Change. It’s something we aspire towards as the start of each year approaches, making bleary gin-laced midnight declarations to lose extra baggage (in all sense of the word) with the best of intentions to keep them. Let’s be real though, that almost never happens. Since the prospect of getting there from ground zero can be overwhelming, here are 20 ways to inspire your journey—whether you’re looking for a challenge or to cultivate more happiness in your life this year.
Act I: The Art of Creation
There’s nothing better than feeling like you’ve accomplished something by getting messy and creating something from your own hands.
Get those (glue) guns out and wander onto lifestyle blog HonestlyWTF for fashion, art and interior design project craftspiration.
Things are about to get hot—literally. 2020 is going to be The Year you stop comparing a boiled egg to cooking. And there’s no better place to start than at Smitten Kitchen, founded by celebrated domestic goddess, Deb Perelman’s mission for fearless cooking using recipes that work.
A Beautiful Mess
Two words: retro quirk. If you’re looking to add a bit of whimsical fun into your home decor and baking adventures, head on over to A Beautiful Mess, a craft blog run by sisters Elsie Larson and Emily Chapman.
I Spy DIY
Whether you’re looking to recreate your favourite runway looks or declutter your home, Jenni Radosevich, founder of ISPYDIY, has the perfect solution to sprucing up your wardrobe or giving your home the perfect face-lift for less.
If you’re hopelessly devoted to clothes you’ve completely forgotten you still own, leave it to Sortorial to rip off the Band Aid. Specialising in home organisation and personal styling, the Sortorial team won’t be leaving you with just the bare necessities but a wardrobe full of versatile separates and accessories.
Act II: The Art of Unwinding
Kicking into the work week is difficult, we know. And you’re probably reading this story during work. No judgment here. Whether you’re trying to stay alive during the mid-afternoon work slump you find yourself in, seeking a break from mindlessly browsing social media or from the stresses of life in general, we’ve rounded up some of the most useful websites and apps to help you with just that.
Soundrown and Rainy Mood
Soundrown and Rainy Mood are the Vaseline of websites and are a cure for virtually any conundrum. If you’re lying in bed, calculating how many hours of sleep you’ll get starting now, let the sound of rain gently pattering on your windows lull you into slumber’s waiting arms. Or perhaps you’re trying to finish that beastly report but the brain has left the building. Get your momentum back by letting the sounds of open flames crackling coax you into your happy place.
There’s no shame in feeling like life can be overwhelming at times and that you need to slow down. In fact, quite the opposite. Here’s where the Smiling Mind app comes in handy, guiding you through short intervals of meditation from as little as five minutes to remind and help you stay grounded to the present.
Maybe meditation isn’t quite your thing and you’re more comfortable with identifying your immediate needs and breaking them down into goals. Essentially tracking your moods, Sayana also checks in periodically to see how you are feeling from the time before, and guides you towards achieving your goals, one step at a time.
Offtime and Movement
In this instance, “it’s not you, it’s me” rings true. Your body is at work but your soul? Already at home, watching your pot pies in the microwave rotate and planning what to watch next on Netflix. Knuckle down with Offtime which creates time blocks for specific focus, allowing you to block access to your distractions at specific times, including text messages. Or try Movement for a less drastic measure, which tracks and breaks down daily phone usage, allowing you to set daily limitations or receive the Noah’s Flood of Notifications. Annoying? Very. Effective? You betcha.
Act III: The Art of Comfort
Sometimes it’s nice to kick back, get away from our hectic lives online and settle down with a good read, or three.
Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks For Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
For those needing inspiration in the mornings and those needing perspective at the end of a long day: Lin Manuel Miranda hears you. Originally written as daily words of encouragement for both himself and his Twitter followers, Hamilton playwright Miranda has compiled the best of his aphorisms and short poems, aptly titled Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks For Me and You. Accompanied by illustrations from Canadian author and illustrator, Jonny Sun, this quiet companion is exactly what you need when the going gets tough.
