Healthy Habits I'm Putting Into Place In 2019
We’re almost a week in to 2019 and this first week has been a weird one. I was expecting a rush of motivation and excitement about my work, but the reality is that a large part of my University work is just as dull to me as it was before Christmas, if not more! I’m trying not to put to much pressure on myself to feel super motivated though. After all, just because the calendar year has changed, it doesn’t mean anything else has or that it should.
That’s why when I was setting my New Years Resolutions, I tried not to make them too far-reaching or pressurised because that’s just not helpful. I know some people are totally against the idea of New Years Resolutions but I, for one, like them. They’re a good opportunity to take some time to think about what you’d like to do and how you’d like your life to be in the next 12 months and a year is a good amount of time to set and work towards any goals you want to reach.
Some of my New Years Resolutions are more goals based, although, like I said, none of them are too ambitious because I don’t want to be putting pressure on myself. But today I thought I’d just share my resolutions that are more about habits I want to introduce into my life, mostly to look after myself. In fact, more than half of my New Years Resolutions are focussed on self-care because the last 3(ish) years of my life I’ve been really difficult for me and my mental health and I don’t think I’ve focussed on looking after myself enough. So I’m hoping 2019 is going to be the year of self-care for me! Work and everything else is important but I can’t do any of it if I’m not functioning properly, so here are the ways in which I’m going to try and ensure I can be a fully(ish) functioning human in 2019…
Have A Day Off Every Week
This one is going to be the most important for me. Being a student, it often feels like if you’re not working 24/7 at unusual hours, you’re not doing enough. I don’t know where this attitude has come from but it’s well and truly embedded in student culture, at least at my University, and is upheld by most students. But as December came around last year and I felt not only physically and mentally exhausted but completely drained and bored by my work, I realised that this culture of overworking is not only harmful to my mental health, but also to my studies and the quality of my work.
I was literally counting down the days until the Christmas break because I was so desperate to just not think about work for a period of time. But as the Christmas break came to an end (it only really lasted about a week because I have January essays and exams) a feeling of complete dread came over me, and I was becoming so anxious and feeling really down about the thought of starting work again.
So I started thinking about my options. Dropping out of Uni? Doing barely any work and scraping a pass? Working myself to death and feeling miserable? None of these options seemed like they would have positive effects. And then I realised, what about if I take a day off every week? I wasn’t really sure if it was possible because of my workload. But I’ve thought about it and put some plans into place and realised, not only is it possible, but it’s going to be so positive for me, my social life, my mental health and (I hope) the quality of my University work.
I am still going to be doing blogging related ‘work’ on my day off, which is going to be on a Sunday, because, firstly, I don’t really have time to do it during the week very much and, secondly, because blogging doesn’t really feel like work to me. But my university work is going to be restricted to Monday-Saturday, no exceptions. My next habit will explain how this is going to be possible…
2. Get Into A Working Routine
As mentioned, student culture tells you that if you’re not staying up all night to work, you’re not really doing enough. But I’ve come to realise that this is only true for people who don’t wake up until the afternoon or would rather abandon their work for 3 weeks and, instead, pull a couple of all nighters and get it done then.
But, personally, I’m happy to get up at a normal time (pre-7am is kind of impossible but waking up at 7:30/8 feels completely fine for me). I also generally feel quite anxious in the evenings, so this really isn’t the best time for me to be trying to complete important work. I actually feel my best, and therefore do my best work, in the day time.
So I’ve decided that from Monday-Friday, my work hours will, mostly, be restricted to 10-6. I’ve gone with 10am because that’s when my University day usually starts (i.e. this is when most of my lectures and seminars start) and 6pm because an 8 hour working day feels like a good amount.
My working routine prior to 2019 was kind of similar to this, but some Wednesday afternoons, for example, I would decide to have a nap or go shopping, which would mean working into Wednesday night and feeling utterly exhausted the next day. Or sometimes it would just mean falling behind on my work which would mean I didn’t have a day off in months (Uni work can catch up on you very quickly). I don’t think I’ll be able to stick to this routine 100% but I think I can stick to it for about 90% of the time, which is enough.
So I’m hoping to be able to stick to this routine and, in doing so, I should be able to get enough work done during the week that I can always have my Sundays to myself. Oh, and on Saturday’s I want to do about 5 hours work, giving myself an extra 3 hours to sleep or socialise. It’s probably going to be an 11-4 working day or something like that, we’ll see!
3. Get Out In Nature At Least Once A Week
I am lucky enough, when I’m home from Uni, to have a beautiful beach literally on my doorstep, as you can see from these photos. But I just don’t make the most of it enough! Every time I visit, I vow to go more often as it’s so relaxing and refreshing to be by the sea. But I always forget or let life get on top of me. So this year I’d really like to get out in nature and head to the beach (or wherever else I fancy in the great outdoors) at least once a week, probably on my day off.
Whether it’s on my own or with my family, friends or boyfriend, I think it will be really beneficial for my mental health. I also think it will benefit me creatively, as I always feel super inspired after getting out in nature!
4. Exercise At Least Three Times A Week
On top of my weekly walk in nature, I’d also like to exercise at least three times a week. I started going to the gym (after a 2 year hiatus) in October, when I was going through a bit of a shit time with my mental health, as I was hoping it would help relieve some stress and clear my head. And it did! It really made me feel better and ‘lighter’. So this year I’d like to commit to exercising three times a week, at least.
It’s an easy habit to fall out of but as long as I’m paying for a gym membership, I generally feel motivated to go as it’s something I can’t really afford so if I am going to be paying for it every month, I feel the need to make the most of it.
I’m also doing Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge this month, which, as the name suggests, means I will be doing yoga every day for 30 days. I’ve attempted this challenge every year for the last few years now, and have completed it a couple of times. It’s difficult both physically and mentally but it also has SO many benefits. Hopefully there will be a blog post on my experience with it when (if) I finish it!
5. Write More For The Love of Writing
I spend A LOT of my time writing, from blog posts to essays to Instagram captions. But I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing for myself, that is writing that is limited to my eyes only. Journalling is something I’ve tried and given up on, and tried and given up on a whole lot over the years and I’m still not really sure how I feel about it. But I’d really just like to pick up a pen and write about my surroundings, my feelings, my day or anything else I fancy more often as it is something I enjoy and I feel as though writing when you know no one else is going to see the words on the page is a really relaxing and freeing experience.
So there we have it! The habits I want to introduce to my life in 2019. Maybe I’ll do an ‘update’ blog post on how they’re all going in 6 months time, and then one at the end of the year? Maybe not though, if they’ve all gone to shit…
But I’m optimistic! I know that implementing all of these habits will have a really positive effect on my life, so hopefully my perfectionist mindset won’t get in the way of them. I’d love to hear about your New Years Resolutions, especially if any of them are centred around self-care, in the comments or over on my social media! Do also let me know if any of you’re thinking of introducing any similar habits into your life as well!
Oh, and FYI, blog posts at Words By Alice are going to be weekly from now on. There might be an extra post every now and then but as a general rule, there will be one new blog post a week every Sunday. So I’ll see you back here next Sunday!