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  • Brianna Giarraputo

Healthier Habits for the Year Ahead

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

1. Tune off to Tune in

Most smart phones have a feature that allows the user to track how many hours a day they spend on their devices. Last time I checked, my average time was a little under three hours. That is ridiculous! Granted some of that time included listening to music and spending time on my meditation app, but it is still excessive. And, this does not include the hours I spend on my laptop.

It is important to be present. Too often we have our heads down (usually looking at our phones) and fail to see the world and environment around us. We forget the beauty of simple joys and miss out on important memories. One way to limit your phone time is by changing its settings. You can put time limits on individual apps and schedule “downtime” which is basically setting a bedtime for your phone. Once that time hits (for me it is from 10pm – 6am), all notifications are turned off (except for favorite contacts) and you are free from the chains of your phone.

Only take your phone out to make a call or take a photo of something worth remembering. And learn to rely on yourself and others more than you rely on your phone. Have a question? Use your brain or have a discussion with a friend instead of immediately asking Siri or Alexa. The more human interactions we encounter, the higher our happiness levels rise. Trust me – it’s science!

2. More Time for Self-Reflection

This year make some time for self-reflection. You cannot track your successes or figure out you faults without reflecting on them. Self-reflection helps with our patience. It prevents us from getting frustrated with ourselves and teaches us to think before we act or speak. Reflecting come in many forms. You can keep a daily or weekly journal to write about your progress and struggles. You can take up meditation or yoga. There are so many ways to integrate self-reflection into your 2020 routine, so go ahead and get started!

3. A Me First Mentality when it comes to mental health

Over the past year, I started writing “me first” in capital letters across the inside of my right wrist. I noticed that I only wrote it after getting stabbed in the back or let down by a friend. It’s important to put yourself first sometimes. If that person does not bring you joy, then discard them like Marie Kondo wrote about in her best-selling novel, “Tidying Up.” You must propel yourself forward and with the right friends and support group, not only will you succeed, but you will help the ones around you (who deserve your love) succeed as well. Putting yourself first is not selfish, so flush that notion down the garbage disposal.

4. Millionaire Methodology

I came up with this thing called the Millionaire Method this past month. I asked myself, “If I won the lottery, what would I do with my life.” My answer was something different from my current career path and was eye-opening. This simple exercise can help you figure out what you love and then take action. Write down whatever comes to mind, completely unfiltered, until you have nothing else to say. If your answer is not the career you have or are pursuing, that is totally normal. This exercise is a way to remind you of your hobbies and enjoyments.

Once written down, you can find ways to integrate these joys into your life in a reasonable and obtainable manner. If you wrote, “I would travel the world.” Start saving for a trip. If you wrote, “I would volunteer.” Start volunteering every month at your favorite charity. If you wrote, “I would be a stay-at-home mom.” Start spending more time with your kids and plan fun activities with them. Maybe even take a half-day on a Friday and plan a special day with them. Small repeated actions make for lasting changes in your lifestyle.

5. Prioritize

Prioritizing comes in many forms. Yes, we need to prioritize our tasks at work and homework assignments. But we also have to prioritize the things that matter to us. Prioritize spending time with your siblings or reconnecting with an old friend. Prioritize your health by setting aside time to exercise and research healthy recipes. Prioritizing is an effective way to get the boring stuff done and have time for fun activities. It helps us balance all aspects of our life and ultimately, leads to a happier and healthier you.

6. Stop Caring (let me explain)

I was driving a few days ago and came across a stop sign. Beneath the letters

S-T-O-P, someone graffitied the word “caring.” It made me laugh a little, but it also got me thinking. I do care too much about certain things. I care about how many likes I receive and get upset when people unfollow me on social platforms. I care about watching high school enemies through the lenses of social media and hope they turn ugly. I care if the boy behind me in class likes me or is just a jerk kicking the bottom of the chair. Stop caring so much! Spend less time on Instagram. Unfollow people who you dislike. Ask the boy out! Stop caring means being upfront with yourself and others. It means stop lying to yourself and be honest about the way you feel. Stop caring means start living freely and confidently.

7. JOMO not FOMO

This is one of my favorites which is why I saved it for last. I read on a fashion forecasting website about this new term JOMO: joy of missing out. Instead of having FOMO (fear of missing out), be happy about it! Do not dwell on jealousy when you see your friend's Snap Chat story of her at a party you weren’t invited to. Be joyful for the night in and the time to yourself. Be happy in the moment and make the best of any situation. Soon you’ll be scrolling through those stories and smiling not only because you are content with wherever you are, but you have also developed genuine happiness for that the person because she too living her best life.

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