“December is the month to finish what you started.”
When it comes to wellness, January gets all the love.
Everyone looks at the start of the new year as the time to set goals and resolutions, make a fresh start, and finally get around to doing what they’ve been slacking on the previous 11 months.
But December is, as this blog’s kickoff quote notes, a time for goals and hard work, too – a time to finish what you started.
Get Ahead of New Year’s Resolutions
Whether you set a New Year’s Resolution or a goal mid-way through the year to do something to better yourself, now is as good a time as any to make good on it.
As I write this, it’s December 1. That means, after today, there are 30 days left in the month. That means 30 days left to do something or several things that are good for you.
Not every workout, healthy eating tip, or wellness habit is right for everyone. My goals are different than yours. That’s why I’m sharing 30 simple wellness ideas for the 30 days left in December. They’re broad enough to suit most and simple enough anyone can try a new one each day – or, hopefully, make one a regular habit that’ll stick well into 2020.
And for those who read this today, December 1, I included a special, bonus task to bring the total to 31, one for each day in December. Have a great month, friends – and stay happy, healthy, grateful, and well.
1. Drink Water
There are no downsides to drinking lots of water – and it’s free and easy, so there’s no reason not to do it. If you need help, here are three ways to drink more water.
Similar to drinking lots of water, there are few downsides to walking – and it’s free and easy, so there’s no reason not to do it (unless physical issues prevent it).
And I’m not talking social media. I’m talking something real and tangible with a positive message, one that expands your thinking, or one that teaches you something of value.
4. Give a Compliment
Recognizing someone else may brighten their day more than yours but it’s a win-win when you’re intentionally looking for positives.
5. Food Prep
Whether hard boiling a dozen eggs, cutting up fruits and veggies so they’re easy to grab, or preparing healthy, well-balanced meals for the week, dedicating time to food prep is an investment that’ll pay back big return. Need help to get started? Here are quick, easy food prep ideas.
I know why many people struggle with this one – not enough hours in the day, right? I’m here to tell you that, however you need to re-prioritize your time to get those 7ish hours, figure it out. It’s a big deal.
(exception: parents of newborns and small children, I see you, I feel for you, I’ve been you – opportunity to prioritize sleep will come.)
If you’re not a new parent, you’re making time for other healthy habits, and you’re not consuming alcohol, yet still struggling to sleep, perhaps the next tip will provide some help…
Netflix, social media, notifications, emails – all necessary in our modern world but also can be huge, pointless time sucks that, late at night, stimulate the brain and interfere with sleep. Furthermore, specific to notifications on your phone, you don’t have to have them. So try this wellness tip and realize the benefits of disabling notifications on your phone.
8. Get Fresh Air
Oh, the irony of this in December, I know. It’s cold, there’s snow, and it’s pretty much dark all the time. All the more reason to get outside and soak in the simplicity of nature. Unless it’s frigidly cold, windy, or the snow drifts are blocking your door, make time to get outside for fresh air every day.
9. So Much Stuff
Chances are, you have too much stuff. And a ton of it is stuff you don’t need. Clutter can raise anxiety and have a negative impact on wellness so try to adopt the “less is more” mentality and rid your life of excess stuff. Consider donating it for the added wellness bonus that comes from giving back.
There’s something about writing every day that I believe is good for the mind and soul. Whether a simple, daily note or full journaling effort, try writing for better wellness.
11. Be Grateful
Speaking of writing, this is one idea to begin the effort – something for which you’re grateful. Gratitude is another practice that comes with proven health benefits, so take time for intentional showings of gratitude every day.
12. Get a Coffee
A little caffeine is good – plus, if you get it with a friend, you get the added health of connection.
The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” exists for a reason. Both short-term and long-term benefits come from laughing. If you need a good laugh, might I suggest the episode where Ricky Gervais dances in the British edition of The Office or the airplane scene from the movie, Bridesmaids.
