It’s a brand new year. And instead of setting unrealistic goals we’re thinking of ways to be easier on ourselves.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and we completely agree…there are things that are simply beyond our control to change. So why waste the time and energy? We’re thinking about what we CAN change though. Like smiling more, noticing the needs of others, or taking time out to enjoy the company of good friends or family.
And there’s a good chance that these are the things that will end up making all the difference in 2023.
Echoing these sentiments to a tee, LC’s Mike puts it this way: “For me self-care isn’t about any single thing or activity, it’s more about consistency, kindness and knowing it’s not about perfection. It’s easy to get drawn into an endless list of things you must do to be better, whether it’s eating fewer processed foods, drinking more water, joining a gym or meditating; it can be overwhelming and frankly might make you feel inadequate for not being a clean eating ultra-zen super athlete. So be kind to who you are now, because you might feel like you’re just surviving, but to somebody else you might be the most ‘put together’ human being on this planet”.
Medical science has proven that your thought life greatly impacts your emotional well-being. A ‘positive thoughts’ journal could help you by refocus your attention. Try listing 3 things you’re thankful for every day whether it be a blue-sky day, a pet’s unconditional affection or a good friend’s company.
Phil an LC Director shares his morning routine with this: ‘For me I start my day that same way every day (and the kids do the same when they are with me). Gratitude – I’m awake and have another day to look forward to. After a quick reflection – I’m not in severe pain (I always think about the time I lost a tooth and the pain I was in and feel grateful that I haven’t got that to worry about). I remind myself that I am alive and not in pain which is great basis for a positive start to any day!’
It really doesn’t have to be anything big but spoiling yourself even a little bit can make the world of difference to your day. It may be a book you’ve been meaning to buy, a banging slice of cake from your local bakery or a cup of tea and an afternoon nap.
Allow yourself a break from chores. Go big with a spa treatment, or treat a friend to lunch round yours. Relaxation, having a laugh or simply getting some rest can turn an average day into a super one.
Our team mate Mary puts it this way: “chocolate is the answer to everything and forget the ironing…who really wants to spend hours in front of an ironing board. Iron the things that crease really easily (but only when you need to wear them) and hang the rest of your washing up as soon as it comes out of the washing machine and the creases will fall out.”
People say it a lot but there really is no understating how uplifting getting out into the fresh air and nature can be. Even if you don’t live anywhere near woodland or the coast, a simple stroll in the park will do wonders.
There’s something very relaxing about the sound of a breeze in the trees, birdsong or a trickling stream. If you do live near the coast you could consider taking up cold water swimming – a favourite activity for those who’ve discovered its benefits like our very own Fionnuala and Lois.
Fionnuala: “I love to go cold water swimming as this helps with my relationship to self, it allows me to concentrate on myself and forces me to ignore my worries. It has helped me develop patience, stamina and courage.”
Lois: “All year round, whatever the temperature a sea swim always makes me feel amazing. Scientists say the negative ions in sea air accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen and balance your serotonin levels and that the bracing climate improves circulation and strengthens the body’s defences… but it’s also hard to think about anything else when you plunge into 9 degrees water!”
Again this shouldn’t cost a lot if anything at all. Crafts like origami and matchstick art are cheap as chips and so satisfying. If you live close to a pebble beach you could try your hand at stacked rock sculptures which is all about balance and counterweights. Super fun and you’ll be getting plenty of o2 as well.
We love the idea of taking up a new crafting hobby too, and our favourites right now are macramé, lino printing and big knitting (with giant needles and balls of wool).
Lastly, one of the best feelings in the world is the sense of gratification you get when you’ve voluntarily given of your time or resources to help out. A little selflessness or kindness shown can make a massive difference. People in need, animals in distress, our communities and the environment. It’s a wonderful thing to be positively impacted in return.
With so much emphasis on looking after each other and our local area, there are many ways to get involved. Embark on a sponsored walk to raise funds and awareness for one of a host of charities. Take part in a beach clean, volunteer at an animal shelter, or help out at the weekend in your local foodbank.
Not only will you be making a difference, but you’ll be blessed right back with a wonderful sense of reward and achievement – well worth it.
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