The coming of the New Year never disappoints to bring about a sense of renewal and a yearning for change, hence the continued persistence of New Year’s Resolutions. While they are great motivators, seldom would you actually be able to find someone who, on December 31st, would be able to proudly tell you that they completed their resolution made 365 days ago.
Rather than reciting that this year you will “workout more” or “procrastinate less”, try changing your lifestyle little-by-little by integrating simple habits which, like New Year’s Resolutions, will be beneficial to your health, but require less drastic changes and less effort to do. Instead of committing to an extreme and otherwise difficult-to-attain goal, here are four simple and healthy habits to pick up that will recharge and ready your mind for whatever may occur this year.
The concept of journaling is extremely simple and requires only a notebook, a pen, and a reflective state of mind. Research has shown that journaling is a habit that can reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Entries can range from jotting down thoughts and feelings at the end of the day, to answering a daily question, or even reflecting on a short quote.
In the midst of this pandemic and the approaching anniversary of ISM’s shift into distance learning, it’s easy to get caught up in a mood of stress and pessimism. Gratitude exercises are a great way to regularly remind ourselves that there are aspects of our lives that we can be thankful for. These exercises can even be incorporated into journaling too, although you can perform them just as well in your mind, without a pen and paper. All you have to do is think of something or someone you’re grateful for, meaning gratitude exercises can be practiced anywhere at any time!
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Contrary to how pop culture depicts it, meditation involves more than just squeezing your eyes shut, assuming a cross-legged sitting position, and saying the word “Ommm” as zen-like as possible. Meditation is an exercise that involves both your mind and body with benefits ranging from increased calmness to enhancing overall health and well-being. Though it takes a lot of practice to completely clear your mind, the process is simple: Sit or lie in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus your attention on the movement of your breath as you inhale and exhale naturally.
With bad news about the state of the world flying at you right and left, and the end of the semester foreshadowing the announcement of assessments in every class, it’s only natural that your brain might go into overdrive, causing your stress levels to spike up. But if your brain isn’t able to to restore itself and relax, your mental, emotional, and even physical health will suffer. With planned downtime, you consciously make time for yourself to think about and engage in activities (which differ from person-to-person) that you genuinely enjoy and truly make you happy. Once you are able to do this, your mind becomes reenergized, and your overall health and even productivity levels will increase.