them when things are easier. Well, things are looking a little brighter out there in the world right now and there is no time like the present to get into some better life habits. If you need a little inspiration, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Keep A Diary
Yes, one of the best life habits you can get into is picking up a diary and making sure that you use it. When we are stressed and overwhelmed, it can often feel like we have lost control of our days. We are constantly being pinballed from one task to the next, and it never feels like there is enough time to get anything done. We rearrange, we cancel at the last minute, and we ask ourselves why we ever thought we could get this project done by this date.
If you want to take your schedule by the scruff of the neck, then a diary will definitely help. Make sure that every appointment is getting written down, that every deadline is clearly marked. But you should also think about organising your day more carefully too. Give yourself enough time in the morning to prepare for the day properly. Set yourself time for a proper lunch hour, and if you have some personal tasks or treats that are just for you, then write them down so you do not have an excuse to skip them.
Get More Active
This is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions and it is also one of the hardest to keep. Why go out for a run in the snow and rain in the dark when you can just roll over and hit snooze on the alarm clock? Well, the weather is going to get better, and you find that your resolution has passed you by if you do not start taking some active steps towards getting into better shape. Being active and getting outdoors is so important for our physical health, but it also has a big impact on our mental wellbeing. One of the main reasons why people struggle with getting into a better physical fitness regimen is that they set themselves unrealistic goals, or they try to skip having a plan altogether.
Think carefully about what you actually want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to improve your fitness and endurance? Or is there a new activity that you want to get into? Once you know what your goals are, you can start working on a plan to reach them. Remember to be realistic about how much time you have in the day to dedicate to this project and look for some minutes and hours that you can carve out around work to make sure that you get into a routine.
Take Charge Of Your Finances
Some people are blessed with the ability to manage their money and financial responsibilities almost without thinking about it. For the rest of us, these tasks are a little more difficult. However, there are very few things more stressful than worrying about our money. Getting into better financial habits is one of the best things that you can do, especially right now when costs are going up everywhere and the market is still so chaotic.
You can start by drawing up a clear budget and making sure that you know exactly where your money is going every month. Make a comprehensive list of every penny you have spent over the last few months and address anything that you do not understand whether it is an increased interest rate or a transaction that you simply do not recognise.
Once you have a better idea of your expenses, then you can start to make better informed choices. It is also vitally important that you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities when it comes to your taxes. Many of us find it tough to get our heads around how much tax we should be paying, but with this tax calculator Ontario residents can find out exactly how much income tax they owe. Financial experts such as Wealthsimple give you the tools and technology to manage and grow your finances.
Look After Your Mental Health
Over the last couple of years, we have all heard a lot about mental health. We have read the stories about how people have been pushed to the point of burnout at work, and how many people have struggled with loneliness, isolation, and depression. While there are a lot of signs that things are looking up in the wider world, this does not mean that it is time to stop looking after your mental health. No, you should be taking the lessons you have learned to create a better self-care structure for yourself and watch out for any signs of trouble before they arise.
Make sure that you are taking time for yourself when you need it. Remember that you should always talk to someone if you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed. Stay in touch with your friends and family, even if it seems like all you want to do is to hide away. There are many different counselling and therapy options out there, and it is important to remember that your mental health is just like anything else in your life: it needs a tune-up every now and again.
Take A Look At Your Diet
During the long cold winter months, most of us turn to our comfort foods and drinks to help us through the day. It is a lot easier to allow ourselves a sugary snack or a glass of wine at the end of the day at this time of year. But as we head into spring, it is time to think seriously about what we are putting into our bodies and whether it is really helping us. So much of enjoying a better diet is by looking at your habits, so let’s have a look at what we could all be doing better.
To start with, planning your meals ahead of time will help you to cut down on ordering take-out. Think about what you want to cook at the start of the week and make a detailed shopping list. Look for those lean proteins and mineral-rich fish, as well as plenty of fruit and dark leafy vegetables. Many people out there are going meat-free or cutting down on the amount of meat they eat.
This is good for your health and good for the environment, but it may require a little more planning so be sure to factor that in. If you are one of those people who finds it hard to resist a sugary or salty snack, stock your cupboards with plenty of healthy alternatives such as nuts and dried fruits.
Cutting down on caffeine is good for your blood pressure and your sleep, so start replacing at least one drink a day with a decaf alternative. You should also look at ways that you can cut down on your alcohol intake. There has been a lot written about the ways in which people have depended on alcohol over the last two years, and this can be seriously damaging to your health. Cutting down on alcohol can also help to improve your mood (it is a depressant, after all) and your sleep.
A lot of the best life habits that we can implement are all about being kind to ourselves and our bodies. There are very few things that you can do for yourself that will help you to be at your best than getting a good night’s sleep.
Doctors recommend that you should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. If you are not sleeping enough, think about setting yourself a bedtime. Stop looking at your screens about half an hour before you go to bed and try reading a book instead.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Lifestyle category