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20 Things you can do to be happier and healthier this year in Hong Kong

Because you know, you'll need it.

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Written by
Tatum Ancheta
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Yes, we all know what 2020 did to us all, and many of us are absolutely going to want life to look different this year. But let's face it, even if we already bid our goodbyes to last year's grim tales, this year, we are still looking at most of its remnants. On the flip side, at least we can now plan how to tackle what's ahead of us. While we wait for the global health crisis to fix itself, we can choose to make the most of life and focus on our emotional, physical, social, environmental, and intellectual wellness. So, as you reflect on all the good things you want to happen this year, here are 20 tips and tricks to help you achieve a happier, healthier you. We don't expect you to do all of these, but sticking to a few will definitely get the ball rolling. 

RECOMMENDED: Visit our Wellness hub for more for guides on home workouts, healthy meals and drinks, self-care ideas, and tips and tricks to help you keep up with your wellness goals. 

1. Stop watching the pandemic counter

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As the number of positive cases increase locally and globally, we can't help but be on the lookout for the counter. It's like watching the stocks, it goes up and down, and gives us a heart attack or two every time. Currently, it's over 86.4M, so let's just leave it to the scientists and political leaders – who are sniping at each other – to handle and watch the numbers. We can't do much about it; it will just add to your free-floating anxiety.  
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4. Stop stalking your ex on Instagram!

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One of the gifts of technology is that it gave us the ability to see or live vicariously through someone else's life based on their social media posts. But if you're using it to stalk your ex to see who they are currently quarantining with, stop. If you feel the urge to see what your ex is up to, nip it in the bud and find a replacement activity. Here's a list of adorable dogs and cute cats you should be following on Instagram instead.

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5. Do a digital detox

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If you're working from home and isolating, being digitally connected is one of the best ways to stay sane and see that the world is still revolving. From following the next trending cocktail or food recipe online to connecting with our loved ones and keeping our health goals in check with online workout classes, our digital devices have become a necessity. But all this screen time also fuels our tech anxiety. Find time in your week to turn off screens and replace the activity with mindful meditation, kick back on the couch and finish a book that lets you escape reality, or start planting your indoor garden

6. Get enough sleep

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Since time immemorial, we all know that sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy. If lack of sleep is part of your routine, it also lowers your body's immunity, and you may be at risk for many diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. So rearrange your sleep patterns today. Go to bed early and avoid screen time when in bed, remove digital devices such as TVs, computers, and mobile phones in the bedroom.

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7. Stir things up under the sheets 

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Not only does sex and orgasms feel amazing, it's also great for your health and well-being. Numerous studies suggest that people who frequently have sex report a greater sense of happiness. During masturbation or sex, your body releases endorphins, the hormones produced by the body that relieve stress and pain. So for couples, make sure to cultivate a healthy sex life, and don't be shy to explore fun ways to spice things up, not only is it good for your physical well-being, but it can also increase intimacy with your partner. And for those who are single or in long-distance relationships, don't be afraid to stir things up under the sheets, as the big O can help release tension throughout your body, reduce stress, and actually aid better quality sleep. 

 

8. Find a fitness goal partner to keep you in check 

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Find someone who will motivate you to maintain a healthy routine. Call a friend and challenge each other for a seven-day no-carb diet or a 30-day butt challenge that will seriously sculpt your booty. 

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10. Go vegan or vegetarian for a day

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So, you already tried to go vegetarian and failed a million times after seeing your friend's steak food porn on the 'gram. If you can't go full-on veg, try at least one day and remove animal meat from your diet. Plus, there are so many vegetarian options, new healthy menus, and meatless alternatives currently available in Hong Kong that will not make you feel like you're missing out on your favourite meat dishes. 

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12. Don't stress on things that are out of your control

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Let's be honest; we have no control over many of the things that happen to us. You can't force a person to change or people to like you, you can't prevent the pandemic from spreading or disaster from happening. So, stop being a worrywart and let go. Focus your energy into the things you can control, which is creating solutions to problems and changing your emotional state. 

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13. Learn a new skill

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During lockdowns and quarantine, a lot of people have discovered new hobbies, learnt new skills, and turned their new-found knowledge into new ventures while actually earning money from it. So, if you're one of those who just potate during isolation, maybe it's about time to get off that couch and start learning a new skill. There's a lot of online lessons that you can take today for free, art jamming classes, and DIY workshops that you can join in Hong Kong.

14. Read more books

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If you can't remember the last time you finished a book, then now is the time to get back into reading. Reading a book has a lot of benefits, aside from helping you digitally detox and allowing you to escape reality for a while, reading actually strengthens your brain. So, pick up that dusty book or order a new one from these online bookstores that will deliver your paperbacks and hard bounds anywhere in the city. If you need some suggestions, here's a list of 11 best books set in Hong Kong

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15. Start writing a gratitude journal

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Reflecting on what you're grateful for can lead to a more content and happier life. Writing things that you are thankful for can help you reflect on those small moments in your day that bring you joy, clarity, and help you learn more about yourself in the process. Check out these Hong Kong stationery stores to get you started with your materials. 

16. Connect with your friends and family

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Social distancing and quarantining have totally re-shaped our social interaction. But thanks to technology and the internet, we can still connect with our loved ones. The feeling of loneliness leads to depression, and now more than ever, we all need some sort of emotional support. So, make time to regularly call your family and friends, schedule Netflix party nights, and for those on long-distance relationships, make sure you schedule a regular online date night with your significant other.  

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17. Give back to society

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The fulfilling feeling of giving back activates your brain's reward centre, which releases endorphins that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Start looking for ways to give back; it may be through volunteering to a charity, donating, or supporting non-profit organisations in Hong Kong. 

18. Join a club or a community

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It's time to expand your social network. Joining a group, a new club, or a community will allow you to bond with new people and establish new connections that will eventually become your support system and help you with networking opportunities. 

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19. Declutter your life 

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You’ve read this or seen this on TV often enough – decluttering can make you happy not only by improving your mental health but also by improving your overall physical health. Let go of things and only keep the ones that you actually need – throw it out or donate it. If you're having a hard time letting go of things, do what Marie Kondo does, ask yourself “does it spark joy?” If the answer is no, then it's time to let it go. When your surroundings are clutter-free, it becomes brighter and lighter, and your energy becomes more positive and focused. 

20. Practice moderation not deprivation

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If you're craving for pizza, chocolate, or a glass of wine, go ahead, just make sure you do it in moderation. Try the 80 to 20 rule – 80 percent can be your healthy goal, then allow yourself 20 percent to indulge in the things that bring you joy. If you deprive yourself in something, you will want it even more, which will result in binging and overindulging. 

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