14. Move Intentionally
Park far away. Take the stairs. Get up and talk to your coworkers. Move your body more, intentionally, and it does add up a little bit. Here’s a recent blog of mine that talks more about the idea of moving intentionally and moving more for better health.
15. Listen to Music
Whether hard rock, folk, pop, or country, virtually any type of music can have uplifting benefits, motivate through a tough workout, or boost productivity with mundane tasks.
Yoga is an amazing way to start the day, a quick mid-day stretch helps re-energize and refocus the mind, and a little evening wind down could help with calming the mind and lead to better sleep. Any time of day, for a minute or several, give the body a good stretch.
17. Say No
Setting boundaries and better prioritize time by saying “no” occasionally is healthy. I’m also going to go all Nancy Reagan on you and put this out there for drugs, alcohol, and smoking. None of them are good for you and they affect the health and wellness of those around you, too. So just say no.
18. Talk to Someone
Texting, emails, DMs – none of them replace good old face-to-face conversation. Talking with a friend or family member and having connection brings big benefits.
19. Run a Minute
Just one minute. That’s all. And if it feels good, do it for one more minute…and maybe another.
20. Give Grace
Everyone messes up. Everyone has bad days. And, most of the time, people don’t have outright bad intentions with their actions. Whether a coworker pissed you off or your child throws a tantrum, give them a little grace and you’ll feel better, too.
21. Say Thank You
More than just in a way to show gratitude, thank you can be better swapped for one overused phrase. We have a tendency to say, “I’m sorry,” too much; often for things we have no reason to be sorry. Instead of the default response, try instead thanking someone. Instead of, “I’m sorry I was late,” try, “Thank you for being patient.”
22. Be On Time
Piggybacking on that last one, being late leads to anxiety and stress – unless you’re one of those people who runs on their own schedule and doesn’t give AF about others’ time. So, assuming you do care, take time to plan ahead better, allow more time, and be intentional so you’re on time rather than frantically running late.
Would you believe there are health benefits to smiling? It’s true, from releasing endorphins to lowering blood pressure, the simple act of smiling more is an easy way to be well.
24. Lift Weights
Strong bodies bring a ton of health benefits – and for those who fear muscle bulk, it’s not going to happen. People who have big muscles work incredibly hard for that, in the gym and in the kitchen. No one’s getting big muscles with a day or two of weight lifting so give it a go.
25. Slow Down
Step back, take a breath, refocus energy, or simply just be for a few moments. Sometimes, slowing down is actually a strategy for productivity and getting more done. And, in my case, this advice can and should extend to driving…
26. Be Inclusive
Connections matter. And there’s also benefits that come from making others feel good. Including others feeds positivity, while excluding breeds negativity. Be the reason someone doesn’t feel left out or like they don’t belong, and it’ll make you feel better, too.
This also extends to eating – here’s why to include lots of food in your daily diet.
27. Try Something New
Going outside the comfort zone is how we grow, experience new thrills, and do great things. Sometimes, going out on a limb might bring failure – and, remember, it’s okay to fail. Permission to fail is granted, just learn from it.
28. Pet a Dog
I get it, not everyone loves dogs. Actually, I don’t get it. Dogs are the best. Petting dogs is a wonderful, happy act. And it’s good for health. Trust me, I Googled it 🙂
29. Be Kind
Whether to someone else or yourself, kindness brings wellness. Again, be the source of positivity and uplifting to others, not negativity and bringing down others.
With so many actions to take and things to do, remember that not doing something is one of the best ways to wellness. Whether planning to take a rest day from working out or simply taking time to relax instead of clean the house, run the errand, cook the meal, etc., rest does wonders for the body and mind.
And for those who want to spend all 31 days of the month working towards wellness, I have one more bonus idea for you:
31. Eat a Reese’s
I mean, if eating Reese’s doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will. Preferably, the holiday Christmas tree Reese’s because they’re just better than any other type – but any Reese’s will do.
I wish you a great December!
What other simple wellness tips can you add to the list, for the next 30 days? The comments are your space to share thoughts or ask questions so please do so.