Wellness Column

New Years

time lapse photography of fireworks at night
Photo by: Roven Images/Unsplash

How have you started the new year? I know we are in another National Lockdown in the UK but that doesn’t mean you can’t have New Year’s resolutions, goals, challenges… 

So far this year, I have:

  • Started reading regularly again *takes a breath of fresh air*
  • Gotten into a routine with my writing – the relief!
  • Got back into exercise with @al_fitness despite not feeling well on the first day back – win.

These small victories were all things I did before but I’m celebrating them because I fell out of routine, lost my motivation, and just… covid.


A new challenge I set myself for the first time was to go fully vegan – well, plant-based really as I know there are some differences. So, unofficially, I am having a go at Veganuary and it’s easier than I thought. 

I often had vegan meals without even thinking about it but now I am doing it more consciously and am pleasantly surprised at how effortless it is for me. The biggest change is the absence of cheese and eggs but I don’t even miss them. We included a vegan cheese in our shop but I tried one tiny bit of grating and will never be eating it again. 


I much prefer whole foods over processed substitutes and am aiming to create as many homemade meals as possible. Amongst some ready-made foods like the old faithful oven chips and baked beans etc. we’ve had meals like:

  • A vegan stew made with: red & brown onions, garlic, fresh coriander, carrots, swede, parsnip, potatoes, spring greens vegetable stock, sea salt, black pepper, and some other ingredients I can’t remember as I tend to throw things in. I was supposed to add dumplings but they’ll go in the next one! I’ll probably mix it up with sweet potatoes as swede is not usually in my typical shop.
  • Vegan banana pancakes made with: banana, self-raising flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and oat milk. These were DELICIOUS even without maple syrup but was a nice addition too.
  • Creamy mushroom tagliatelle made with: red onion, garlic, chestnut mushrooms, wholegrain mustard, Oatly creme fraiche, oregano, sea salt, vegan tagliatelle, and vegetable stock.
  • Vegan platter consisting of fresh bread, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, falafel, and hummus/houmous (homemade is really easy and you can add so many different flavours – a favourite of mine is red pepper).

These are just basic, easy meals since I have deadlines and feel guilty about spending too much time on anything else other than studying. There’s so much in our fridge and cupboards to make more exciting meals – including more from @rgveganfood recipes. 

Later this week, I plan to bake some vegan oat and cranberry cookies because I need to factor in some therapeutic time but also because I have some dried cranberries I need to use up. 

If vegan is still not for you, why not challenge yourself in other ways like:

  • Start a new exercise regime
  • Aim to read a certain amount of books per week, month, or year – it really depends on you
  • Log off more, limit your use of technology – I finished a series and am having a break whilst I focus on studying and getting into a reading routine this month
  • Teach yourself something new.

Even if you just relax more, you owe it to yourself to do something that will make you feel good because we are living through some challenging times in many different ways. The goals I’ve set for myself have certainly been challenging, but I’m feeling more positive about the year ahead (believe it or not) and most importantly, I feel better about myself.

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