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Ditch The Resolutions – Make Positive Changes!

Lots of us make resolutions in January, usually lifestyle changes to try and become healthier or happier. Positive changes can make you feel good, but if you’re already struggling, resolutions that are hard to keep can make you feel like a failure. Do what feels right for you and avoid putting pressure on yourself.  

This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

Making positive changes can be done at any time of the year; it doesn’t have to be a new year’s resolution thing! If you feel that things aren’t going great for you, deciding to change something can positively affect your life. If you slip, don’t give up. Remind yourself why you wanted to do these things in the first place and get back to it. But, if the change you made isn’t right for you, and it’s making you miserable, don’t be afraid to ditch it and try something else instead. Here are some ideas from Meic about things you can do to help your body and mind this year. 

Cartoon girl with purple hair and black jumpsuit singing into mic for Make Positive Changes article

Change what you eat? 

Many people try things like fad diets or Veganuary in the new year, usually to try and lose weight after feeling they’ve overdone it at Christmas. But, just because everyone around you is turning vegan or drinking slimming shakes in January doesn’t mean you have to do it too. You can still make changes by following a healthy diet and eating the foods you enjoy now. Make choices that are right for you. 

The NHS recommend cutting down on red meat. While meat can be high in protein and vitamins, it can also be high in saturated fat, which isn’t great for your body if you eat too much. Small changes can benefit your health. You could choose less fatty meat, not adding oil and grill, rather than fry. What about adding more vegetables to your meal and perhaps having some meat-free days where you choose fish or vegetarian/vegan alternatives instead? Take a look at the Eatwell Guide, which has lots of advice about following a healthier diet. 

Make sure you’re drinking enough too. Drinking 6-8 cups of water a day (add sugar-free squash if you want to) and eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day is good for you. 

Cutting down on alcohol? 

Some people drink alcohol because it’s social; it can make them feel relaxed and more confident. Some people drink too much and find it difficult to stop. Many people don’t drink at all and still have fun. We’re not here to nag at you that drinking alcohol is bad; we just want you to be aware of the dangers of drinking too much.  

Drinking too much can be bad for your health. Take it slowly and drink water in between drinks. Drinking heavily over some time can lead to longer-term health issues like liver disease as well as poor mental health. Take this self-assessment quiz on the drinkaware website to see if you might be drinking too much.  

It can be harder to see dangers when you’ve drunk too much alcohol. Stick with your friends, and avoid putting yourself in situations where you’re alone or with people you don’t really know well. Tell your friends to look out for you, and look out for your friends too. 

Don’t drink to get rid of negative feelings. If you’re sad, it’s likely to make you more miserable; if you’re angry, it can make you angrier. Speak to someone if you’re have negative thoughts or feelings, avoid using alcohol or drugs to try and reduce these feelings. Papering over the cracks doesn’t work; you need to address your problems to start feeling better about them. 

If you feel that alcohol is becoming a problem and want to talk to someone about it, contact us at the Meic helpline, and we can find the right help for you. Contact details are below.  NHS Wales has alcohol information and guidance on their website including links to further support.

Cartoon girl with black hair in ponytail and white vest, wearing boxing gloves in a punching stance for Make Positive Changes article

Exercise YOUR way 

Exercising is a great way to keep healthy and make yourself feel better. Exercising releases a chemical called endorphins into your body. This is a feel-good chemical that can help to improve mood and reduce depression. You might find you get a better nights sleep too. 

You can follow lots of free exercise routines on YouTube, but if the weather is good, exercising outside has added benefits. Fresh air and nature are great for your physical and mental health. You don’t have to be a fitness freak to get some exercise and fresh air. Go for a run if you like, but you could go for a walk, have a kick about, ride your bike/scooter/skateboard (or any other wheels!), practice some yoga or play in the park. 

There are plenty of exercises you can do that don’t have to feel like a chore. Try something else if you feel like a particular activity isn’t working for you. 

Cartoon person wearing beret with black trousers, white top with green pattern and purple apron sat in front of easel holding a brush ready to paint for Make Positive Changes article

Make time for yourself 

When life is busy, it can be hard to think about yourself. Self-care is important. Make time for yourself and do things that make you feel good. Doing something just for you is really important for your mental health. Here are some ideas: 

  • Paint your nails 
  • Get out into nature  
  • Dance  
  • Set goals 
  • Reconnect with an old friend 
  • Watch a film 
  • List the things you like about yourself 
  • Sleep 
  • Craft 
  • Have a clear out
  • Breathing exercises 
  • Listen to music 
  • Read a book 
  • Write a poem 
  • Take a bath
  • Buy something nice  
Cartoon person sat on floor with short black curly hair wearing a orange and white striped t-shirt and blue trousers. Holding an open book and reading for Make Positive Changes article

Talking is good 

Bottling things up and not speaking to someone about the things that worry you usually make things feel worse. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is really true! Sharing something with someone else can take some of that worry away. Just saying it out loud can feel like a weight off your shoulders, but telling someone can also get you the help you need to make positive changes in your life. If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with someone about the things worrying you, check out our tips in this blog. 

If you feel that you can’t talk to anybody, then the Meic helpline is here for you every single day. You might find it easier to talk to someone you don’t know. We won’t know who you are or where you live. We’re here to listen and offer free and confidential information, advice and advocacy between 8am and midnight every day. So if you have a problem, you can always lean on us for support. Call, text or chat with us online. 

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