Cravings: Hungry For More by Chrissy Teigen
For those who love eating for pleasure or simply enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cooking: this one’s for you. Hungry For More is a slice of Teigen’s life including witty anecdotes of her experience from cooking as a new parent and a continuation on her discovery of the healing power of comfort food.
How To Be You by Jeffrey Marsh
If pure sunshine ever took the form of a human, Marsh is it. Hailing from New York, non-binary actor and LGBTQ activist Jeffrey Marsh draws on their personal experience of “growing up fabulous in a small farming town” in Pennsylvania with an empowering tale in How To Be You of their journey to self-acceptance, how they learnt to develop their relationship with themselves and found the courage to take a leap that changed their life.
Act IV: The Art of Movement
If the thought of committing to a gym membership leaves you stressed, don’t sweat it. We’ve rounded up four different ways for you to get your exercise fix—even from the comfort of your home.
Contrary to what many still think, yoga isn’t just for flexible people. Yoga Lab’s wholesome approach to the practice advocates mindfulness and learning to be comfortable with your authentic self, whilst improving physical flexibility. Rooted in the belief that the art of yoga should be accessible to all, they offer an extensive range of classes for practitioners of all levels to choose from according to their level of comfort.
Sweat by Kayla Itsines
Developed by personal trainer Kayla Itsines, the Sweat app offers you the option of getting a full-body workout from the comfort of your home in just 28 minutes. Choose one out of three programmes that best suits your workout style—whether you’re a beginner looking to increase your strength or whether you’re looking to regain fitness post-pregnancy.
Inspired by the bad-ass dominatrix in You who disarmed Joe Goldberg with a few expert manoeuvres from krav maga? Drop by Krav Maga Global’s newly opened Singapore headquarters, Kravist, where you can now sign up to learn specialised techniques and tactics of avoiding, preventing and handling violent confrontations if you should ever (but let’s hope not) find yourself in that situation.
TFX Millenia Walk
If the thought of enduring another spin class with annoyingly perky instructors makes your skin crawl, check out TFX’s newly opened Millenia Walk fitness playground which features a comprehensive range of fitness classes for both small and larger groups. From high-intensity interval training classes, functional training to an indoor obstacle race training course, TFX Fitness caters to all kinds of fitness regimen, at every level.
Act V: The Art of Exploring
Honestly, we would not recommend taking the midnight train to just anywhere. Bad advice. Instead, here are five places to check out for when you want to escape the bustle of the city crowd.
Tanjong Rimau beach
No, your eyes do not deceive you. A real shocker, we know, but there are other beaches in Singapore to check out than just the one Tanjong beach. Also located in Sentosa, this hidden beach is perfect for catching some sun and if you’re looking to spend some quality time with the starfish and crabs that live on its coastline.
Have a rail of a time with Singapore’s heritage site, the Rail Corridor. Stretching 24 kilometres along the island, the Keretapi railway line was formerly used to transport goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay Peninsula during the early 20th century. Now part of a national park also fondly referred to as the Green Corridor, the historical trail also leads you to the weather-beaten old Bukit Timah station house a stone’s throw from the Bukit Timah Road Bridge. Trek a little further south, and the trail descends into actual pockets of jungle flourishing with biodiversity.
Bukit Batok Nature Park
So many parks, but where to begin? Situated on the edge of Bukit Batok, the park’s historical Bukit Batok Hill has stood witness to the historical Battle of Bukit Timah, fought between the Japanese and Allied forces in World War II. If you’re not really after a hike, check out the park’s plaza which offers a scenic view of the quarry: perfect for soaking up some sun before it sets.
Lower Peirce Reservoir Park
Located along Old Upper Thompson Road, Lower Peirce Reservoir is one of the oldest reservoirs in Singapore and incidentally home to a hella lot of monkeys. Winding through a forest that was previously an oil plantation, the Lower Peirce Boardwalk also opens up to the lake along the way, making for a picturesque stroll along the water’s edge. Thankfully, there are no eels, but if you’re lucky, you might even spot the Asian softshell turtles, grey-headed fish eagles, kingfishers and lesser mousedeer that have been known to frequent the area.