It’s a brand new year and time for a new set of resolutions. While it is true that most resolutions go unfulfilled, it is often because they tend to be overly ambitious and not realistic. The ambitious ones need you to exercise a great deal of discipline, while the unrealistic ones call for big changes in lifestyle. But the key is to gain control of your life, and in that spirit, we offer you a few resolutions that are achievable and will make you feel more empowered.Live more healthily
The benefits of a healthy diet are many, and the resolution to eat healthily can do you a world of good. Eating healthily will not only give you a slimmer waistline, but will also help prevent many diseases and reduce your stress levels.
Eating healthily doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. But after much indulgence during the festive season, most people look forward to eating plainer fare. It’s a good idea to figure out where to shop for fresh produce. The area in which you are living may have some great farmers’ markets where fresh seasonal produce can be obtained. Also, look for healthier alternatives in the local cuisine. Sign up for a food delivery service, or look for healthy local recipes if you like cooking. Many countries and cities also have healthy restaurants where you can sample food that’s not only good for you, but also delicious!
Exercise is a classic resolution, and also one that is broken the soonest. The key is to engage in exercise that appeals to you. Also choose the mode of exercise that best fits into your schedule. If you live in a bike-friendly city, you can get your daily dose of fitness by cycling to work. A brisk morning walk is also a great way to begin the day. If you’re more of an evening person, you can take a walk after work or at night, if your neighborhood is safe to venture out at night. If there are national parks nearby, you can go hiking. If you live by the ocean, take up swimming. You can also take up yoga or an aerobics class to stay fit. Starting a new lifestyle routine is easier when you start small. Instead of signing up for fitness classes five times a week, try incorporating just 15 minutes of exercise per day. Once it develops into a habit, you will be better prepared to make bigger changes in your lifestyle.
Leave the office on time
Studies have shown that working for longer hours can raise the risk of stroke by 30 percent. It can even affect the efficiency of the workplace in the long term, when employees get burnt out. It’s not always possible to leave work at the same time, and you may have days when the workload requires you to stay late. You may even be feeling guilty about leaving earlier that your colleagues. But effective time management means that you allot yourself personal time beyond the workplace. It also helps to get organized and create more productive ways to cope with large workloads. Delegate work and avoid spending too much time on social media during work hours. Also, avoid bringing work home with you. It can be incredibly de-stressing to get home and do something you like, such as watching a movie or going out for dinner with the family. Keeping a good work-life balance is integral to good physical and mental health.
Stay in touch
Living overseas can pose a challenge to keeping in touch with those back home, especially if you are in different time zones. However, making an extra effort to stay connected with your dear ones is important. Moving abroad can be a stressful experience and you are likely to go through a transition period as you adjust to a new lifestyle. Staying in touch with family and friends back home can give you the motivation and support you need. It also lets them know that you do care about them. This year challenge yourself, to write an email or make a phone call to a friend every week. This way you will be able to stay in touch with more of them.
Make new friends
An expat’s life is a busy one what with managing an international career, adhering to long schedules and networking. All of this makes it difficult to socialize. Many expats also remain surrounded by other expats in their new country through expat communities and clubs. But living overseas can give you the wonderful opportunity of making new friends. It can be challenging, especially if the language and culture are different from your home country, but it is an important step in embracing a new lifestyle. Befriending locals will help you gain insight into their culture and traditions in a way that would otherwise not be possible. Professional networks and associations are present in most major cities across the world and are a great forum to meet people in the same professional circles. If you’re a trailing spouse who has a successful career in your own country, but are now looking for new opportunities, these networks and associations are the ideal place. You may even meet people to socialize with outside of the work arena.
Another great way to make friends is to participate in a sport or hobby. Many clubs welcome members from different backgrounds and abilities. The local sports club will also help you stay fit, along with expanding your social network. These clubs range from mountain climbing and chess, to yoga and book reading clubs.
Bars and pubs are also good places to meet locals. Visit a bar to enjoy a drink, and soon you will be included in a conversation with the locals. Many places have organized activities such as karaoke night and quizzes where expats and locals alike can mingle.
