The Basics Of Balance: 3 Tips to Beat The New Year's Blues
By: Katelyn Cheatwood
Guys, Meet my amazing friend Katelyn! I'm mean how adorable is she!? She is one of the brightest people you will ever meet and the best advice giver. She graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in Biology and a minor is psychology. Not only is she a fantastic writer, she has also been published in several college journals. She wrote a fantastic piece for you guys that I know you'll enjoy! Happy reading.
As the New Year begins, we enter into a state of organized chaos. For many, the holidays are the busiest time of the year, yet even more mental strength is required to power through the following few months. An increase in workload, keeping up with New Year resolutions, and trying to undo those extra few pounds (all while still recovering from a giant holiday food coma) often leaves us drained, both physically and mentally. Here are three simple ways how to find happiness and peace in our over-scheduled lives.
1) Practice Self-compassion
A few months ago I stumbled across a psychology podcast about self-compassion. While the concept itself is easy to understand, it’s often hard to put it into practice. We beat up our bodies for not losing weight quickly enough. We get frustrated at ourselves when we can’t find a solution to a problem at work. We criticize ourselves for not having enough time to share amongst friends and family. Yet if a friend were experiencing these same issues, we probably wouldn’t be frustrated or angry. Instead we would provide positive support, reminding our friend that “weight loss sometimes takes a while to show, but you’re doing great!” or comforting them with kindness: “you can’t make everybody happy. Just do the best you can and let it go!” By transferring these same compassionate and reassuring thoughts to ourselves, it not only increases our peace but helps to increase confidence and happiness too. Next time you begin to think negative thoughts about yourself, ask the question “If my best friend was feeling this way, how would I respond?” and give yourself the same compassion.
2) Get a Good Night’s Sleep
One of my biggest pet peeves is the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” Now I totally understand the idea behind this. I lead a crazy life and I’m always wishing for just a little… more… time. It seems so easy to stay up late, either enjoying life to the fullest or just catching up on laundry after a week of a little too much ‘enjoying life to the fullest.’ But one of the best things you can do for your physical, mental, and emotional health is to get enough rest. Sleep has so many benefits, yet our society has turned who can function on the least amount of sleep into a competition. “I stayed up till 1 am last night cleaning the house for the party this weekend!” “Oh yeah? Well I’ve stayed up till 2 finishing that project for work!” “Girl tell me about it! I haven’t slept hardly 3 hours a night in the past week!” I don’t know why not getting enough sleep has somehow turned into a source of pride, but it needs to stop. Please do yourself a favor and set aside a full 7-8 hours for rest each night. Although it may seem like you are losing valuable time, you’ll more than make up for it in increased productivity and happiness the next day. If you do need to stay up late, make sure you stick with your regular morning schedule and get plenty of rest in the days after.
3) Be Thankful
If there was one thing I would recommend as a way to increase your mental health and happiness, it would be to practice gratitude. We live in a society of #FirstWorldProblems. While our problems are no less real, we often tend to glaze over the wonderful blessings our lives are filled with. Living with a spirit of gratitude quite literally changes the way we think. Try to start by writing a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your life or begin a nightly gratitude journal by jotting down three things you are thankful for each day. There are no rules here! Sometimes my notes say “Thankful my mom came through the surgery well and is healing.” Other days my notes say “Thankful I looked super-hot today and felt really confident.” Just by acknowledging the good in our days, we begin to look for it more, and consequently increase our own happiness.
So, what are your tips for how to find fulfillment and happiness in your daily lives? Leave us a comment or share your tips! I hope this blog was helpful and wish you all joy and peace this year.