2020- a whole new decade! As we begin a new year it is a good time to evaluate our lives, draw a line under what has come before and set positive intentions going forward. Whilst setting resolutions is a good thing and can be a goal to work towards, setting the bar too high and being restrictive can lead to loss of willpower and an increase in anxiety. Many people use ‘January’ as a month to experiment with the changes they would like to make- not only does this help focus on the present rather than the end goal (making you more likely to succeed) but it enables change to be implemented gradually, letting your mind and body adapt.
Looking to take that first step? Here are 5 changes you can try for January (and maybe even beyond…)
1) Dry January
Christmas is usually a time of overindulgence, but we don’t just mean too much Christmas pudding! Suddenly wine is served with every meal, you find yourself drinking at Christmas parties on a Monday evening and that’s before the champagne has been cracked open to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Whilst Christmas is a time of celebration for many and should be enjoyed, it can definitely take a toll on our health. This is why it is estimated 4.2 million people in the UK and 1 in 5 Americans will take part in ‘Dry January’ this year. Going alcohol-free for a month not only gives your liver a break, but can have other unexpected health benefits: think more energy, better sleep, better concentration and an improved mood. And that’s without mentioning clearer skin, speedier digestion and possible weight loss!
Veganism is gaining popularity fast. In the ’90s there were only a few million vegans compared to around 550–950 million* worldwide today. Benefits to our diet, our plant and our animals are all popular reasons, especially with events such as the current devastating wildfires sweeping Australia. Those interested in the diet should consider ‘Veganuary’- a movement challenging people to go plant-based for January and hopefully implementing these food choices beyond. Luckily, it has never been a better time to give Veganism a go. The rise in its popularity has meant it is easier than ever before to eat plant-based- from specialist products in supermarkets, to dedicated vegan restaurants to tasty recipes for home cooking. Just this week KFC has announced a ‘Zero Chicken’ vegan burger, proving the diet’s impact on popular culture!
3) January walks
A lot of people feel the need to get moving after a sluggish December- if you have defined exercise goals, great, but for those who find diving into the gym a little more daunting, make a promise to walk more this month. January is actually ‘walk your dog month’ so if you are a pet owner it is the perfect excuse to get outside more. Whether your goal is to lose weight or just be more active, you will find walking improves your mood and helps beat those dreaded January blues.
4) Brew Monday 2020
Speaking of January blues, they can be a real difficulty for people to overcome, especially those feeling lonely. It might surprise you that young people aged 16 to 24 report feeling lonely more often than older age groups, and the UK government are trying to tackle this by encouraging people to come together on Monday 20th January for ‘Brew Monday’. This involves having a couple of tea together, chatting and helping to banish the winter blues together. However, this is an initiative you can apply to the whole month. Make it a goal to seek social interaction, especially with those who are most likely to struggle with isolation, depression or anxiety.
5) Speaking up
It may be that you are the one struggling with the feelings mentioned above, or have other mental health problems such as an eating disorder, abuse of alcohol or drugs or suffering burnout. Whatever you are battling, make this the month where you find the strength to reach out, speak out and ask for help. This is your chance to write the year ahead, and you CAN find the support you need to overcome these obstacles once and for all. Our Choices Personalized Retreats Program can guide you in unlocking yourself from struggles, emotional pains, past habits and patterns to break free and lead a happier, more fulfilling life.