Healthy habits to adopt in 2022
|Date:||08 January 2022|
It’s hard to believe it but 2022 is already here. With a new year come New Year’s resolutions and this year is no different. Are you planning to read more books or get into shape this year? It’s always good to take a moment and think about what you would like to accomplish in the new year. The past few years have been quite challenging for everyone (thanks to the virus that shall not be named), so make sure you take time to focus on you and your well-being in 2022. Today, we, your fellow UG students, share some healthy habits we will be adopting this year in the hopes that this gives you some ideas for changes you can make in your life.
Let’s get zennn (Avital)
Something that I really want to take some more time for this year is meditation. Whether it’s just a quick 10-minute meditation or a longer session that turns into a nap (honestly my favourite), meditating helps reset my brain and calm my anxiety.
Do you want to try meditation this year but no clue how or where to start? There are a bunch of guided meditation apps (I recommend Headspace and Calm), but also videos on YouTube and even sessions on Spotify. Of course, meditation is quite broad and everyone’s style is different, so I suggest trying different ones to find the right one for you. If you prefer a quiet meditation without someone talking to you, you could just roll out a yoga mat or sit on the floor, put on some calming music or sounds of rain or waves and try to guide your own thoughts towards something that will make you feel more at ease.
Knowing how to calm yourself when you’re stressed is really useful, especially once exam season rolls around. No matter how short your break is, if you really take a moment to redirect your thoughts, you’ll notice a difference afterwards.
Explore every corner of Groningen (Anna)
Especially with the new measures and the continuing COVID-19 situation, there are fewer reasons to leave your house. Besides grocery shopping (exciting) and the occasional meet-up with friends, I pretty much live at my desk nowadays. Even if you have the most amazing room ever, sometimes you just really need to go outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery. For this year, I’ve decided to set the resolution to really visit every part of Groningen. To visit every park, no matter how small it is, to take a walk to every district of the city. Our time studying at the UG is limited and I would like to leave knowing that I really got to know the city and everything it has to offer.
So invite a friend, grab a coffee to-go at your favourite café and just spend some time outside exploring the city. Feel like you need a moment for yourself? Just go on a solo walk, listen to your favourite podcast or playlist and get lost in the city for a few hours.
Read more (Sander)
This year, I’ve finally changed my daily behaviour and I now read ten pages of a book every day before going to bed. If you’re an avid reader, you might laugh at my idea but this works for me because I need to start small. Reading just ten pages doesn’t take a lot of time but still gives me the satisfaction of having read something each day. Once this becomes a habit and I notice that I have more time, I can easily increase my reading time or the amount of pages per day.
I am sure that some of you will recognise the problem of setting goals that are a little too high and unrealistic. For example, I wanted to work out five times a week, ridiculous idea right? Well let me tell you that it didn't work out (pun intended!). My advice to you is to think of achievable goals and to be honest with yourself. Small progress is still progress.
Less spending, more saving (Maja)
Besides returning to my morning yoga practices, I have decided to be more mindful about my money this year. Why? Well, I spend too much of it on unnecessary things such as ordering food while I have food at home or buying yet another piece of clothing from Vinted (yes, it’s an addiction). So this is why I have decided to think twice before making my purchases in 2022. My plan is to ask myself if I really need this thing and how much value will it bring to my life. Do I really need another sweater when I have 10 at home? Probably not.
Spending less is usually easier said than done, but shopping even just a little less each month will quickly add up and save you tens of euros. Do you have a bigger goal (like a holiday or a new laptop you need) that is now out of your budget? This way you’ll be able to save money for that goal and reach it a lot quicker that you think. Plus, having a goal in mind helps you put things in perspective. If you need some tips for saving money, check out Avital’s blog on this topic!
Unplug and go offline (Isaiah)
In light of the “unprecedented” times we are in, one of the healthy habits I am trying to focus on is taking the time to unplug myself from (social) media and the news. While it is good to stay up to date on current events and trends, it can be overwhelming at times. Taking the time to switch off from the constant stream of media, can help you destress and improve your mental health. There are various ways you can do this. One way is to decide to just check the news once a day and turn off all push notifications. Checking the news for a few minutes during your lunch break is already much better than seeing all the things going on in the world the moment you wake up or right before you go to sleep.
Stretch, don’t stress (Maria)
Considering that education is now back to being fully online, we are once again going to spend a lot of time in front of the computer. With this in mind, I am not looking forward to being a 20-year-old with lower back pain, so my New Year's resolution is to incorporate stretching more consistently into my daily routine. From my experience, one 10-minute stretching session in the morning can do so much for you. It energises you, relaxes and strengthens your muscles and it generally makes you feel better. A short stretch in the morning will already give you the satisfaction of having done something active to kickstart your day.
For me, stretching has an added benefit since I am an actively competing athlete. I can count on stretching to improve my mobility and flexibility, which is very important. In my discipline, pole vault, the risk of injuries is very high, and emphasising on stretching helps with injury prevention and recovery.
If you are like me, initially it might be hard to change your current routine and create new habits. One thing that helps with that is peer pressure (yep, I mean it!). I just call a friend and we do it together. It makes it so much more fun, and you can’t really procrastinate when someone is watching.
Create manageable tasks (Jessica)
This year I want to focus on creating a habit of always finishing one task first before moving on to the next one in order to work more effectively (yes, you were right, mum). Since studying or writing essays or a thesis often seems like a never-ending task, this requires subdivision into smaller tasks. Rather than setting the task of researching and writing an entire chapter in one library session, smaller chunks are a lot more likely to keep you productive. As much as I’d like the big goal to get finished as soon as possible, just seeing the amount of work is overwhelming and has the opposite effect. Examples of smaller tasks would be ‘read 15 pages’, ‘revise one lecture’ or ‘write 500 words’, and when you’re done you can switch to a different task or take a break without feeling like you’re falling behind. I’m probably not the only one who’s heard this a million times, but sometimes it takes a lot of attempts to create a habit so don’t give up if it’s difficult. Keep going and you’ll see that it gets easier after a few weeks!
If I’m honest, I have a tendency to get distracted easily and switch between tasks constantly, which is ultimately a form of procrastination. I’ll tell myself ‘I can’t focus right now anyway, let’s just look for jobs/check my work emails/do the laundry first’. By the time I sit back down to work on my thesis, it takes me extra time to remember where I was at and really get back into the swing of things. That’s why creating a realistic schedule with manageable tasks will be a good habit for me to adopt.
These were some of our suggestions for ways to make the new year better, take care of your physical and mental health and spend more time on yourself. Which of these habits will you implement? Do you have other suggestions? Share them with us in the comments!