How to start the New Year refreshed & ready

The end of the year is slowly creeping up on us. You can’t seem to get everything done quickly enough. Yet, you know that after a whirlwind of festivities and summer holidays, you might not be fully ready for the new year.

We’re here to help! Here’s how to restore your body and mind during the holiday season.

1. Postpone big projects

If you had big plans to redecorate, or finish mountain of admin, it’s time to accept that the holiday season may not be the best time for these big projects. Schedule this for January and ease into the end of the year.

2. Consider a “staycation”

Don’t be bleak if your budget doesn’t stretch to a beach holiday this year. Use this time to relax and unwind, without the stress of traveling. You may just find some amazing activities right in your hometown, and – unless you live in a popular holiday destination – the shops are quieter, traffic is a breeze, and you can wake up at any time of the day and laze around without deadlines. Use this time to explore new places around your city, browse those markets you’ve wanted to check out the whole year, or finally go for a hike. Your home could be your best vacation yet.

3. Do a life audit

Reflect on the past year. Look at the goals you’ve achieved, think back to happy moments and reflect on things you could have done differently. This will give you some energy for the year ahead.

4. Stick to your budget

Many of us go into January knee-deep in debt and spend the whole month waiting for payday. Draw up a budget for the holidays, and do your best to stick to it! Unplanned coffee dates and outings can quickly add up to a ridiculous amount and swiping your credit card can pile on debt.

5. Get enough rest

You might be tempted to fill in your leave days with loads of activities and outings. This is fine, but make time to rest. Enjoy unhurried days of doing little, or just nap on a lazy summer afternoon. You’ve worked the whole year for this bit of rest.

6. Don’t be afraid to get professional help

If the past year has been overwhelming, don’t overlook the value of seeing a psychologist or counsellor to talk things out. You don’t have to be depressed, or mentally ill to benefit- they can give you valuable tips on stress management for the year ahead.

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7. Give a little

The holiday season may often feel materialistic. Now is the perfect time to give back. Offer your services as a volunteer for a community project, or collect unused clothes or home items to donate to an organisation in your area.

8. Get a head-start on work

We’re not saying you should start tackling all your work right this moment. But there are some things you can do to ensure that you come back to a fresh start. Tidy up your desk, get rid of clutter, answer urgent emails and tie up loose ends before you leave for the holiday. Make a quick to-do list then prioritise the important jobs for when you get back. That way, you won’t feel aimless or overwhelmed when you get back.

9. Be good to YOU

You might feel obligated to spend as much energy as possible entertaining your children, spending time with your partner or tending to visiting family members. But to ensure that you enter 2018 feeling refreshed, it’s important to create some self-care rituals too. Pamper yourself with a face mask or a manicure, listen to your favourite music, steal some time to read a book and don’t feel guilty if you want to zone out.

10. Let go of grudges

Whether you have unresolved issues with a family member or still feel angry about something unfair, now is the time to let it go. Holding on to grudges will only continue a vicious cycle of negative feelings, which will hold you back from growth during the new year.

11. Laugh from your belly

Whether you’re howling at the antics of your children or pets, or indulging in a marathon watch of your favourite comedy, don’t forget to laugh. Laughter eases stress and is excellent for blood pressure, studies have proven.

12. Hide that laptop

You will never truly switch off if you don’t literally… well… switch off. Don’t talk or think about work and don’t peek at your inbox. You’re on leave, after all!

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