Document your experiences
The expat life is an adventurous one and one filled with diverse experiences. Why not record all these experiences in a diary or blog. This may not seem too pertinent right now, but one day, looking back, you will be happy to rediscover all the experiences you had while you lived overseas. Challenge yourself to write a minimum of 500 words every day. It can be about anything, from homesickness and culture shock to trying out a new cuisine. You can even make it a photo journal where you take a photograph each day.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language can be a rewarding experience. It also helps to keep the brain active. Even if it is not required for you to know the local language, moving abroad is a great chance to improve your skills. It does take time and dedication, but once you are fluent in a second language, you will reap numerous benefits. Irrespective of age, learning a new language is exciting and provides many advantages.
Being bilingual gives you a competitive edge in the job market. Many companies prefer to hire bilingual employees, as it benefits the company when engaging in international business. Bilingual employees can also close the gap between two countries or cultures. Bilingualism also has a positive impact on brain health. Studies have shown that learning a new language can delay the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Learning a commonly spoken language like French or Spanish enables you to travel to many places around the world without the need for a translator. Interestingly, research has shown that when people learn a new language, they also develop a greater understanding of their first language as it places the focus on grammatical rules. Expats with knowledge of the local language can delve deeper into a new culture and enjoy many aspects of it such as music, history, food and art. Learning a new language also gives you a sense of achievement that can be highly satisfying.
Here are some tips to get you started.
– Start learning the language before you move. It is often assumed that one instantly picks up the language after they move, as they will begin hearing it in public. However, it’s not that easy, and trying to learn the local language after moving can also be rather overwhelming. A better idea is to take a language class or audio course before you leave. This will enable you to start conversing with the locals right away.
– Moving overseas can be a busy time for you, but once you arrive, make sure to allot some time to keep up your language learning. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as most locals will be happy that you are making an attempt to speak their native tongue.
– A great way to increase familiarity with the language is to watch the local news or soaps, which will help you pick up new words.
– Learning a new language can be hard and takes time. But don’t give up, as it will be worth it in the end.
– Participate in a language exchange where in addition to learning a new language, you can also meet new people.
Take up voluntary work
Giving back to others is always a rewarding experience. Everyone has some way in which they can support those in need. For instance, if you’re a good salesperson, you can work on fundraising opportunities. If you enjoy teaching, you can find someone who can benefit from your mentoring. There are numerous charities on the lookout for volunteers and you can choose from a wide range of activities from teaching underprivileged children to caring for stray animals. Doing voluntary work is also a great way to meet new people.
Try out more local foods
Depending on which destination you are in, you may be able to find your favorite foods. There may be specialty stores or fast-food chains that you can visit if you are homesick or if you are simply craving some treats from back home. It is also easier to remain loyal to the foods of your choice. Today’s global economy makes all of this possible. But you could also be missing out on the experience of trying out a different cuisine. This year make it point to avoid import stores and instead eat something more local. You may even be pleasantly surprised, as one of those affordable, local delicacies might become a food you love.
Learn a new skill
New year’s resolutions are always about self-improvement. So why not learn a new skill or take up a new hobby? Having a hobby can trigger creativity and reduce stress, in addition to helping you meet new people. For instance, you could try rock climbing for building your stamina and upper body strength. You could also take up reading or even gaming. Get onto the internet and check out the available activities in your area. There are bound to be hobbies or skills that can help with your physical health, while also putting you in contact with like-minded people. There is no hobby or interest that is too insignificant. From snorkeling to playing with a frisbee, you are likely to find many activities near you.
You may feel like you’ve already travelled a great deal in relocating overseas, but travelling for pleasure is something else entirely. If you have kids, take them along. Families can bond immensely during travel, and your little ones will get the opportunity to have rewarding experiences. Studies show that children who start travelling when they are young learn important life skills. They also get enthusiastic about exploring new cultures, in addition to becoming prepared for dealing with emergencies. Taking your kids along will also give you and your spouse the chance to discover what are traditionally known as ‘kids’ places’, such as Disneyland, which are great fun for the whole family!
Did you make resolutions this new year? Let us know in the comments!