As the clock struck midnight and signalled the start of 2020, many of us will have been filled with good intentions of grand plans and changes we want to make and goals to achieve in the year ahead. If some of these are feeling a bit daunting, or for those of us who were unable to come up with any at all, here are a few ideas to encourage everyone to try something different, meet new people and get out of that comfort zone!
1. Try a new fruit or vegetable
Have a browse at a supermarket or, even better, fresh produce market for something you have never eaten before. Ever heard of a kiwi berry? They are a real thing (and very yummy!) How about a mangosteen, rambutan or dragon fruit? Ethnic shops are awesome places to find products not normally seen on the shelves of your local Tesco, and the shopkeepers are very helpful with information about how to prepare and eat these delicious items.
Even if it is just for an hour a week, supporting a cause that is close to your heart not only gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, but is also a great way to meet some fascinating people. Whether it’s with animals, children, vulnerable adults or war veterans, find something that you can dedicate your skills to for the good of others. Whether that is answering phones, preparing and serving food, cleaning cages, reading books, helping at fairs, supervising an activity or simply talking to people – the list is endless so use what you’ve got!
3. Wake up 5 minutes earlier to stretch
This one may sound a bit silly, but for a lot of us, our bed is the epitome of our comfort zone. We all lead busy lives and either leap out of bed when the alarm goes off, or try to squeeze in a few extra zzzzzzz’s by hitting the snooze button before we start out daily To Do list. Giving ourselves just a couple of minutes to stretch in the morning has been proven to lead to more productive days. And it’s not just stretching our arms, back and legs that has benefits – try stretching your mouth as well. When our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal to the brain which stimulates our reward system and releases endorphins to make us happy. Basically, when we smile, whether it’s real or not, our brain feels happier – Fake it till you make it and see how much more positive each day becomes!
4. Swap Club
Try swapping something of yours with a friend while you try theirs. It might be a book swap, a different shade of nail varnish, a recipe or even a gadget swap. Trying someone else’s technique of doing something can lead to us learning all sorts of new things and experiencing events we would never normally have done.
5. Travel somewhere new
It doesn’t have to be somewhere far flung, exotic and expensive. It could be as simple as catching a bus or train that you’ve never got before, or giving yourself a set budget and seeing what flights or coaches are available on your chosen dates. If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not try booking on the day, or for the really brave, try a 24 hour challenge with friends where you see how far from home you can get and back again in 24 hours?
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