How to get a good head start this January

HITTING THE RESET BUTTON

Facing 2021 head on

Happy new year, readers! We did it — we survived 2020. Now it’s time to welcome 2020’s (hopefully) mellower and less intense cousin, 2021. Even though we’re all still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and everything that comes with it, we can still prepare ourselves to take on the new year without fear and make the most of the year ahead.

Detox your body

The stress of 2020 has probably taken a physical toll on your body, so here are 3 ways you can reset your physical well being for the new year:

  • Stay hydrated: We all know water is great for us — it regulates our bodily functions and even improves sleep and mood. So this year, make sure you get your liquids in! And no, the 10 cups of coffee you drank yesterday don’t count.
  • Go outside for your workouts: Once the weather allows it, try taking a step outside for a walk or a run — we could all use a little Vitamin D, and spending time in nature is a great way to reduce stress levels.
  • Upgrade your WFH set-up: If you’re still working from home in 2021, don’t feel bad about splurging on your office space. An ergonomic chair is always a great choice, as is a new plant friend to keep your mood up.

Refresh your mind

And to help you deal with the all-new stresses of 2021, here are 3 ways for you to reset your brain:

  • Soup up your social life: After a year of lockdowns and quarantines, we’re probably all in need of a little socialising. Being social is literally wired into our DNA, so arrange a date with your significant other or even just hang out with some friends or family. 
  • Practice gratitude: Bullet journals were in then, and they still are now! One big hit is to practice gratitude by being more mindful and listing one thing to be grateful for every day. Research shows that this will make us happier and give us a more positive outlook in life.
  • Breathe: Sometimes our stress gets us stuck in a loop of anxiety and exhaustion. When this happens, you can force your brain and body to reset by practising some breathing exercises, such as belly breathing, which slows the heart rate while lowering blood pressure.
SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣  Bad back? Acupuncture therapy for neck and lower back pain will now be subsidised for all Singaporeans.

2️⃣  New year, same virus: 2021 begins with 3 new community cases, and 27 imported ones in Singapore.

3️⃣  40 healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) were the first people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Singapore.

4️⃣ Say cheese! Singaporean start-up, Nervotec, has developed an app to measure vital signs through your phone camera.

5️⃣ No smoking allowed: The minimum age for smoking in Singapore has been raised to 21.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣  An act of sabotage: A healthcare worker in Wisconsin has been arrested for intentionally spoiling hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

2️⃣  Pierced through the heart: Last year, a teenager in Massachusetts went to the hospital for chest pains, only to find out that a swallowed sewing pin had ended up in his heart.

3️⃣ Are you a fan of Uncle Roger? It’s okay if you love MSG as much as he does, since research shows that MSG isn’t actually bad for your health.

4️⃣ A harmless mistake? 42 people in West Virginia were accidentally given COVID-19 antibodies instead of the vaccine.

5️⃣ Sinking ships: In addition to coronavirus deaths, cruise ships around the world were plagued by the suicides of crew members who were quarantined at sea for months on end in 2020.

GOODBYE BOOZE

Have you heard of Dry January?

First launched in 2013, Dry January was created by Alcohol Change, a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom that aims to reduce alcohol-related disease and harm. It’s an awareness programme where people pledge to abstain from alcohol in the month of January every year.

Making up for 2020

The pandemic has had lots of us drinking more than we usually do. In the US, alcohol consumption went up by 14%, and many women reported increased episodes of heavy drinking. Some countries even resorted to banning alcohol sales during the holiday season to prevent reckless behaviour.

With the 10.30 PM bar curfew put in place in Singapore, we figured it’d go two ways — either people are deterred from hitting the bars, or they chug as much as they can till it’s time to head home.

Why you should go Dry

Alcohol Change reported that 6.5 million people have signed up to take part in Dry January this year. This is a huge jump from the 4,000 people who first signed up back in 2013. This number is also probably smaller than the actual number of people participating, as it only accounts for official sign-ups on Alcohol Change’s website.

Abstaining from alcohol for a month may not seem like much, but it actually has a whole host of health benefits. It can assist in weight loss and help to curb your appetite, and even improves the quality of your sleep. Cutting out alcohol also gives your liver and heart a (probably much-needed) break.

Unlike other short-term health challenges, Dry January’s effects have proven to be long-lasting — a study of over 4,000 people showed that even after 6 months, over 70% of Dry January participants were keeping their alcohol consumption at healthy levels and reported greater levels of wellbeing. So maybe try out this popular challenge for yourself this month!

Still feeling the effects of your New Year’s celebrations? Check out this doctor’s list of Hangover Hacks, and his list of Hangover Prevention Methods — which you (hopefully) won’t need till next month!

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. If you are near-sighted, you see the world in portrait mode.
  2. You are constantly smelling your lungs.
  3. Dinosaur shaped nuggets are chickens going back to their original form.
  4. Mrs Incredible’s pregnancies were most likely painless.
  5. You can never really stop hiccups, you can only increase the gap between the last one and the next.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Image taken from The Guardian

Dropping the ball on New Year’s Eve

We may not have ever been there in real life, but we’ve all seen the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in New York’s Time Square in movies or on TV. Crowds of people gather to celebrate the coming of the new year and mark its arrival with a kiss.

Last year’s New Year’s Eve was different though. Gone were the tens of thousands of people crowded into the plaza to enjoy the live entertainment and count down the minutes to midnight. Instead, the streets were barricaded by police, and only a few guests — healthcare and frontline workers in New York — were invited to attend in person. The rest of the usual partygoers had to attend virtually, through a new app called Virtual New Year’s Eve as well as through the usual live broadcasts.

Similar events occurred world-wide, with cities having to tone down their normal end-of-year celebrations in order to keep everyone safe amid the pandemic. In Sydney, a fireworks display took place without anyone there to watch it. And in France, police forces were mobilised to break up any parties and enforce an 8 PM curfew.

Many of us were understandably disappointed this holiday season, but we hope you all managed to celebrate in your own ways and enjoy yourselves with friends and family — even if it was on a much smaller scale than you might be used to (8 people, friends!). 

With any luck, we’ll be able to return to our usual festivities at the end of this year. But for now, we have to actually get through the coming year first!

Vanessa

Vanessa is a go-getter and knowledge-seeker with way too many hobbies. On weekends, she can be found enjoying a lie-in and pretending she doesn't have anything else she should be doing.