366 Days - An Extra Gift for the New Year

by: Sandy Johnson, RDH, BA

If you’re reading this, you are one of nearly seven billion people who got a wonderful gift this week, one that was a lot better than a fuzzy reindeer sweater.  At midnight last Saturday, we all got a brand new year.  That’s  366 days (yep, 2012 is a leap year) and I plan to make the most of all of them.  If you’re at a loss about what to do with all that time, here are five ideas to get you going.

1.    Smile more, and not just at people you know. Treat strangers to a big grin. It’s good for you. Really.  A study by the British Dental Health Foundation says smiling has the mood-elevating power of eating 2,000 chocolate bars, without the calories or the cavities! Besides, you might just make somebody else’s day.

2.    Celebrate getting a year older. Hey, it beats the alternative. Don’t wait for your birthday, either. Schedule a few very merry un-birthdays throughout the year.

3.    Step outside your comfort zone every chance you get.  I’m not talking about taking up sky diving (but go right ahead if you want to). Just little tweaks to your routine like shopping at a different grocery store or wearing bright purple can help knock you out of a rut.

4.    Breathe. Deeply.  Have you ever noticed how you hold your breath when you’re nervous or stressed out? Taking long, slow deep breaths can help relieve tension and clear the fuzz out of your brain. 

5.    Carve out a few minutes a day to be alone and daydream. Hide in the bathroom or sit in your car if you have to, but spend a little time thinking about anything except your million-things-to-do list. Let your imagination run amok. It’s free and it could be the little push you need to make a dream come true.

How will you use your new year’s gift of time? Better get going, it’s already January 9th!

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