10 Ways to Improve Your Life in the New Year
The new year is finally here, and some of us will make resolutions aimed at being a better person. Typical resolutions are losing weight, exercising, saving money — and most of them are forgotten by Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with getting in shape or stashing cash, but here are some things you can do that will make life better year-round.
1. Get Enough Sleep
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a third of all Americans don’t get enough sleep. Yes, it’s easier said than done with our busy schedules. But if you don’t get enough sleep, you risk having health problems, accidents, lower productivity — and you always feel tired. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
This has become a buzz word for managing the house, but it can enhance your personal life, too. Getting rid of things you don’t need or use and organizing your space at home and work has a positive psychological impact. It also makes things easier to find!
3. Commune With Nature
If your job or home schedule keeps you indoors, make a point of getting outside. Whether you’re going for a walk, doing work in the garden or even just laying in a hammock, the sunlight can boost your serotonin, a hormone that elevates your mood. Surrounding yourself with plants on the patio or inside is a proven way to enhance your mood.
4. Leave Work at Work
Scarlett O’Hara may have been a self-centered heroine, but she hit upon something when she said, “I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow!” Don’t carry workplace problems home with you. You won’t resolve them there, and they’ll just make you and others miserable.
5. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Planning your day and then getting only half the list done can be exasperating. Yes, you have to go to work and get the kids to school, but maybe you can put off mopping the kitchen floor for a day. Prioritize to avoid end-of-the-day frustration.
6. Pick Your Battles
The Serenity Prayer begins, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” Adopting that philosophy can save you a lot of stress and high blood pressure. Avoid engaging in contentious exchanges just for the sake of engaging. Save your input for things you can change.
7. Just Say No
We all want to be appreciated, valued, and loved, but our eagerness to please can become stressful. Don’t become a hamster in a wheel to your social commitments. If you start to feel overwhelmed, just say “no,” politely.
8. Don’t Be a Slave to Devices
Convenient and entertaining as your smartphone is, there was actually a time not long ago when people got by fine without them. Don’t be afraid to step away from the screen in the new year. Take a walk or a nap or pick up a book. There is another world besides the digital one.
9. Avoid the Myth of Multitasking
“Multitasking” is the mantra in many workplaces, but scientific studies reveal the human brain performs just one task at a time. People who think they’re multitasking are actually just switching rapidly between different tasks, often at the expense of performance. Don’t stress yourself out trying to be a mental octopus.
10. Make Time for Yourself
It’s important to your physical and mental well-being to carve out a little time for yourself to do what you want to do each day in the new year. In today’s hectic world of balancing work and family, that may seem selfish — but it’s not. If you’re going to take care of the needs of others, you have to take care of yourself first.