For many people, 2017 was not the best year in the world. Luckily, a brand-new year represents a clean slate to many.
We can start a new year as not necessarily a completely new version of ourselves but with the potential to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Change takes time, and hard work. The positive changes we want to see won’t immediately appear.
But certain changes can happen very rapidly. Every new year brings new people, new achievements and new experiences. As a new semester starts, so do new classes, new syllabi and new challenges. As a whole lot of new comes our way, we need to be ready to face the good as well as the bad. To help combat the shock and struggle a new year may bring, here are 10 things to make 2018 the best new year it can be and to be the best you possible.
- Be positive: In many situations, having a positive outlook on life can be difficult. As with anything, start with baby steps. Have a positive view of yourself. Whether it’s valuing your personality, creativity, ability or body, once you have a positive view of yourself, it gets easier to look at the world that way. Giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror in the morning can also be helpful. On keeping a positive outlook, Savannah Hathcock, a sophomore at UNCG, said, “Look on the bright side, try your hardest and do your best because it’s enough.”
- Be healthy: When I say be healthy, that includes mental and emotional health along with physical health. If any of the three are displaced, the other two will follow suit. To help mental health, try to keep mental breakdowns to a limited number. Sometimes you can’t help but breakdown, and if you feel you need more than a breakdown to feel better, there are resources on campus like the Counseling Center to check out. For emotional health, never be afraid to let your feelings show. You need to cry? Do it. Feel like screaming out your frustration? Do it. Don’t bottle them up and pretend they don’t exist. In his book, “Stumbling on Happiness,” Daniel Gilbert, a social psychologist and writer, says, “Fear, worry, and anxiety have useful roles to play in our lives.” Every emotion has its place. As for physical health, eat well, drink lots of water and stay active.
- Help others: Everyone needs help. Helping others can be holding the door open for the person behind you, supporting your friends by listening when they need to vent or being patient when a store employee is swamped by other people. Making someone’s life a little easier is the goal. In his book, “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,”Adam Grant, an author and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania says, “In the deepest sense of the word, a friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself, someone who helps you become the best version of yourself.”
- Help yourself: You can’t help others when you can’t help yourself. Give yourself a break. Don’t assume things in a new situation will go wrong. You are your own worst enemy, unfortunately. But if you put your focus on finishing your responsibilities, you will have the time and the mental capacity to relax and be ready to help those in need, including yourself. Abigail Klima, an Anthropology major, said, “My resolution is to give my job, school and self-care equal attention.”
- Breathe: All living humans do it, but it’s like blinking; we don’t focus on it or think about doing it. It’s more important than we might think. Deep inhales and exhales can be the difference between screaming at a person in anger or keeping calm. Breathing can aid in relieving nervousness in stressful situations and falling asleep. Just close your eyes and breathe. Everything will be alright.
- Nap: Sleep is our best friend. Without it, we’d all be zombies dragging ourselves to sit in class and stare off into the void. It’s not always possible to get the amount of sleep we need at night. Early afternoon naps can rejuvenate a tired body and mind. If you have the time to rest your eyes for at least 30 minutes, it can make a big difference. In “Benefits of Napping in Healthy Adults: Impact of Nap Length, Time of Day, Age, and Experience with Napping,” an article published by the European Sleep Research Society, by psychologists, Dr. Kimberly Cote and Dr. Catherine Milner, “Even for individuals who generally get the sleep they need on a nightly basis, napping may lead to considerable benefits in terms of mood, alertness, and cognitive performance.”
- Journal:. Writing down the things that vex you, the good memories you want to remember, goals or just noting how the day went can give your brain space to relax and think of other things. It gives you the ability to literally organize your thoughts. Focusing on responsibilities can be hard with too many thoughts raging in your head. Letting them out on paper can take a weight off of your brain while giving you an outlet to vent out your frustrations.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: No one is perfect. We can’t always succeed at everything we do, and that’s OK. Just do your best. From his other book, “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” Adam Grant also says, “Success doesn’t measure a human being, effort does.”
- Take time for others: Friends can be a day changer. You could have the worst day possible, but just being around them can help ease the pain of a long day. Find a balance between time for yourself and social time.
- Don’t be afraid to have fun: Everyone has their own responsibilities. You need to do work to get good grades, make connections with people, be healthy, be positive, graduate and move on into the rest of your life. While doing what you need to do, don’t be afraid to have fun. Focusing only on school can be mind numbing as well as stress inducing. Do the things that make you happy. Join a club, go to events around campus, do random classes at the Kaplan Center. Don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone to find what makes you a better you. Happy 2018!