New Year is a time for positive change, when we make our resolutions for the next 12 months. But January can also be a difficult month, with short days, bad weather and a long, long wait until spring. This New Year it could be particularly challenging because 2020 has been the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone’s lives have changed in some way. Continuing uncertainties about the future might make this January even tougher than usual.
We are providing all our usual support for people in the city to improve their health and wellbeing. This year we will have a special focus on looking after our mental health too. One in four of us will have a mental health problem in our lifetimes, so looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health.
The five ways to wellbeing are a practical way of taking care of our mental health. They align with effective ways to improving our physical health too. By taking action to address our minds and bodies together, we adopt a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
When making changes, it can be important to commit to small, manageable steps to make success more likely. We have produced a list of 31 small changes (one for every day of January) that you and your family can try for New Year 2021.
Any positive change, no matter how small, can bring benefits. They can provide a foundation for you to build on with more ambitious goals when you are ready.
Make your pledge
Help to inspire others by sharing a pledge to a small change that you will make to look after your health and wellbeing using #OnesmallchangeBH.
Remember, small changes can make a big difference.
Care for yourself
- Have a healthy, balanced breakfast to start your day right. Find recipes from both the NHS main website and the Change4life campaign.
- Contact our Health Trainer Team to have a conversation about free on-to-one support to quit smoking or otherwise improve your health and wellbeing.
- Download the NHS smokefree app to help you kick the habit.
- Cut down on alcohol by stocking up on interesting alternatives to booze or go the whole way and participate in Dry January 2021.
- Refresh yourself with a proper night’s sleep.
- Download the NHS free weight loss app to help you achieve a healthy weight.
- If you have a BMI equal to or greater than 25 (or 23.5 for those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups or those with co-morbidities) get some free local support to help lose excess weight.
- Using breathing exercises, relaxing music and specially designed games to calm the mind with the NHS Stress & Anxiety Companion app.
- If you need to travel and it’s practical, walk or cycle instead of driving of taking public transport.
- Take a few minutes to do some stretches, especially if you are sitting still for long periods of time.
- Participate in one of our Active for Life Team’s free online physical activity classes.
- Get off the couch and running 5K in just 9 weeks. Grab your trainers and follow the step-by-step audio instructions with the free NHS app.
- Simply stand-up more throughout the day. A great time to do this is when on the phone. A range of apps can be found online that help you schedule times to stand up throughout your day.
- Take an active break. It's a great way to add some physical activity to your day! You could just walk around the block or even turn on the radio and dance around your kitchen. There are plenty of options for everyone.
- Try some great family '10-minute shake-up' physical activities from Change for Life with Disney
- Connect for a cuppa with a friend or family member by call, video call or face-to-face (physically distanced as appropriate).
- Connect with others by joining an online social media group for a hobby that interests you.
- Join a local sport or physical activity club to make some new friends and get more active.
- Just say thank you. When you thank someone who has helped you or your family, in words or actions, you can give your own mood a boost by making someone else’s day.
- Go for a walk in green space and notice nature’s seasonal changes. The council even provides a programme of healthwalks where you can meet new friends.
- Provide a feeder for garden birds and take out some time to watch them come and go.
- Grab those rare snatches of winter sun by heading out for a few minutes when the weather is good.
- Practice mindfulness to help overcome stress. Go for a mindful walk in the park, eat a meal mindfully (no TV!) or just enjoy a piece of fruit.
- It's easy to slip into focusing on life's negatives. Start a gratitude diary to help remember the good things, however small.
- Learn a new skill or research an area that interests you. Hundreds of free courses are available online from platforms like Coursera, Edex or Futurelearn - browse their websites to find something that suits you.
- Test yourself or friends & family to:
- Try some healthy and economical new recipes.
- Give up a few hours of your week to volunteer for a good cause.
- We all know how damaging plastic is for marine wildlife, so take a bag down to the beach and spend twenty minutes collecting litter - don't forget to recycle it where possible.
- Come and volunteer with the council's Healthy Lifestyles Team. Over 70 volunteers help people across the city to be more active, more often. There is lots of support on offer if you volunteer with us and different roles to choose from.
- Volunteering with the Good Gym. Run or walk to help community projects and older people in Brighton.