January 1st doesn’t have to be the only day of the year to make any changes, big or small – here are eight ways to begin anew this season
How are you getting on with your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re one of the 80 percent of people who have dropped them by the second week of February, don’t panic – the new year isn’t the only time to make adjustments. We’ve rounded up eight ways to take a fresh look at your life now that the new season is here.
Cook with The Batch Lady: Shop Once. Cook Once. Eat Well All Week by Suzanne Mulholland. Dubbed cookery’s answer to Mrs Hinch, social media influencer the Batch Lady, AKA Suzanne Mulholland, is a time-saving guru and cookery expert. This book is packed with 80 delicious, home-cooked recipes that are quick to make, create and store, as well as planners, helpful lists and more to transform your kitchen and save you money, time and headspace. Perfect for those busy weekdays when you’re struggling to find the time to cook! £14, amazon.co.uk
Listen to Calmer You. This podcast is hosted by anxiety expert Chloe Brotheridge, author of The Anxiety Solution, and gives guidance and inspiration on how to be your calmest, happiest and most confident self. The topics range from overcoming imposter syndrome to body positivity, and it features top guests, including our columnist Dr Megan Rossi (read what she has to say on page 103), Madeleine Shaw and Melissa Hemsley. You can expect practical tools, expert interviews, encouragement and a reminder that you’re not alone. Visit calmer-you.com to find out more.
Improve your sleep with the Sleepy podcast (sleepyradio.com). Listen to classic stories, such as Sense & Sensibility, The Secret Garden and Little Women while you drift off, thanks to the soothing tones of host Otis Gray. If you’re struggling to sleep because of the recent clock change (it does mean that summer’s on its way, though!), there are lots of other things you can do to boost your slumber. Try to avoid caffeine after 2pm, exercise during the day, stick to a regular bedtime (even at the weekends), and start a sleep routine to help you wind down, whether that means soaking in a hot bath, reading a book or having a warm, milky drink.
Explore all that the UK has to offer. Now that the weather is warming up, join our #WalkToWellbeing campaign and make the most of the aweinspiring British countryside. From the stunning views of the Lake District and the rolling hills of Shropshire to the dramatic coastlines of the West Country and the wilds of the Highlands, there is so much to enjoy. Why not grab your family, pull on your walking boots and get out there? Don’t forget to snap a picture and share it with us on Instagram @healthandwellbeingmag! Head to nationaltrust.org.uk to get inspired.
Reflect and plan on what brings you joy this season and how to do more of it. “Why not make the most of those things you know make you feel amazing?” asks burnout expert, coach and nutritional therapist Deborah Bulcock (deborahbulcock.com).
Here are her top tips:
1. Reflect on what it is about this season that you really enjoy – what are the things that bring a smile to your face and make you feel great?
2. Be specific about it so that it’s easier to replicate those experiences and activities.
3. Recall exactly how those things made you feel – it becomes the motivator to do them again.
4. Understand how you are going to get more of that, plan it in, and recruit your friends along the way. “Once you’ve got those great foundations in place, your mood and motivation are already lifted, and then you’re in a great position to layer in the new things,” she explains.
Create a morning ritual. Having a set routine to ease you into the AM can set the tone for your whole day, improving your productivity and boosting your mood, as well as helping you feel composed and ready for whatever lies ahead. You can tailor your ritual to fit into your life and circumstances – but don’t try to stretch yourself by setting unrealistic goals, it can just take five minutes! Your ritual can be anything that means you’re prioritising yourself and makes you want to get out of bed – be it taking time to enjoy your favourite cup of coffee, a quick 10-minute meditation to calm any worries, or noting down the most important tasks you need to do that day so you feel prepared.
Write in this Stationery Island A5 Dotted Notebook. Why not take up bullet journaling this spring? It’s an easy way to keep track of what’s going on in your life – all you need is a dotted notebook, like this one. A bullet journal acts as a planner, diary and to-do list all in one, and once you master the basic symbols, you can use it to record your thoughts and tasks, as well as past and future events. While it takes a little while to set up, it will help to simplify your life when it’s ready – you’ll find lots of inspiration online, and you can get as creative as you like.
Try birdwatching. No longer the reserve of middle-aged men, birdwatching is becoming more and more popular for people of all ages and could be a great way to enjoy some fresh air with your family. The benefits range from being able to get closer to nature, to calming your mind – in fact, a study by the University of Exeter found that people living in neighbourhoods with more birds and tree cover are less likely to have depression, anxiety and stress. There are lots of locations across the UK that you can visit to spot our feathered friends (head to rspb. org.uk to find a reserve near you), or you could encourage them to your own garden this season. Some ways to do this include offering a range of food (not just peanuts), and providing a bird bath to make your outside space even more appealing.