Ke Dezemba and what a year it’s been! From the banana bread baking (and all the eating), to not being allowed to buy cooked chickens or T-shirts unless they were part of your undergarments (what was that?) to finally reaching Level One and being allowed to travel again.
This year has been tough. We have all been through the most. All the depression and anxiety, cancel culture, online bullying, spending the day in pyjamas and taking part in and listening to online presentations to within an inch of our lives, this will be a year not soon forgotten.
I may be The Good Things Guy but I am also human — I’ve had days where I’ve struggled with lockdown and not seeing family and friends, been overcome with anxiety and heartbroken at the hundreds of requests I get on a daily basis from South Africans who sometimes just need a meal or for someone to listen to them. But there have also been good days and good things can be found anywhere if we just look hard enough.
I believe in positivity, in chasing dreams, making my own reality and being the best version of me … everyday. I believe in silver linings and seeing opportunity everywhere. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. I believe that it is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy!
And on that note, I have put together a list of 10 things to help put a smile on your face and get you through the festive season because December sunshine, pool time, cocktails and socially distanced fun can still be had.
- Decorate a gingerbread house. If you’re not up to making one yourself, some restaurants and retailers are selling kits that you can build at home. Get your significant other and the kids involved;
- Meditate, or just take a moment to yourself. Sit with your thoughts, figure out how you feel, accept them and breathe it out. Find your reasons to be grateful. My first cup of coffee is when I usually do this. I just sit and take in how I am feeling, be thankful for what I have and try to assess how to tackle my day;
- Explore your neighbourhood. Take a spontaneous walk with your family down a route you haven’t walked before. Greet everyone you see;
- Eat healthily. I mean, snack and enjoy your festive treats but be mindful of balancing your food. It’s a proven fact that healthy eating equals healthy mind so get your greens on, yo!
- Create a real staycation. Put a tent up in the backyard and camp with the kids, or have a fake beach day by the pool with your book and cocktail and some extra sand to dig your toes into.
- Get some sun. Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health but for proper brain development and functioning. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, so get your ass into the sun at least once a day;
- Exercise, even if that is just a few push-ups or jumping jacks! Exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk;
- Get off social media. Research shows that limiting your exposure to social media reduces anxiety and depression. Get off Facebook, Twitter or Insta … and spend some time in the real world, talk to your family, I promise they’re nice people;
- Take a “me day”, or take several of them. Stay in bed. Go to the park. Turn your phone off. Watch movies. Read a book. Play Playstation. Don’t exercise. Don’t make your bed. Do whatever you need to, in order to fill your soul and feel good again. Mental health and wellness are incredibly important, not just during a global pandemic but every day; and
- Finally, try a new recipe! Of course, I highly recommend the Baked Berry Cheesecake that my partner Andrew and I made on My Kitchen Rules South Africa. The judges gave it all 10s so you know it’s good.