I started writing this a month ago, just as we all woke from the festive season’s dream and forced ourselves to start preparations for a return to the daily grind…but, for me, it was not meant to be quite yet. The cold I was nursing, as mentioned later in the text, turned into a full blown chest infection that decided to chain me to my bed for all of January. As far as I am concerned, my 2017 only has 11 months…
Here’s to all sorts of New Year’s resolutions: I don’t quite believe in them, as most of us forget what they were about, or deem them impractical to live with before January’s end is nigh. Instead, I’ll round up my essential needs and base my goals for the year on those. We all have them, but many of us do tend to ignore our own needs in favour of others’ wellbeing. I’m a sucker for doing good and working for charity. So much so, my bank balance is perpetually low. So low, in fact, my bank manager probably goes pale when coming across my account. This shall be my top priority this year. Aaaaaa!
Last year I scrambled a long list of goals together, well-meaning and all, but life can have other plans, especially when your health doesn’t play game, then all goes belly up. Still, I am rather proud to have completed some of them successfully, such as completing my Green Globe Auditor Certificate and landing my 1st 1000 followers on Twitter six months ahead of schedule, as well as getting my first proper travel article published by Pink Pangea and finally starting to paint again (not only paint, but complete a painting to gift it to a friend for her big birthday). Interestingly enough, I write this while sipping my umpteenth cup of lemon and mandarin tea, having fixed myself up on Lemsip and eyeing up the manuka honey next, nursing that first January cold. So, working on a healthy life continues to be my first priority.
Goals and plans can take a turn south when stress, anxiety and depression lurk in the background, therefore, we have to become honest firstly with ourselves where the brakes to our personal success and overload on our health come from. In my case, 2016 was a bit of a health Annus Horribilis, and we must work on improving ASAP, my Health and I. It even spilt into 2017, wiping my entire January! This is definitely an emergency!
To achieve the goals of balance and good health, one ought to invest time and effort into good old general wellbeing and I can’t think of anything better to describe it than the last-year-much-hyped sense of hygge.
Well, to achieve my personal sense of daily hygge this year, what do I need to do…
1. Make money!
Yup, time to stop working for free and get some hard cash. This excludes providing services in kind in return for advancement of my own business.
Somehow, I have always felt discomfort talking money or reminding anyone that time is the most important commodity I have and it cannot remain a free resource to others.
The need to stop being taken for granted and anyone taking advantage of your time does not apply to your genuine wish to support a cause to make a difference. Such time and effort donated gives back to you in more ways than one. Most of all, the sense of fulfilment and joy when you see how you can change someone’s day or even life with what to you is so little.
All in all, the final goal here is to end this year with a positive bank balance and relish the joy from giving time to causes I believe in at the same time.
Having money won’t buy me a sense of hygge, but it will contribute to overall stress-reduction and a sense of control. Considering how disagreeable I find saying the word “money” (I’m also allergic to coins; they make my palms itch and burn if I hold them longer than a few seconds), this will be a most interesting path of discovery.
2. Fix old injuries and create a sensible, achievable exercise routine!
Avoid boring! So, here’s the space for physio prescribed exercises, yoga, walking and swimming. I’m not one for adventurous sports such as jogging or rock climbing; I’d pass out after anything speedier than a fast walk after the next corner, while I doubt they make rock climbing gear to support my generously proportioned behind.
Highlight is on: avoid boring. Why? Because boredom spells disaster for any routine or good habit we want to implement for the long-term benefit. I’d pick Zumba and Salsa here too, as I love dancing, but I’ll leave those to reward myself for when my physio allows Zumba (it’s that Achilles tendon that stops me) and Salsa when I have settled into the initial swim-walk-yoga routine.
I prefer to make my goal to achieve a regular wellness routine, than to give myself a number of pounds to loose (and let’s face it, there are looooads of those), but it feels more achievable to seek out small weekly and monthly goals with the amount of exercise I do, injury improvement I make and not give up by getting bored or daunted by it all.
Giving up is just not an option!
3. Cherish my daily hour of mini hygge or my Hour of Bliss!
My work tends to include a lot of communication, so it is a treat to keep quiet. Try it out! It fills you with such bliss when you realise you do not have to speak and you can just relax with your own thoughts and let them linger in the areas of joyousness.
I immerse myself in reading, listen to music, watch cartoons or a programme I enjoy. Sometimes, I’ll just curl up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and “travel”.
This year, I shall improve my Hour of Bliss and make it a little ritual of candle lighting, burning aromatherapy oils, relaxing music, meditation and whatever else comes into the mix afterwards.
I have been enjoying all those separately or might combine one or two, but to have it all at once…Bliss!
Try it out! After a while, you will get addicted, I am sure.
4. Eating for wellbeing
“If I hear any more about ‘guilt-free’ eating I’ll explode! “
Reading exactly this type of thought in one of the tweets by Naomi White, a former star student of mine who is now a very successful spinning instructor and sports fashion PR and who remains very dear to me, it was quite a revelation.
Food is not meant to make us feel guilty. Instead, once we learn to drop that guilt, healthy eating becomes a choice and then a habit. Nowadays, Naomi is an inspiration to me, so we come full circle. I am proud to have taught her well to set her on her own way of success, which she now creates singlehandedly day by day. In return, she inspires me with her sensible ways about nutrition and fitness.
So, time to be kind to myself. Saying “No, thank you” to a well-meaning host if what is served is not gluten-free or Low FODMAP friendly food was always difficult, at the expense of suffering later.
You might come across those who think you are just “imagining” you can’t eat so many things.
Saying “No” more often will do me a world of good. Just say it! Now!
De-cluttering is quite in vogue, be it desk, house or even life. Still, I have been slowly doing so for a while with paperwork and keeping my surrounding tidy. Actually, I just can’t concentrate if I am surrounded by an almighty mess.
But, there is more to it. You can get a whole load of people into your life who do nothing to make you feel good, but instead slowly drain your energy with each conversation you have, or every time you see them.
Do you ever find yourself wandering why you are friends with someone, if you always feel exhausted after seeing them or having a conversation? Possibly, they even make you feel unhappy, down, or even sad?
You might not feel appreciated when you realise they only call upon you when single, bored or in trouble. Yes, it is far from easy, sometimes, to tell such a person how you feel about it. Perhaps you tried and it turned into an argument or you were made to feel guilty.
Well, then just slowly create some distance and regain your space. If and when it is noted and you are challenged about it, be honest and speak out. Pick your words wisely, but do not bottle it up again. You will feel much better afterwards.
So, my final important goal for 2017 has to be de-cluttering my life.
This rounds off five goals I have set myself to achieve this year. They all have a common goal: to help me find balance. Get it just right. Live Lagom.