#SWAAYthenarrative

Make 2020 a Year of Self-Kindness

Thankfully, as a society we are now better aware of the importance of good mental health. Self-care has become a hotly talked about topic in recent years, with the power of yoga, meditation and journaling at the forefront of many discussions. However, whilst these activities do help to keep a lot of people grounded and happy, they aren't for everyone. It's super important to discover what type of self-care works best for you. For some, this might be an evening in, spent playing on some great bingo sites, while for others it might be going swimming, or taking time to cook up some delicious and healthy meals. We are all different and have different things that make us feel happy and relaxed. But, there are certainly a handful of general and simplistic things that make most of us feel our best.


Cut Back on Social Media

Without a doubt, there are lots of great benefits to social media, but too much screen time can leave us feeling disheartened and pretty blue. The constant barrage of perfectly filtered photos that appear on Instagram are bound to knock many people's self-esteem whether we consciously realise it or not. It's actually really difficult to go online and not compare yourself to others, so whilst it's nice to now and again see what our friends, colleagues and various different celebs are up too, too much time spent looking into the online lives of others is surely going to get you down in the long run. It is also thought that time spent on social media before bed can prevent us from getting a good night's sleep, which is another very important factor contributing to our health and wellness. It is sadly easy to miss out on living truly in the moment because of the distractions that our screens create. Staying away from social media more often in 2020 is without a doubt a kind thing to do for ourselves.

Get Exercising

Exercise is hugely important for both the health of our bodies and our minds, but that doesn't mean you have to hit the gym for hours on end in order to be kinder to yourself. There are many different types of exercise out there to choose from, from competitive sport, to jogging, to walking, to horse riding, to pilates, or even to running around a giant assault course if you so choose. There's a type of exercise out there suitable for everyone and getting into the habit of regular exercise will help to boost your overall mood and decrease your stress levels.

Eat Well

Like exercise, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is not only important for the body but also the mind. Being deficient in certain nutrients, like magnesium for example, can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, follow a keto diet or eat a bit of everything, it's important to understand what nutrients are in certain foods and make sure you eat sensibly and include a varied range of food types. Ordering in takeaways too often and snacking on too many sweets, crisps and chocolate can all too quickly end up taking its toll on your mental state as well as your physical state. However, it's of course important to allow yourself to indulge every now and then and not be too strict with yourself. Really, it's all about moderation.

Read, Watch Greats Films, Listen to Music You Love

Sometimes when we get into a bit of a rut, we forget to indulge in down time. Spending an evening reading a great book or watching our favourite film can really help us to unwind and feel re-energised. Listening to music on the way to and from work can also help to boost your mood and leave you feeling empowered.

Meet Up with Friends and Family

Spending time with the people we love and care about is so important to our mental well-being. It's an opportunity to get any worries off your chest and have a good laugh. Shutting yourself away from people is never a good thing in the long-term. If you don't have many close friends, which isn't at all uncommon in this day and age, then you can easily meet people who share the same interests as you at various different evening classes and clubs.

Being kinder to yourself should always be a priority. A lot of us beat ourselves up for a range of silly and ridiculous things, and we don't put enough time into making ourselves feel great. 2020 is the year to stop being mean to yourself and start helping yourself to feel empowered and truly content in life.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.