2017 is coming to a close, and we hope you’ve had a memorable year for all the right reasons. Whether you’ve accomplished a little or a lot, 12 months is a long stretch, and you’re likely gunning for some downtime. But if you’re looking to do more than the old couch-slouch, boy do we have some suggestions for you!
1. Set goals
The coming of a new year is the perfect time to refresh and refocus, and to assess what’s truly important. Whatever your individual goals are for 2018, write them down and adopt a simple framework to help you achieve them, such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) logic.
Loved ones that move interstate or overseas can quickly feel forgotten – especially when we’re so distracted by what’s going on directly in front of us. If you can’t travel to meet family or friends face-to-face, book in some quality Skype time to reconnect with those who may have felt a little neglected during the year.
3. Express gratitude
For those in your life that you don’t exchange gifts with, you can still let them know you care by hand-writing a note or card. Need some inspiration? Read through a few thank-you card suggestions, or if you’re keen to keep things digital, Paperless Post have some awesome card designs and you can upload your own photos.
4. Be playful
If you don’t already spend too much time on social media, sharing happy snaps and videos through Facebook or Instagram can be a fun way to capture your adventures with friends and family. Play around with the coolest photo editing apps and video editing apps to digitise your experiences (and get a bit silly!)
5. Plan adventures
Whether you’re wanting to embark on an epic adventure or just a weekend away, you’ll need to start with a plan. Use the holiday break to do research into destinations, read reviews and map your journey. Make bookings if you can, and develop a realistic savings strategy that will see you exploring new places throughout 2018.
6. Form a habit
The myth that it takes 21 days to build a new habit has been busted, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! You can start with something small which isn’t too complex for your body and brain to adjust to, such as not looking at your phone during meals, flossing your teeth every evening, or drinking a glass of water before every meal.
7. Learn a skill
If you’ve been too involved with work to focus on your personal growth, now’s the time to hone in on, or pick up a new skill. Participate in art, craft, music, dance or language classes to flex your creativity, engage your senses and find a new passion. Download an app or meet like-minded people at an awesome creative hub like Work-Shop.
8. Read more
For those who’ve put old fashioned reading on the back-burner, now’s a great time to get back into it! We all get recommendations of what to read, so when you’re laying in the summer sun, grab that book or device and lose yourself in a story. Not sure where to start? Here are the 50 Best Books of 2017 for your reading pleasure.
9. Listen to podcasts
Whether you’re travelling on a plane, in a train, a car or just going for a leisurely stroll down the street, Podcasts are a great alternative to your overplayed song lists. Need some direction? Sarah Larson from the New Yorker happily shared her Top Podcast picks from 2017 here.
It’s no surprise that helping others makes us feel good – it’s human nature. So if you’ve been thinking about giving back – ’tis the season to get started. Being an active member of your community is a social benefit that has positive impact on mental and physical health. Discover what you can do locally or internationally through Volunteering Australia, or Australian Volunteers International.
11. Practice mindfulness
The pressure of managing everyday tasks often deprive us from securing alone time to reflect, process or just daydream. Practicing mindfulness is something we should do everyday, so holidays can help you get into the habit. Detach yourself from noise and devices, or take a class with experts like Mindful Meditation Australia.
12. Get active
After some well-deserved relaxation time, removing yourself from the couch and being active is a no brainer. Get outside and run, walk or simply sniff the summer air! With the majority of us being locked up indoors for our jobs, get back to nature and maybe opt for meeting up with friends for a walk in the park, as opposed to a drink at a cafe.
13. Learn something
TV watching is not all bad! Consider swapping out a mindless show for an amazing doco that educates you and broadens your knowledge. Not only will you be able to discuss topical issues or comment on historical facts at dinner parties, you might discover something that truly inspires you!
14. Eat more!
This suggestion may seem ridiculous at this time of year, but if you’ve been stuck in a cooking rut, push your culinary boundaries and experiment with food! Whip up some new Australian plates or find a cuisine that you haven’t tried before. If you’re partial to fine dining (or just having someone else cook for you), check out Australia’s top restaurants!