One year has left us, and a new one begins. To some, New Year provides a blank canvas and an opportunity to try something new. For others this expectation brings pressure, stress, and anxiety. One thing that is consistently seen throughout January is pressure to diet, with targeted ads on social media, TV, and magazines, it seems we cannot escape diet culture and its attempt to guilt us for enjoying the holidays.
Changes require an investment of energy, and for many the focus is to try to look a certain way to fit into unrealistic societal expectations. This can have a huge negative impact on our wellbeing, with not only the stress put on your body but also mentally if the results we expect don’t happen. There is so much pressure in focusing on our exterior, we say to ourselves “this year no matter what we will lose all this weight” but unfortunately, that “no matter what” comes with unhealthy diets, excessive exercising and buying magic products.
For me, the real goal is to work on loving myself. We learn this a little too late, but it doesn’t really matter how we look, or the body we have, what really matters is our spirit and attitude. So, this 2023, I propose we concentrate on what makes us feel happy and nurtures our mind and soul. Here are some ideas for small changes to apply this year that will make a big difference and have nothing to do with our bodies.
1. Learn a new language
Challenge your mind by learning a new language. You can use free apps or join language clubs. The International Center at the University provides students an opportunity to learn many new languages for free. If you invest a few minutes of your day, you'll see the difference it will make by the end of 2023. This year I have challenged myself to learn Arabic, with a plan to travel to an Arabic speaking country and but my language into use as a reward. It's never a bad idea to have another language in the pocket.
2. Get enough sleep
Get enough rest, this is essential for your body. Some people feel good sleeping just 7 hours, some need more. I feel great when I sleep for 8 hours. If we give our body the rest it needs, it will be ready to do anything we ask it to do the next day, like long hours of study or intense exercise. You will be much more effective in what you do and your mind will be alert.
3. Try a new hobby
Is there something you have always wanted to do? The University has more de 150 clubs ranging from sports to social societies. Try them out and as you do, you will learn a new ability, make new friends, or engage with other cultures.
4. Spend time with people that appreciate you
I strongly believe that people around us can bring us up or pull us down. Choose to surround yourself with people that have a positive impact on you. Sometimes it’s not easy to stay away from negative people because this may be family, coworkers, etc. but we can limit the time we have to be with them our just let them know you do not want to hear certain topics. At the beginning it will be difficult but later it will become natural.
5. Read more books
Whatever the topic, grab a book and read it. Always have one with you, there will be a moment when you can take it out and read some pages. By reading books we activate many senses and our brain is analyzing and processing, it’s like a body workout for the brain. Experts recommend reading 1 hour before going to bed. Just leave the phone and grab the book, it will make a difference.
The first months might be difficult and may require concentration and self-motivation but try to take it one day at the time until the habit develops. Some of these resolutions I have practiced before, others I will also try to do this year. Not everyone wants to try something new, and that’s ok, but for those of you looking for a health new year’s resolution, you are welcome to join me in this journey. By the end of 2023, we will be at a different position to where we are now, and feeling happy with ourselves for our accomplishment.