How to reclaim more of what's usually mundane.
January, bleak as it may be, is the perfect time to cement new habits in your daily grind, and while lots of people use the fresh start to get back into the gym or eat more healthily, we're making a case for upgrading your days by reclaiming small tasks that bring joy and boost wellbeing in the long run.
Ikea had it right when they celebrated 'the wonderful everyday', so in that spirit, we've thought hard about practical ways to spin your regular routine on its head and make this year (and hopefully, all those that follow) immeasurably better.
And because change is terrifying – even if it's change for good – we've broken it in down into simple, daily rituals that, with persistence, will guarantee to lift spirits.
Try this 7-day guide and to make your 'everyday' as enjoyable as possible...
Reclaim Your Bedtime
Tough as the temptation might be to treat your Instagram feed as the millennial equivalent of a bedtime story, trawling through your phone until your eyelids get too heavy to resist isn't the best way to send yourself to sleep.
Instead, transform your nights by making the process of 'going to bed' a ritual you take pleasure in. Wind down naturally by completing your skincare routine, reading a couple of pages of the book that's been lurking by your bedside now for an aeon and misting your pillow with your favourite lavender sleep spray. Going to bed around the same time every night and mentally easing yourself into slumber will result in a much better quality of sleep and we promise, you won't miss anything on the 'Gram that won't be there in the morning either.
Start With Citrus
As the saying goes 'a good start is half the battle' and while we're not certain a glass of lemon water each morning will undue the rest of the day's dietary slipups, it definitely won't hurt. Get evangelical about beginning your day with warm water and lemon juice (not hot - it can damage enamel on teeth) and expect to reap bodily rewards such as skin clarity and better gut health.
Make a conscious effort to keep up the hydration levels throughout the day too! We're big fans of filling a large (2.5 litres or more) reusable bottle at the start of the day and challenging ourselves to finish it before we go home from work.
Do A Social Media Detox
No, hear us out. We're not suggesting an entire day/week away from your phone (although kudos to you if that's something you're willing/able to do). Instead, we mean it in more of a spring clean sort of way. Set aside some time to do the following and make your social media experience a wholly pleasant one...
- Delete any unnecessary apps.
- Mute social media notifications.
- Reassess any apps you might pay for and make sure to cancel the subscriptions if not used enough.
- Unfollow any accounts you've grown uninterested in.
Brush, Brush Baby
Do your future summer self a favour by getting into the habit of engaging in a brisk body-brush, before you hit the shower a few times a week. Encourage circulation and lymphatic drainage by brushing towards the 'central' lymph nodes − in the groin, armpits and the base of your neck. Use sweeping circular motions to work your way up the legs, bottom, midriff − then from wrists to shoulders and across your chest but do be gentle – it's about stimulating skin, not shredding it.
Morning body-brushing will assimilate into your routine faster than you think, becoming second-nature. Plus, when the time comes to bare your limbs, you'll be ever so grateful.
Indulge In Pure, Unadulterated Joy
If you've started this guide on a Monday, Day 5 will fall on a Friday and you'll have earned some major relax and unwind time! For some, that might look like wine with friends, a steamy bath and a good book or a high-intensity workout, but whatever it is you choose to do on a Friday evening, make it something that fills you – and only you – with joy.
After a long week, park all thoughts of 9-to-5 admin and weekend To-Do lists and be certain to dedicate a few guilt-free hours to your own interests. You deserve, at least, that much.
We all know the benefits of exercise, but if the concept of working out is genuinely your worst nightmare, why not pitch it to yourself differently? Okay, you won't go fooling yourself into running a half-marathon but reframing 'exercise' in the context of just moving more is a great way to make it seem less daunting. Walking somewhere instead of taking the bus, opting for the stairs rather than the lift or being the person who's always willing to do activities at the weekend are all easy methods of sneaking in more activity into your life.
Meal-Prep Made Easy
We dread meal-prepping as much as the next sane person, but the effect it has in simplifying your week is undeniable. So, instead of putting it off and making the Sunday-dread all the more palpable, try getting it out of the way first thing. Choose a recipe you fancy eating for a day or three consecutively and whip it up while letting your hair air dry or listening to a fun podcast.
We've found it the least painful time to go about batch-cooking and once it's done, and those lunchboxes are in the fridge where it belongs, you can rid your mind of all back-to-work fear and start your Sunday anew!
Main Image: @emmahoreau