We have had the crescendo of Christmas and new year, summer seems a long way off and the only countdown now is towards coursework deadlines and looming exams. Don’t despair yet! There’s something you can look forward to after all, a happier you. No, this is not quite the ‘new year, new me’ spiel. Rather it is a reminder that every day is the opportunity to enjoy life, doing the things that make you happy, regardless of what others think you ought to be focussing on.
For the majority, the time has come where the new year’s resolutions are out of the window, having either become a good joke or another thing getting us down, making us feel as though we ‘failed’. Ultimately any New Year’s resolution is about this relationship we as a society have with perfectionism. The question is whose idea of perfect are we trying to create? If your resolution was to go to the gym, the important aspect to focus on is, why? Was this prompted by a desire to promote your own health and wellbeing or seen as a solution to negative body image and feeling pressure that it is something you ought to do? I like to believe that imperfection is the real perfection, the desire to be continuously improving. The world changes constantly and so should we. Many students are constantly changing themselves, yet the issue is that these changes are often to gain approval from others rather than truly changing for themselves.
Do you remember when we were kids and we would be asked what we wanted to be when we grew up… what if the answer wasn’t about an ideal occupation but an ideal state of mind? Happiness is an under-valued new year’s resolution. Furthermore, the journey to happiness can start at any time, not just the 1st of January.
So you meant to go to the gym and now your home ordering Dominos instead. Don’t beat yourself up, evaluate what you really wanted out of the resolution and how that goal can still be achieved in a reasonable balance with the other things that are important in your life. OK, so you want to get fit? If it turns out you hate the gym, gather some friends for some games in the park. If the dreary weather is putting you off don’t underestimate the intensity of a competitive game of twister! Along with exercising, cuddling has also been proven to improve mental wellbeing, decrease stress levels and overall levels of happiness.
With 5th February being Time to Change day, there is no better time to focus on our individual wellbeing. Whether you struggle with mental health issues or not, it is important to schedule some ‘me’ time into our lives. Doing so enables us to be the happiest version of ourselves, making the most of every day.
Valentine’s Day is a tricky one, yet whether you embrace it or disdain it, it’s a reminder to show that you care. This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show yourself that you care about YOU!