2020 will probably go on record as the longest year any of us have experienced, but the good news is that it’s drawing to a close, and it’s never too late (or too early) to start making plans.
No, not New Year’s resolutions that will last for a few days at most before sputtering to a stop… but real, impactful changes that can really make a better life for all of us.
The beginning of the day – and a solid morning routine – is a very good place to start, and it’s also well-documented that listening to music is a good way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Why not kick off your day with some soothing tunes with a sweet little alarm clock?
In the modern world of fast fashion and fad diets, breakfast has become something of an antique, but it’s still good for you. Something simple like a bowl of granola with some fresh fruit or yogurt is a good source of fiber and is low-GI, which will help you stay fuller for longer and keep you going.
The Chinese have long known the extensive health benefits of drinking tea, and drinking it regularly can help with certain issues such as weight, eyesight and heart health. If the taste of the ubiquitous green tea is too bitter for you, try green tea infused with mint leaves – it's good for your digestive system and contains some caffeine, which will help provide an extra boost of energy when you wake up.
The road to self-improvement is littered with many, many excellent books, and no matter what your niche is, there’s a self-improvement book for you. From Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill to Ariana Huffington and Mark Manson, a lot of good advice can be found here. Soon, you’ll be taking names like nobody’s business.
Research has shown that keeping a journal can have many benefits for one’s mental health, improving mindfulness, reducing depression and anxiety, or simply as a creative or meditative tool. Build up a solid, strong morning routine with just a few minutes of journaling each day. Also, Oprah made the Gratitude Journal famous for a reason, so there’s that.
When you are planning the rest of your life (and how to take over the world), it sometimes helps to keep sight of the bigger picture. A good whiteboard can help you to visualize your dreams and goals much more easily, and it will help with all those 3am brainstorming sessions.
While many of us might not have bathtubs, we can still indulge in a good foot-soaking every now and then, and it is said that bath salts can help to reduce inflammation and soreness. The salts can also be used for making face scrubs free of any additives or preservatives.
How many times have you fallen asleep on your hard mattress and woken up with a stiff, sore neck? Probably too many times. Memory foam pillows mold to the shape of your head and help keep your neck unbent and your spine aligned, so you can wake up feeling recharged and ready to face the day.
Candles are used in meditation, prayer and ritual, or simply to provide a relaxing ambience in your bedroom or living room. Remember, of course, to take care with ventilation and the surface it stands on.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, meaning they not only can help to lower your cholesterol levels, but can also aid in improving overall heart health. Plus, guacamole is the bomb.
One way of encouraging more mindful practices in your everyday life is to pay attention to your plate. It sounds simple, but a well-designed or colorful plate or bowl that you can eat out of can help your meal become a more enjoyable one.
It can get boring very quickly to spend hours on treadmills going nowhere. Why not try skipping? You can take it outside for a couple of minutes every day, for the benefit of your heart, your muscles and your neighbors.
It has long been established that creative pursuits are beneficial in many ways, and drawing will help you improve your fine motor skills, as well as memory and focus. Even if you can’t draw, there are many ways to learn.
As much as we all love to work all the time, we also need to carve out time to play every now and then. Stepping away from the smartphone or laptop can help mitigate the impact of stress on our lives, and provide opportunities for creative expression. And, unless you lose a couple of pieces to the dog or the toddler, puzzles offer the chance to practice mindfulness and improve your observation skills.
A form of traditional Chinese exercise, based on martial arts, Tai Chi is a set of very gentle movements and postures. Like yoga, it focuses extensively on controlled breathing and meditation, and has been observed to help improve longevity, overall flexibility and mental health. It is, of course, essential to look good while practising Tai Chi too, and what better way than in a light, breathable linen suit?
Comfort, ease of wear and versatility are all features of everyday shoes now, but are especially important for the shoes you exercise in. They can help ease the impact of the ground on your knees and other important joints, and also protect your feet. There are so many different styles and brands to choose from, so take your time making your choice.