“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” ― Alex Morritt
January 1st is the beginning of a new chapter, a new beginning. Take some time to figure out what you want to do and achieve in 2022. Brainstorm and dream big, don’t sell yourself short. Choose a few goals that you are passionate about – write them down, and revisit them frequently so that you don’t lose sight of what you have set out to do. Tell your friends and family, and let them hold you accountable.
Resolutions are very personal, but here are a few suggestions you might like to consider:
Take care of your mental health, and make time for yourself
The last two years have been stressful for most people, as we try to adapt to and navigate the new ‘normal’, which constantly changes. On top of that, you’re juggling classes, exams, deadlines and extra-curricular activities.
What helps you to rewind and recharge your batteries? This might include taking up yoga, meditation, or doing an activity that energizes you (art, drawing, music, reading etc). Schedule ‘me time’ into your schedule on a regular basis. Even 10 minutes a day (short meditation) will go a long way to keeping you balanced and helping you cope with everything else that’s going on in your life. If you feel that you need help, check out mental health resources at your university, school or community.
Spend time outdoors
Studies show that spending time outdoors is great for your mental health. Spending time in nature will boost your Vitamin D, make you happier, increase your concentration (so you’ll go back to your studies refreshed), and can even heal your body quicker. Why not incorporate a short walk into your day – even 20 minutes – you’ll get exercise and all the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Live in a more sustainable way
Why not think of ways in which you can be more sustainable on a daily basis. If you drive, use a car share program rather than own a car. Better still, can you bike, walk or take the bus rather than drive or get a lift to university/school or to meet up with friends.
Shopping for new clothes? You can pick up some great bargains at Thrift Stores, and support a good cause at the same time. Shopping for food? Support your local farm stores or markets and buy fresh fruit and vegetables that aren’t packaged. Carry around your own water bottle and take your re-usable coffee mug to the coffee shop. Turn off lights when you leave the room at home.
Volunteer and give back
Find ways to volunteer on campus, off campus or in your community. Studies show that volunteering reduces stress and is good for your health. It’s also a great way to meet people. Volunteering might mean helping seniors clear their sidewalks from snow, participate in a neighbourhood clean-up or join the ‘Big Brother’ association to mentor kids in the community. Check out Katimavik’s experiential learning programs.
Manage your finances
First things first, put together your budget – list all your fixed and variable costs on a spreadsheet to find out what you are spending money on. This might be an eye opener in itself, as the little expenses add up over a month. List any income you are generating and work out if you are living within your means, or if you can afford to do what you want to do. If not, find ways to cut your costs or find additional income; for example, get a part-time job, apply for available scholarships. You’ll be surprised to know that millions of dollars in scholarships go untouched each year. Check this website for more information.
Become a Global Citizen
In an ever-more competitive global workplace, international experience is really important. Various studies have shown that students who study abroad will find it easier to find a job than their peers, and will start on higher salaries and be promoted quicker. Consider a short-term exchange, an undergrad or postgrad degree abroad or a volunteer/internship overseas. For more information, check here.
Make this year count! Happy New Year!