There’s no doubt that 2021 has been a tough year for everyone. Globally, stress levels have been at an all-time high due to the pandemic. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) in fact, 78% of adults surveyed said that the pandemic “is a significant source of stress in their life” and 67% reported increased stress over this time.
With a new year upon us, now is the time to tune out the news reports, fear and uncertainty that featured so heavily in our lives in 2021. Too much stress over a long period of time can negatively impact your mental wellbeing and physical health, so it’s important to establish coping mechanisms ‒ from making healthy lifestyle choices and practicing mindfulness, to decluttering your space and setting your goals in action.
Every New Year, people vow to drink green smoothies and exercise daily. You don’t have to go to extremes. Both of those things will make you feel good, but you’re allowed a cheat day too. Here are some simple ways to be kinder to yourself in 2022.
Focus on you
“Me” time is beneficial for physical, mental, and emotional health. Too little time to yourself can negatively impact your relationships and could potentially lead to unhealthy habits, sleep deprivation, depression or burnout. Psychologists recommend time alone for its many benefits including enhancing relationships, having time to think, properly resting the mind and unwinding from daily stresses and ultimately improving concentration, creativity and productivity.
Taking time to do things for yourself can help you recharge and even boost your immune system. If you’re seriously struggling to switch off for a while, practice mindfulness with meditation, go for a walk or run or find a book or recipe to focus on for a while.
In fact, lowering your stress levels, getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy meals and exercising combined is an excellent immune-boosting strategy.
Tidy home, tidy mind
It’s scientifically proven that being surrounded by mess, dirt and clutter leads to higher stress levels. Cleaning and decluttering your space can eliminate distractions, boost motivation and create a healthier home environment.
You can double up on being kind to yourself by enlisting the help of a SweepStar through the SweepSouth app. Hire in the help of someone to come in for a few hours to clean and tidy up your home, freeing you up to take a break and relax, spending time doing the things you love. The process is quick, user- friendly and affordable. And, by doing so, says SweepSouth co-founder and CEO Aisha Pandor, you directly create work opportunities at a time when many domestic workers are struggling to find employment.
Practise self care
Self care has been trending for a couple of years now, but there’s a lot more to it than long baths, face masks and manicures. Self care is incredibly important for mental health and can even reduce risk of heart disease, stroke or cancer. This is more than just taking “me” time, it’s ensuring that all of your needs are met in life.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the United States identified eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.
Your goals at the start of last year might have gone out of the window by March, but it’s time for a fresh start. Even if you’ve suffered setbacks, think about what you want for your life and how you can get things in motion in the year ahead. Things might still be different for a while, but it’s still important to focus on your goals.
Be mindful of mental health
If you are concerned about your mental health at this understandably very stressful time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many professionals that can equip you with the tools you need to cope with stress. The constant barrage of news and ever-changing regulations can be extremely stressful and overwhelming for anyone, especially those with pre-existing mental health issues.
As such, it is important to “learn new ways to cope and manage the stress”.
Be mindful of others too. You never know what internal struggles other people are going through.
Spend time outdoors
We all know how good it is for us to get outdoors and breathe in the fresh air, but if your garden or outdoors area is looking neglected because you just didn’t have the time or energy to maintain it, it could leave you feeling more frustrated than calm looking at it. Take the burden of tackling chores outdoors off your shoulders by hiring help - SweepSouth has recently expanded their list of services in Kenya to include handy outdoor services like cleaning your garden, windows and car.
The new year will have a new set of demands made on you, so take time out now to relax and recharge, to help you press the reset button for a productive and happy year ahead.