Often we think we need to completely overhaul what we're doing in order to make positive changes in our lives. But the truth is, there are small things we can do each day to improve our health and happiness.
The Mental Health Foundation suggests five simple ways to boost our wellbeing in every-day life. The New Year is a great time to get started!
You are never too old to learn something new. Embrace your love of learning and see challenges as opportunities – you may surprise yourself! Seek experiences and try something different, whether it's learning to dance, heading to a new show, cooking a new recipe or trying your hand at knitting.
One of the best ways to learn is listening to someone who can teach you something and impart their wisdom upon you. Learning new things is not only fun, but can also boost your confidence.
Connect with people
We are all hard-wired for connection and while the holiday period is a special time for some, it can also bring on feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety for others. Make time to talk, listen, smile and connect with people.
Ring that friend or family member you have been meaning to for a while as you never know how much of a difference a phone call can make. It could be a good time to plan a barbecue or pot-luck dinner with family (my favourite thing to do) and gather around for a few sing-alongs.
Regular exercise will not only help burn off a few extra Christmas calories, but it gives your mental wellbeing a big boost too. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes a day to feel the benefits. Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels, and also reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
Even if you are away on holiday and out of your normal routine, look for places you and the family can walk, bike or enjoy the outdoors every day.
We make a living from what we get, but we make a life from what we give. Everyone can give something, no matter how big or small. Help your family and friends or engage in random acts of kindness – shout the next person in line a coffee, pay for someone's parking or randomly send a card to a friend.
It's amazing how paying it forward, even just a smile or a compliment, will positively affect others and they will want to give too.
Don't wish away the days hoping for better ones – the grand and modest are equally wonderful. Remember the simple things that give you joy and make time to take pleasure in them.
Reflect on past experiences, be grateful and thank the special people in your life as this helps you understand what matters most in life. Be open and curious to new experiences, but also pause to take it all in.
Whether it's being outdoors and taking in beautiful sights and smells, or really chewing that first mouthful of food and appreciating all the flavours and textures, be sure to savour the moment!