New Year’s Eve
Despite the difficulties of 2020 the nation has come together like never before, shown by the support given to the NHS, and there are several things we can learn from the year and take with us into 2021 this New Year’s Eve.
2020 has been a challenging year for many. It will be a year that goes down in history, from starting the year with Bushfires in Australia, to a global pandemic that stretched most of the year. Understandably, this has been a stressful year for many, affecting not only people’s physical health but also their mental health. Stress can contribute to physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, as well as having an effect on our gastrointestinal systems and digestion.1-4 Stress can also contribute to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia.5-7 here are a couple of lessons to be mindful of in 2021.
Focus on the things you can control.
The problems faced in 2020 were too large for any individual to solve, yet many of us felt the weight of these problems on our own shoulders. Try to separate out the things that you can and the things that you cannot control. Take small steps to overcome the problems that are within your own control, whilst forgetting the issues that are outside your power.
Being present, practice mindfulness.
With everything that has taken place in the past year it’s good to take a step back, and focus on the here and the now, specifically focusing on the positive things that are happening around you. Although it’s important to stay up to date with current affairs, the mainstream media can frequently become an overwhelming space. During your day take some time to concentrate on the things you are appreciative of, such as your own (and your family’s) health, shelter, and food in the fridge.
There is nothing wrong with planning ahead and wanting to be organised, but if 2020 has taught us anything it is that you never know what is going to happen! We could all do with living in the moment a little bit more, and letting future worries affect us a little bit less.
A Fresh Start
The New Year can feel like a great time for a fresh start, however it’s important to try not to get caught up in setting unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, putting unneeded stress and pressure on yourself. We all know about the January gym rush and ‘new year, new me’ social media posts, and although there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself, there is equally nothing wrong with the current version of yourself. When coming up with New Year’s resolutions or year-long goals try to make them SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Only you can assess if goals are achievable and relevant to you, so take your time to reflect on what you would like to improve upon. Some resolutions to consider may be:
- Going for a walk every day.
- Cooking a number of meals from scratch each week. (Don’t forget our recipes! )
- Eating more fruit and vegetables, and adding more fibre to your diet.
- Taking at least one day a week to focus on yourself.
- Setting yourself a weekly or monthly budget, or creating a savings target.
Happy New Year!
Whatever you take-away from 2020, and whichever way you decide to celebrate the New Year, we wish you, and your gut, a stress-free 2021.
Happy New Year!
- Medical News Today. (2018) Available from : https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323324#health-consequences
- Yaribeygi et al. (2017). EXCLI J 16: 1057-1072. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480
- (2000) Gut 47(6): 861-869. doi: 10.1136/gut.47.6.861
- (2019) Available from : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/five-lifestyle-tips-for-a-healthy-tummy/
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2019) Available from : https://www.nimh.nih.gov/hmealth/publications/stress/index.shtml
- Schneiderman et al. (2005) 1:607-628 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/
- Han et al. (2012) Exp Neurobiol 21(4):141-150 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538178/