I decided to focus on goals and aims for 2017, primarily because I’m useless at making my own and I enjoy reading what other people hope the year holds in store. I’m not a big fan of the stereotypical resolutions that the media pump into us – “lose weight, drink less, try harder”. They make me feel guilty rather than motivated, so I’ve tried to bring you a selection of really positive posts this month. I’ve also read some brilliant evergreen posts with tips that are relevant all year round, but are quite handy to read now while we’re in the mindset of generating good habits.
My first post comes from Sarah at A Mundane Life. She’s set herself a few challenges for 2017, including a journey towards minimalism. Once you’ve had children, it’s so easy to live in a house full of clutter and unnecessary stuff that belongs to the little people, the dog, your partner…tidying up is almost futile and you crave a square foot of empty carpet! The level of mess can litter the mind and lead to frustration and anxiety. Sarah is doing a 30 day minimalism game, where she gets rid of unwanted or useless items that no longer bring her joy or get regular use. So that’s one item on day one, two on day two, and so on. I’m in the middle of moving house at the moment and I’ve just donated about 90 things to charity in one day, it feels BRILLIANT and I’m so interested to read how Sarah gets on.
My next post is from Hayley at Mission Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept that I’m only just starting to pay attention to, but I can see why so many people are converts to the practise. Did you know that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend mindfulness as a preventative treatment for depression, in those who have suffered multiple bouts previously? Hayley talks about the importance of bringing our attention right back to the present, by examining each of our senses at any given moment. Her whole website is fantastic actually, if you’re just starting out on a mindful journey or are looking for some advanced techniques.
Well, it wouldn’t be New Year without some sort of nod to fitness! I strongly believe that while keeping fit is great for your body, it’s also super important for your mental health and wellbeing. The release of endorphins (the happy hormone) gives such a strong feeling of positive energy, and it’s well worth finding a sport or type of exercise that gives you that buzz. Becki blogs at The Mum From Brum and she’s recently started doing Parkrun, which is a free weekly 5k organised run in hundreds of locations across the UK (and worldwide….my husband did the Sydney Parkrun on our honeymoon. True story!). This is her account, which is reassuring and inspiring to anyone who is considering lacing up their trainers, but a bit daunted.
The post which I couldn’t stop thinking about this month comes from the Life As We Know It blog. They talk about going on a negativity diet – cutting out negative influences, people and stresses, thereby becoming less affected by their actions. God knows I need some of this, as sometimes I can feel like a sponge, absorbing all sorts of negativity and worry created by those around me. It doesn’t need to be extreme, but a small amount of self-care can go a long way in building up the resource to cope with those stressful situations.
More diet tips now – but something a little different really struck me while reading this post by Laura at Laura’s Lovely Blog. Do you find yourself inundated with those annoying sidebar adverts for weight loss tips, ways to eradicate belly fat etc? Or do you have a friend who always posts to Facebook about their diet, making you feel guilty and rubbish in the process? Laura recommends simply deleting, unsubscribing or unfollowing these influences that have a negative effect on you. Or, if it’s a friend, just mute their status updates!
I’ve already talked about self-care a little bit, and Sara from Mind Your Mamma really has this one sewn up in her brilliant post about practical ways to take time for yourself. She quite rightly says that it’s too easy for us to think “well, I did the food shop on my own, so that was time to myself, right?” WRONG. It’s so important to carve out a little niche in our diary that’s utterly dedicated to something that we want to do. One suggestion I really like is hacking away at all the digital input and actually seeing a friend in real life, for real life interaction in real time. Not just a text conversation in between sorting loads of washing or doing the school run.
Cutting back on all things digital and social media is a common goal that I’ve seen lots of you mention, actually. Louise from A Strong Coffee is hoping to stay (mostly) away from her phone between 3pm and 7pm, in a bid towards creating a stronger connection with her family during downtime and readjusting the work life balance.
Is it just me, or was everyone seemingly a bit ill over Christmas? Half of my family got struck down with Norovirus in December and it was brutal – then after that came a swathe of coughs and colds. Jenna from A Balanced Belly has ten fab natural tips for staving off the nasties, including regular doses of Echinacea. I absolutely lived off that stuff when I first started university and my immune system felt like it had been hit by a bus – it really does give you a boost.
I really liked Tasha from Mummy and Moose’s down-to-earth resolutions, where she talks about her lack of sleep. Children often dictate how much sleep their parents get, so sadly our z’s can be disrupted even if we’re in the middle of a lovely dream about Tom Hardy. I think the key to quality sleep, even on reduced hours, is making little changes to the environment and habits we have before turning in. Tasha wants to start reading for half an hour before bed every night, which I don’t feel like I’ve done in YEARS – my inner bookworm is very sad. I’ll definitely be trying to follow her example this year.
I mentioned earlier that I’m moving house at the moment, and last week I spent twenty minutes trawling through my medicine cabinet and binning out of date Calpol and indigestion tablets (the latter being a relic from my preggo days). My friend Claudia, aka Dr Mummykins, put together a great list of items for her house First Aid Kit. It’s clear and concise so if you’re starting from scratch or overhauling yours, do take a look at what the good Doctor suggests.
Hands up who’s already sacked off most of their resolutions? My next post from Louise at Pink Pear Bear really made me laugh, as she flawlessly taps into all of the usual goals that we set ourselves in January. We put ourselves under so much pressure, don’t we, to completely reinvent ourselves on every level and suddenly turn into a super parent / employee / spouse / nextdoor neighbour.
I do like an infographic, so that’s what I’m going to end on this month. This is 40 ways to stay healthy from Pushdoctor, but it’s not too daunting really. The one I like best is “get some sun” which did make me chuckle as I peer out of the window at our bleak midwinter, but it did serve as a reminder that we’re past the winter solstice now and the days are slo-o-o-owly getting longer, hurray!
That’s enough goal-setting and ideas for now I think. Well done for nailing January! I’ll be back with the next selection of posts in February. If you’d like yours to be considered, you can email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me a link via @mousemoo_metoo.