By doing one small, positive thing every day you could transform your sense of wellbeing in two weeks – without using up your hols!
A holiday for your head!
DAY 1 HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA FAST
The way that people present themselves online is distorted, but it’s easy to forget this and allow the information we see to impact our thoughts and mood, leaving us feeling de-motivated about our own lives. So take two weeks off from checking Facebook or Twitter – you’ll be surprised how much you don’t miss it. Instead, enjoy your privacy and focus on what’s going on in your own life.
DAY 2 GO SOLO
Time alone allows you to recharge and set personal goals, away from the influence of others. Give yourself at least half an hour of alone time a day starting from today; try waking up early so that you can enjoy a quiet morning to yourself.
DAY 3 GIVE A HUG
Hugging can lower your risk of heart disease, boost your immune system and combat stress and depression. It generates feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, which produce feelings of happiness and bonding. Awww…
DAY 4 FORGIVE SOMEONE
Studies show that the act of forgiving reduces anger, hostility, depression and anxiety. So write a letter of forgiveness to someone you’ve had bad feelings towards. You don’t even have to send it.
DAY 5 FLEX AND STRETCH YOUR SHOULDERS
This stretch can improve posture and reduce muscle tension. Stand a little away from a wall. Place your hands on it and walk your feet away until your arms and back are straight. Press your armpits towards the floor to feel a flexing in your shoulders. Release and repeat a few times.
DAY 6 MAKE YOUR DESK A TEMPLE
According to a Princeton University study, a cluttered desk mentally exhausts you by restricting your ability to focus and process information. So treat your desk like a temple and clean it up today.
DAY 7 RELISH THE MOMENT
Do you ever feel that there are fewer hours in the day than there used to be? You might be wondering whether it’s possible to slow down. It is, through the process of savouring. Try this exercise: Take a raisin. Look at it carefully.
Smell it, filling you with expectations of the taste. Put the raisin in your mouth and feel it with your tongue. Now chew carefully: notice how the taste spreads in your mouth. Observe how you feel and decide when you’re ready to swallow. All of the sun’s energy and nutrients collected in that little raisin are now in you.
DAY 8 GET TO A GALLERY
Even a trip of 40 minutes can significantly reduce the level of stress in the body. In one study, participants reported a 45% reduction in their perceived stress levels and they had a 32% drop in cortisol levels.
DAY 9 TREAT YOUR FEET
Your feet carry the weight of your body around all day. Pamper them with this natural treatment. Put 1tbsp brown sugar, 2tbsps oats and 8 large, shredded mint leaves into a bowl and mix. Add 2tsps lemon juice, 2tsps almond oil and 2tbsps aloe vera gel and blend together until the mixture forms a thick paste. After a bath, massage the paste all over your feet. Rinse with warm water, pat feet dry and moisturise.
DAY 10 THINK OF OTHERS
A study conducted in 2003 found that, out of 1,000 interviewees, those who prayed for other people had less stress and better wellbeing than those who prayed for material possessions. Set aside a small amount of time today to think about others and silently wish them well.
DAY 11 FEED YOUR HAIR
Pumpkin seeds add shine to your hair. They’re also a good source of iron, which supplies oxygen to the roots and makes hair grow faster.
DAY 12 PERFORM A GOOD DEED
It not only instantly boosts your mood but also leads to long-lasting happiness. Why? Researchers suggest that acts of kindness make us feel optimistic. Studies show that good deeds have more of an impact on your wellbeing if you do a variety of different things. So it could be buying someone a coffee today and surprising a friend with a gift tomorrow.
DAY 13 BE MINDFUL
Habits tend to occur unconsciously – we repeat them without thought because it’s what we’ve always done. Take a few minutes today to think about your existing habits and how they affect your physical and mental health. Give yourself credit for the good ones and then list some new habits that could replace the others.
DAY 14 MAKE A MORNING JUICE TREAT
Juice 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 carrot, 1 stick of celery, 1 kiwi fruit, 6mm ginger root. Leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill or just add ice. Each glass contains more than your day’s requirements of vitamins A, B, C and E.