With summer finally here, the long days and warm weather makes it easy for us to make those important life changes. And whether you decide to tackle all seven, or take it a step at a time, these steps below will leave you feeling refreshed, re-energized, and ready for the winter.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day mundanities, and forget to actually enjoy your life. So, it’s time to see if you can bring back a bit of sparkle to your days.
Find a job you love
This is much easier said than done. But, if you set your sights to it, you can get there. Firstly, decide if you’re happy in your current role. If you are – then brilliant. You’ve achieved something that few people can! If you’re not – then it’s time to make a change. Write a list of all your skills and of all the jobs you can think of that you’d enjoy doing. If you’ve got a decade of experience in accounting, but you want to be a zoo keeper, then you need to decide whether the pay cut and drop in seniority is worth it. If you can afford to start again – then do it!
But if you can’t? Then go back to the drawing board. This article has some great tips on how to match your skills to a job you’d love to do. You could also try seeking the help of recruitment consultants or career advisers.
And for those of us who dream of being novelists, actors, musicians or astronauts, it’s a case of making this your hobby. Write books and music in your spare time. Enrol on courses about the solar system. Join an amateur dramatics group. Play baseball for your local team. Campaign for a charity you’re passionate about. Because, even though you can’t do your dream job 9-5, if you can find a career that gives you the financial freedom to explore your passion, then it’s just as good.
Cut out people who make you unhappy
Ever make arrangements to see friends, and feel your stomach drop when you hear a certain individual is coming? Well, we’ve all been there. There are some people who enjoy making others feel bad. And whether they’re outright rude, or take a more underhand approach, it’s not healthy to have them in your life.
Maybe they’re jealous of your lifestyle. Maybe they resent the way you live. Or maybe they’re just mean. But either way, it’s time to cut them out. And boy, you’ll feel a million times better when you do. However, cutting someone out is hard. You need to be strong, and know that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
If you can’t trust someone, if you can’t rely on them, if you feel bad about yourself around them – then they don’t deserve to be in your life. Get an in-depth read on cutting out toxic people in this great article. Because once you understand what a toxic person is – and how to get rid of them – you’ll never look back.
De-clutter your life
That spring cleaning feeling is like no other. You feel clean, refreshed and ready to turn over a new page. But actually getting started? That’s a lot harder. When you look at a house full of clutter and rubbish, it’s easy to get put off.
So, make it easy for yourself. Break it down into manageable chunks, and don’t get daunted by having a huge task ahead of you. Start with the smallest, or easiest room. Maybe that’s the kitchen – it’s easy to be ruthless with food! Chuck out anything that’s gone off, or look at donating food you don’t eat to charities or food banks. Then go through your cupboards with the same method: use it? Keep it. Broken? Chuck it. Still useable, just not by you? Then either sell it, or donate it to charities or friends and family.
You can then work through your whole house. Clothes, DVDs, books – even furniture! Nothing is exempt here. You’ll soon find that once you’re in the right mentality, it’s quite easy to decide what you want to keep, and what can be rehomed. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, then place it in a certain part of your cupboard or wardrobe. If it’s still in the same place in six months – then off it goes!
Take control of your finances
This is a key one: money is the cause of nearly all our biggest stresses. But it doesn’t have to be; not if you manage your finances in the right way. If you’ve got outstanding debts, this could be a mountain to climb, rather than a hurdle to quickly leap. However, it’s never too late.
Start with small things. Keep a journal with all your outgoings and incomings. See what you’re spending money on – that can of soda might not seem expensive, but if you buy one every day for a month? Well, that’s quite a lot over a period of time. Once you’ve kept track of your finances for a couple of weeks, see if you can identify areas where you can cut down. This might be reducing your spend on shop-bought snacks and lunches – replace them with home-made sandwiches and salads instead.
You should also analyse your direct debits too. It’s easy to sign up for things, and never use them again. That gym membership? A subscription to a magazine you don’t read anymore? Get them cancelled.
Improve your diet
Everywhere you look, people are changing how they eat. Processed foods and ready meals are plummeting in popularity, and people are seeking out healthy, home-made meals and recipes. In fact, you can check out some of our tried and tested recipes here.
If you think you’re a bit of a sugar addict, and you’re struggling going cold turkey, then don’t set your expectations too high. Be reasonable and set yourself achievable goals. Instead of saying you’ll never eat another chocolate bar – have one three times a week, rather than every day. Start by adding more veggies to your plate, and snacking on fruit and nuts rather than sugary treats. When you’re buying your breads, rices and pastas, opt for wholegrain, rather than your normal choice.
However, it’s inevitable that you’re going to slip up from time to time. But it’s knowing that you can make a mistake and have a ‘cheat day’ – without giving up completely and reverting to old habits.
Try to make shopping lists and meal plans to help keep you on track. If there’s nothing to tempt you in the house, then it’s much easier!
Ramp up your daily exercise
Exercising is the fastest way to boost your mood and start feeling good about yourself. The release of endorphins is like nothing else – and you know it’s coming from a healthy source! If you don’t exercise at all, start with something easy, like going for a 30 minute walk every day. Make sure you’re walking at a pace that leaves you slightly breathless, else you won’t be getting the full effect.
Once your fitness starts to improve, you can look at trying other kinds of exercise. Maybe this is training for a 5k fun-run, working at out home with a video or app or joining a zumba class at your local sports center. Or, try something more adventurous. Horse riding, pole dancing and rock climbing are great for you physically – and mentally. Explore what’s on offer in your local area, and start getting out and about.
Fall in love, again
Now, this doesn’t mean go off and have an affair! It means falling in love again – in love with your partner, your family, your town, your hobbies. It means bringing back those butterflies and putting that spring back in your step. Remember what made you and your partner fall in love in the first place, and recreate those moments. Was it singing wildly together at music concerts? Hiking up mountains? Cheering on your local sports team? Find it – and do it.