The Christmas holidays are well and truly over, the buzz of the start of the new year is wearing off and all those well-intentioned goals are starting to get lost in the haze of everyday-life hecticness. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to take a step back, reflect, and make time for some self-care.
Some people like to think of January as a detox month, others like to see it as the time to start as they mean to go on for the whole year. Either way, it is a good time to set some goals and also boundaries for yourself. You can eat healthily, start exercising, and make plans.
- Eating healthily
Eating healthily shouldn’t be about detoxing or seen as a punishment for all those over-indulgences and extra Christmas treats. It should be more about enjoying a healthy lifestyle and loving your body all of the time.
Eating healthily isn’t that easy for everyone so learning how to eat healthily is key. You can learn to eat healthily at any age but the earlier we start to educate our children about food the better. We believe that teaching young people in schools about making healthy choices and helping them learn how to prepare basic meals will set them on the right track for life.
Eating healthily not only helps with weight control but also helps to boost mood and manage mental, as well as physical, health.
Exercise is proven to improve both physical and mental health. Even going for a daily walk can help to lift your mood by getting your endorphins flowing. If you prefer something a little more energetic, running gets you outdoors in the fresh air and is a great way to have a little ‘me-time’. It’s free too.
If going to the gym or a fitness class is more your cup of tea, January is a good month to look out for special offers and free trials. You might need to try out a few classes before you find something that suits you but when you have found something you enjoy sticking to it will help to build fitness and often it’s a great way to make new friends.
Exercising and being active can also help to boost confidence, which carries over into other areas of life.
- Make plans
Do you get the January blues? It’s common to feel a little down at this time of year – all the excitement of Christmas is over, the nights are still long and the weather is dreary and cold. So, what better way to cheer yourself up than making some plans to look forward to?
Your plans don’t need to be expensive or extravagant, they can be something as simple as scheduling some self-care time into your diary. For example, at the weekend you might decide to take a walk in the countryside, hook up with friends for coffee or go and watch that movie you’ve wanted to see for ages at the cinema.
You may wish to make bigger plans – book a holiday, arrange a trip to visit family or decide you are going to move house. Whatever your plans are if you write them down, it will make them more concrete and you are more likely to stick to them.
- Set goals
It sounds like a cliché to set goals in January but it’s a good time to do it as you start the year off afresh and raring to go. The key to goal setting is to make your goals achievable. For example, if you’ve never run before but would like to run a race don’t aim for a marathon straight away, start off with a shorter distance, such as a 5K and work your way up from there.
It’s great to have dreams but if you make your goals unachievable you will end up feeling disappointed. Set yourself smaller goals, such as weekly goals and work towards your larger goals over time.
You can even set yourself daily goals – these can be anything you want them to be. For example, today I will smile at a stranger, walk 10, 000 steps and phone a friend I haven’t spoken to for a while. If you achieve every one you will feel good about yourself at the end of the day.
It’s OK to say no. When we talk about setting boundaries we don’t mean set limits on yourself or your expectations. You can still aim high and say no at the same time. By sometimes saying no to other people’s demands you are empowering yourself and setting aside time to focus on your own self-care or working towards your own goals.
Saying no doesn’t have to mean being unkind or uncaring, just think about what you are agreeing to and don’t take on more than you can manage. Setting boundaries can help to make us the best version of ourselves as we won’t be spreading ourselves too thin to achieve our goals and give our best to the people who need us the most.
Your health and wellbeing should be an ongoing project all of the time but taking a step back at the start of the year to decide how you are going to manage this throughout the year is a great idea. For young people learning how to manage both their mental and physical health can be challenging and we believe they need guidance and education to do this. It’s up to us as parents, teachers and education establishments to help students understand the benefits of eating healthily, exercising regularly and personal development.
The lesson plans and resources that we provide for schools include modules covering understanding food and nutrition, learning basic cooking skills, goal setting, health and wellbeing practises, and many more subjects that will help young people to grow into healthy, happy, successful adults.