What good things did you do for yourself in 2021?
This year on Well, we suggested a number of small habits that can make life just a little better. It’s not too late to try them, and pick a few you’d like to continue. Here are eight of our favorites.
Give the best hours of your day to yourself. What time of day do you feel your best? For some people, we may feel most energetic during the first few hours of the morning. For night owls, evening might be our best time of day. Now ask yourself, “Who gets those hours?” Do you spend your best hours checking emails, catching up on work or doing tasks for your family? Try giving that time to yourself instead. Use it to focus on your priorities, rather than someone else’s. You can use that hour or two for anything you want — it might be for a hobby, a project that you feel passionate about, time with your children or even to volunteer and help others. Setting aside your best hours to focus on personal goals and values is the ultimate form of self-care.
Enjoy exercise snacks. Too often we think of exercise as a formal activity we have to do for an hour at the gym each day. But a number of studies show that short bursts of exercise several times a day lead to meaningful gains in fitness and overall health. Just as you might grab a handful of chips or nuts to break the monotony of your day, an exercise “snack” is a quick movement break. Get up and pace when you’re on the phone. Do jumping jacks, lunges, a wall sit or walk the stairs for 20 seconds. My go-to exercise snack is 10 wall push-ups.
Take a gratitude photo. If a gratitude journal isn’t your thing, make a plan to take one photo a day of something special in your life. It can be a cute picture of your dog, a sunset or a delicious meal. Take a moment to study the photo, sit with your feelings of gratitude, and then share it with a friend or post it on social media. When we make an effort to notice our surroundings or show appreciation for the people, places or things that make us happy, it’s called “savoring.” Scientists know that savoring exercises can lead to meaningful gains in overall happiness and well-being.
Print a “feelings” list. Every day when you brush your teeth or make your coffee, ask yourself: How are you, really? Think of a word that describes exactly what you’re feeling. Unsettled? Energetic? Delighted? Frazzled? (Avoid standard answers like “good,” “fine” or “OK.”) This simple labeling activity is surprisingly effective for calming stress and taking …….