Healthifying Habits for a Happier Year
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
I’m sure that collective society as a whole would agree that 2020 was a terrible time: a mundane period and historical precedent embedded in loneliness, depression, misery from greed, oppression, grief. It was as if it became defined as the grim loss of normal life. At least, that is what it was for me. And several times, it felt like a lot… like rock bottom.
Slowly but surely, I incorporated habits that served me in the long run. I checked up on my loved ones, while they fortunately did the same for me. And I asked for help when I needed it. By connecting back to myself and to others, I escaped my rock bottom.
You can also escape your rock bottom!
Throughout the toughest year of my life, here are the most significant habits I incorporated on a daily basis that drastically improved my mindset:
Writing in a journal is like talking to yourself. This might sound crazy, but it is literally like therapy for yourself. There is so much freedom in it, since it comes in many forms: bullet journalling, drawing, and even simply typing out daily ideas in your Notes app (which is what I do most of the time, anyways).
Whatever structure you choose, the main takeaway for this habit is that it helps to keep your thoughts organized, to recognize emotional patterns, and to realize the mental cycles that you carry. It's important to honor ALL feelings that arise (good or bad), but what comes next is most important...
Ask yourself: with these thoughts of mine, do these repeating emotional patterns serve me? If not, what thoughts do serve me? By implementing this type of self-awareness, you can see that YOU are the master of controlling your thoughts. NOT the other way around.
The trick is to look back at your journal entries as an observer. As a method of self-expression, even if it is just expression towards you, journalling at its maximum potential can help you notice the subtleties and nuances of this beautiful life we all share. Oh, the beauties in the little things.
So this one sounds cheesy, I know. But it’s true! Moving your body in any manner gets the blood pumping and naturally increases vitality and energy, even though it may feel like the opposite in the moments of doing so. To keep yourself accountable, set a specific amount of times that you work out per week. It is best to infuse a mixture of strength training and cardio for optimum results.
I set a goal for myself in 2020 to exercise at least 4 times per week. In the end, my workout sessions predominantly turned out to be mostly shuffle dancing (thanks Tik Tok), running on a treadmill (cardio), and lifting dumbbells (strength training).
Prior to the pandemic, I used to be more vigilant about exercise with outdoor 4+ miles of running and high intensity interval training (HIIT). At first, I felt bummed out and almost sort of guilty in slacking off with working hard on my body. Body image issues rekindled, and even deeper, enveloped internal struggles emerged back into my consciousness. Then, I realized that it’s okay that I leaned away from physical exercise a bit to do some harder, more inner work: to focus on my mental healing and mindful growth.
And now, here I am, creating this blog! It's all about balance.
At the end of the day, your exercise can be as simple or as complex as you would like. Whether it is a fun dance routine, some simple stretching, a safe socially-distanced hike, or a rigorous session of backyard bench pressing, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
As long as you DO it and show up for yourself, you’re good.
This global pandemic from corona virus has clearly heightened mental health issues that are often still seen as taboo to talk about: depression, anxiety, loneliness from stagnant home life, amplified effects of trauma from toxic households, and so much more.
This is why society needs to normalize asking for the help they need.
At their most basic level, humans are independent individuals to simply survive. In order to experience the richness of life, however, humans must act as interdependent beings to fully thrive.
Through the ease of open-mindedness, we can help each other out. In seeking the help I need, I finally feel capable to do hard things and to realize my worth, too. And this is me telling you that you can do the same. Believe it, and it will come.
4. Go easy, take it easy.
Now you’re probably thinking, “What? What is this ‘easy’ thing? This isn’t an action-oriented habit to help me.” And you’re right — it isn’t! I want to conclude this post with an important takeaway message:
It is okay to mess up. You're already enough.
Often times, I find it a fatal mistake that online readers (including myself) force themselves to soak up so much information to improve their lives nowadays, endlessly searching for the best habits to make themselves "happy" again, constantly striving and striving and striving.
Seeking and seeking and seeking.
Longing and longing and longing.
And one way or another, when they don’t live up to their expectations of doing these habits in the structured way they thought they would, it merely leads to disappointment.
The hardest part about habits is not actually doing them, but rather maintaining the consistency of doing them. Habits turn into routine through repetition.
That’s why the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions” are often ineffective. It’s striving and seeking and longing to a fault. After you realize you did not fulfill your resolutions in the specific way you wanted to, it amplifies feelings of emptiness and failure, instead of wholeness and success (which is already in you, by the way).
Remember that life constantly gets in the way — at some point, you may possibly injure yourself throughout the year, which hinders you from daily exercise. Or you or a loved one gets sick, which hinders you from your journalling. We’re still in a pandemic, after all!
Trying your best is always great, but trying too much is counterproductive. Hyper-fixation only results in destruction; too much intention creates tension. Once you are aware that inconsistency is inevitable, and that consistency lies in simply doing your best, it is only then that inner peace may emerge from within.
Above all, what I want you to remember in implementing these habits for the new year is that it is okay to not be perfect in doing these 3 things. You can do 1, or 2, out of the 3 things that worked for me. Or all of them.
This is not to negate your desires to incorporate healthy habits in your life; rather, it is to help you remember that you are already great. These routinely habits are just here to guide you to become greater, to help you reach your maximum potential.
You know yourself better than anyone else. So simply do what works best for you.
Life is hard, so go easy.
Sending much love, light, and joyful peace your way. <3