The start of a new year is the perfect time for new beginnings, setting yourself goals and making healthy changes to your routine.
For deaf people, the start of the year can bring a renewed sense of opportunity to take some positive steps into improving your confidence, well-being and happiness.
Want to make some New Year’s resolutions for 2021? Here are 5 ideas to help inspire you.
Doing more exercise and getting fit tends to be a popular New Year’s resolution and, according to the NHS, exercise is ‘the miracle cure we’ve been waiting for’.
Exercise can both reduce the risk of major illnesses, depression and dementia, and boost your energy levels, self-esteem, and sleep quality.
Last year, the pandemic meant we saw a boom in online fitness classes and there’s now a growing number of accessible workouts for deaf people.
Want to improve your fitness? Or perhaps you’re looking for a new way to unwind and de-stress? Why not sign up to class created specifically with deaf people in mind? – such as India Morse’s You Lean Me Up, Pack A Punch LTD or Deaf Gym.
Many online classes also offer closed captioning, such as Jo Wicks The Body Coach who offers brilliant all-round workouts or Yoga with Adriene. Some paid-for apps focused on exercising, such as OnePeloton, offer closed captioning too.
Meditation is the practice of turning your attention away from distracting thoughts, and focusing the mind on your breath, or a specific sensation. It promotes emotional health and well-being, increases concentration, and builds brain tissue over time. All great reasons to give it a try!
For beginners, a guided meditation class will include a teacher’s voice to guide you through the practice. Most YouTube meditation practice videos have the option to use closed captions, or you can opt for a tutorial in BSL.
Once you’ve learnt the basic breathing exercises and techniques, you can create your own meditation practice that works best for you.
Find more tips for beginning a meditation practice on Limping Chicken’s deaf blog here.
Many people find meditation tricky at first, but it’s worth persisting to helps yourself feel calmer and more positive.
Join a deaf club
Humans are inherently social creatures and we all share a need to belong, to be accepted and to connect with others. Many studies have shown that social interaction is hugely beneficial to our well-being.
For deaf people, deaf clubs provide a safe and accessible space to socialise, access information and learn new skills. They provide somewhere to get support, but to also give it back. This exchange creates strong social bonds that help you become more resilient.
Considering joining a deaf club? You can find a list of deaf clubs on our Deaf Clubs resource page here. There are many virtual cafes, pubs and meet-ups since the pandemic.
Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill isn’t just great for passing the time, it keeps your mind active and engaged, fuels creative thinking and can give you a fulfilling sense of accomplishment. These feelings are a brilliant way to stay motivated.
Not sure what to choose? Make a list of the things that you’ve been interested in or curious about for a while, and see what inspires you the most.
Perhaps learning a practical skill could be useful in your personal or professional life? Or get your creativity flowing by trying calligraphy, photography or painting?
How about taking up DIY? Which could help you to improve your home too. You could even turn your hand to cooking? Imagine surprising your friends and family with a delicious feast when we can all get together again.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a geek? Computer programming is another popular skill, that’s both interesting and could help advance your career.
Other useful skills to consider are learning BSL, why not sign up to one of Deaf Unity’s courses here, or learning to lip-read. Both of these skills may, depending on your personal preference or hearing level, improve your ability to understand and contribute to conversation, and as a result, strengthen your social and communication skills and boost your confidence. You can find out more about learning to lip reading on Lip Reading Practice‘s website and on lipreading.org.
If you’re unable to pay for BSL or lip reading classes, there are some free tutorials available online. For more guidance on paid and free courses, check out our article.
During difficult times, we feel the need to escape our stresses, let our imagination fly and be transported to new worlds. Nothing does this better than getting stuck into a good book.
With Netflix and TV providing lots of distractions, it can be hard to choose reading a book over watching the latest series, so how can you make reading a regular activity?
Look at your daily routine and find where there might be space to add a new reading habit. Perhaps 30 minutes before bed, or during your lunch break? Once you find that space in your day, commit to it. Make sure you always have a book handy, whether it’s a paperback or a download on your phone.
Sharing an experience often makes it more rewarding and motivating, so why not join a book club. If you can’t find one that’s accessible, create your own – ask your friends if they’d like to read a book and arrange a video call to discuss what you all thought.
You can find more advice in Goodread’s ‘best tips to read more books’ article where ‘super readers’ share their top tips to help motivate you into reading more. Need some book inspiration? Goodreads is a great place for tips on what to read next. We recommend Deaf author Brian Kokoruwe.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution, and whether you stick to it or not, remember to stay positive and motivated, but most importantly be kind to yourself. Good luck!
This article was written by Ania Tumm-Brennan, a marketing consultant and copywriter. Ania joined the Deaf Unity team to help promote diversity and social inclusion.
Looking for more support? We’ve made it our mission to improve the lives of deaf people everywhere. Check out Deaf Unity’s projects to find out what we can do for you. If you’d like to get in touch, contact us here.