Xin nian kuai le! The Lunar New Year is upon us, so don your fanciest red threads, order Yee Sang, and light up some red lanterns!
This joyful period is not just a time to celebrate tradition and reconnect with family, it’s also a great opportunity to pick up useful practices for the rest of the year.
Here are some super “ong” (prosperous) habits you can pick up this festive season for a wonderful 2023.
1. Untap the power of colours
You know Chinese New Year is approaching when shopping mall decorations are suddenly awash with red. The colour is considered auspicious as it is associated with prosperity and good luck.
Psychologists have discovered that different colours have different effects on mood and personality. Red, for instance, is connected to energy and danger, and has been linked to feelings of intense passion.
Research suggests that red and other warm colours can help maintain learners’ attention and stimulate active participation. You can implement this when planning the look of your study space, or use the colour in your notes for emphasis.
Other colours have other effects; blue, for instance, evokes feelings of calmness and serenity.
2. Regulate and improve your diet
CNY delicacies are associated with good fortune, largely due to their appearance or how their names are pronounced. Dumplings, for example, are eaten because they look like gold ingots, while the name for glutinous rice cakes, “nian gao”, sounds like “getting higher each year” in Mandarin.
This tradition is a great way to encourage wise eating choices. After the festival, shift from a dish’s auspicious qualities to its nutritional content instead. After all, the healthier your food, the better.
Some Lunar New Year foods are also quite great for improved learning. Fish – the Chinese name of which, “yu”, sounds like the word for “surplus” is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which spur brain development.
3. Boost your networking skills
The reunion dinner is a crucial part of the season’s festivities, and with it comes family gatherings.
While these tend to feature many intrusive questions, you can also use this to your advantage by learning and discovering things about the members of your clan, particularly those with interesting professions, lifestyle, or life experience.
This broadens your horizons, encourages a spirit of curiosity, and hones skills such as making conversation and maintaining connections. These can also prove beneficial in a corporate context.
4. Sharpen your mind
Mahjong, the most popular game during this period, improves hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity, as well as boosts pattern-recognition skills. A study in the Social Science and Medicine Journal in 2019 linked mahjong players with better mental health and lower rates of depression among adults.
Other festive card games such as Big Two also encourage strategic thinking, increase mental agility, and forge social bonds among its players.
Engaging in these is also a good gateway to other more mentally stimulating games or activities. Just be sure to make wise choices when it comes to gambling!
5. Instil smart financial practices
For most children, Chinese New Year means only one thing: ang pows! Receiving them is a great way to teach young people about money management.
For many kids, this will be the biggest amount of cash they receive this year, and the temptation to splurge will be immense. Take this opportunity to explain concepts such as saving, investment, and delayed gratification, and encourage them to think about the best ways to use their funds.
Learning these skills at a young age will help steer them away from financial problems in the future. Have a happy Year of the Rabbit!
This article was written by Terence Toh of ReSkills.com, a local online education platform aiming to make education affordable and accessible for all.