24 Days of wellbeing activities for you to try over the festive period.
This year has been a rough ride. If you need a bit of time to refocus this festive period, have a go at these simple practices, one for each day of advent.
Let’s end 2020 with a smile!
- Go to bed one hour earlier than usual.
‘Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorise, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite.’
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
2. Turn off your smartphone notifications for 24 hours.
“Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired.”
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
3. Eat a meal or take time to drink a hot drink outside.
This article on The Psychological Impact of Light and Color tells us that light can improve our mood and stabilise our circadian rhythms. Psychologically, light can decrease depression scores and even increase cognitive performance, such as reaction time and activation.
4. Go the whole day without complaining about anything!
If you need some help, here are 7 easy steps to moaning a little less
5. Wake up and write down 10 things you’re grateful for. Think about each of them throughout the day.
Writing can be a useful way to keep track of what you feel fortunate to have in your life at the moment. You can list anything here, people, things or even previous experiences, just try to be specific as you go.
Gratitude Journalling has the added benefit of being able to be revisited in the future. This helps in appreciating how you felt at the time.
Check out this article for more.
6. Make a list of realistic goals for the week ahead.
Try using WOOP as a template — it’s excellent!
7. Before you go to bed, write down everything you achieved today.
Daniel H. Pink recommends writing before bed. Writing your achievements may help your brain concentrate on positives before sleeping, and allow you to worry less about the ‘what if’s’.
8. Plant some seeds or buy a plant.
Amongst other things, gardening reduces stress and allows you to see growth and appreciate the passage of time. If it’s too cold outside, add some indoor greenery to your home.
9. Go for a moonlit walk or watch the sunset.
Walking is underrated and has numerous physical and psychological benefits, whilst the act of savouring — feeling an emotional attachment and helping to commit a moment to your long term memory — is great for your wellbeing.
10. Make your own dinner from scratch and share it with someone you love.
Oxytocin is released when we are with loved ones and friends whilst cooking is a great excuse to socialise. Combine the two with a glass of wine if that’s your thing!
11. Send an encouraging or supportive text to 5 people.
Reaching out and sharing appreciation via text helps us feel better connected and makes the person on the receiving end smile too!
12. Make time for a wholesome breakfast.
For the benefit of your health, cognitive performance and wellbeing, you should make breakfast a larger meal than others. This academic article presents several reasons why breakfast is so important.
13. Call someone you care about and tell them why they are important to you.
Gratitude phone calls are fantastic to give and receive — a perfect (and free) Christmas present.
14. Watch your favourite film.
Because it’s your favourite!
15. Wake up early and meditate before work.
Meditate in silence or follow an app. Do it for 10 minutes or one hour, you will feel lighter and more aware of your feelings throughout the day.
16. Do one thing you’ve been putting of, however small.
You know, that one thing you just thought of and thought ‘Nah I’m not doing that’ — that’s the one! Do it and it’s done, box ticked, checked off.
17. De-clutter your desk and drawers — be ruthless.
Marie Kondo used ‘Does it spark joy?”. You might use ‘Have I used it in the last 12 months?’. Whichever makes sense to you, keep the things you want and throw away the rest.
18. Stroke your pet (or someone else’s pet)!.
It is proven to improve your mood if the oxytocin doesn’t do the trick their little face will!
19. Get a sweat on
Exercise isn’t only good for your body, it helps you feel better and sharpens your mind too. Go for a jog, kick the ball about in the park or try Spinning just make sure you get sweaty.
20. Plan to meet up with a friend in January.
Everyone needs something to look forward to, and once Christmas is done, everything seems a little empty. Book in a meal, a visit or a call with a friend.
21. Write a letter to someone; for any reason you like.
Expressing emotions through words aids healing. Make it an excuse to move away from the screen, write it by hand.
22. Read for an hour.
Read for no other reason than to read, don’t take notes just get lost in a book even if it takes a few attempts to get going!
23. Draw or take a picture and frame it, give it away.
Frames are inexpensive, and photos capture the most incredible moments. Flick back through your phone and find one that will make someone’s day!
24. Give yourself permission to have a few Christmas treats at least one day over the festive period.
It Christmas, enjoy, savour and smile. Life happens, and strict dieting shouldn’t get in the way of you enjoying yourself and the festive food!
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