1. Practice Gratitude
It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day drama and stress and worry about every little thing that goes wrong that we forget to appreciate everything going right. Practice thankfulness by waking up and setting a small intention for the day. A simple “I’m grateful for this warm bed” or “I’m thankful for the chance to go to work” can set your whole mindset for the day. You can also keep count of your blessings by starting a gratitude tracker – simply write down events, people, stuff you’re thankful for! You can write down things as you think of them or as they happen, or take some time daily or weekly to write down the great things that’s happened to you in the past day or week.
2. Make Time For Yourself Every Week
Even the busiest person needs their time to unwind. Dedicate a day, an afternoon, an hour – whatever time you can flesh out for yourself – and do whatever you want to do. Cherish the alone time, unplug from your phone and laptop, take a break from the news and the need to check up on everyone else. Enjoy the silence and rare time with your own thoughts, without needing to answer to anyone else.
3. Dream and Plan
It may be cliché but there’s something about a new year and a new month that feels like a fresh slate. This is your time to dream up of new things you want to do, and plan out how you’re getting there. Don’t be afraid to dream big, we only have one life to live so why not just go for it? The time will pass anyway, and you never know where one step will take you. No matter how hopeless a situation may feel, the most determined captain can turn the ship around. Once you brainstorm some big dreams, plan out the steps you need to take to get there. Break down each step into smaller actions and get to work.
4. Exercise Mindfulness
Happiness comes from not living in the past or the future – but fully experiencing the present. How many times can you remember getting home, without even remembering driving yourself there? We are so distracted by our thoughts, social media, news stories, other people, etcetera etcetera…that we often lose sight of what’s happening right in front of us. Practice being mindful and paying full attention to the situation you are in. How do you feel, what do you hear, what does it smell like? Use all 5 senses and fully immerse yourself in your current surroundings. Walk mindfully, drink tea mindfully, brush your teeth mindfully – any small task can be done with careful attention and every action can be its own form of meditation and bring peace.
Not all of us can afford to travel, but if we can’t fly we can take the car and if we can’t drive we can walk. Exploring the world around you doesn’t require big spending, it can start in your own town and finding small joys and unexpected discoveries in your own backyard. If you’ve been feeling like you’re stuck in a routine, or stuck in one place, think of ways to sightsee in the next town over. Brainstorm “stay-cation” ideas such as free museum days, beach or park visits, and long walks in downtown cities. There’s a big, wide beautiful world out there…and for those that want it, it’s out there.