They say that though the days are long, the years are short, and 2008 has certainly passed in a whirlwind. Wedge and I have worked incredibly hard this year, and it only feels like yesterday we were working 12 hours a day preparing for SIAD. Now it’s time to start thinking about SIAD 2009!

I’ve never been much of a celebrator of new year; after all it’s just another day, and any new day can be a new year and a fresh start. There’s a lot of pressure to make resolutions, most of which have been broken by mid-January, so we would suggest not giving up anything for New Years, but instead pledging to make things a little nicer and easier for yourself every day.

Things you may consider doing:

▪ Make time for yourself every single day. We all have busy lives, but even if you can only grab 15 minutes at the beginning of the day, and 15 minutes at the end – make that half an hour all about you.

▪ Get some fresh air every day; artificial light and heating are no substitute for natural UV rays.

▪ Think about the things you are putting into your body and consider how a change might improve your health and your mood. You don’t have to give anything up, but you can cut down on the not so good things and treat yourself with healthier alternatives.

▪ Take up a new hobby: try a different sport, learn a foreign language, enrol on a self-defence course, try some arts and crafts, rescue a homeless animal, do some voluntary work – the list is endless and there is something for every taste and pocket.

▪ Treat yourself occasionally. Buy a new book or a scented candle and tell yourself you deserve it, because you really do.

▪ Learn to say no without feeling guilty.

▪ Aim to do something that challenges you now and again. Whether it’s a trip out on your own or cooking a meal from scratch – it will increase your confidence and make you feel good about yourself.

▪ Notice the things around you and enjoy them. The world is a wonderful place and there is so much to see and enjoy if you take the time to really look.

▪ Value your loved ones. Take time to consider why you love them and remember to tell them occasionally. Just as importantly, allow yourself to be loved. Even if you aren’t feeling great about yourself, know that you are very important in the lives of others, and valued as person.

▪ Take control of your own actions. Take time to consider the consequences of your actions, and recognise your own power when it comes to making positive changes in your life.

▪ View life’s obstacles as challenges that can be overcome, but allow yourself to ask for help when you need it.

Wedge and I wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy and self-empowered 2009.

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