Four out of ten of us make resolutions for the new year, and it’s not too late to join if you’re not in that group.
But instead of choosing one of the more common efforts like losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly, I’d like to suggest a different type of New Year’s resolution: do something self-care related for yourself every day.
What is self-care? Self-care is the discipline of taking care of your physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being. And it’s a great option for your New Year’s resolution, because it’s very doable no matter where you are in life, and a very holistic approach to bettering yourself. In other words, self-care focuses on what’s best for you and where you are right now in life rather than focusing just on exercise or worrying less, for example. It’s a global approach to becoming the best version of yourself.
Fortunately, focusing on self-care doesn’t mean having to buy any fancy equipment or investing in an expensive program. It’s less about adding extra commitments to your busy schedule and more about making small changes within the routine you already have. This will help you reduce stress and worry in your life and increase your sense of well-being. Self-care is about making lifestyle changes that will have lasting effects rather than working toward a one-time goal (which can also be rewarding but in a different way).
Here are some ideas for simple self-care strategies to incorporate in the new year:
Change your morning routine
How you start your morning can really set the tone for the rest of your day. A rushed morning where you wake up already feeling behind and have to hustle out the door without eating breakfast doesn’t set your day up for success. But a morning where you are able to get ready in an unhurried way can help increase your chances for having a successful day.
Changing your morning routine doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get up at 5 a.m. so that you have two hours to get ready leisurely. Rather, it’s more about looking at your current morning routine and seeing what small changes you can make to help you be less stressed as you get ready.
For example, maybe prepping your breakfast and lunch the night before (or even prepping your meals for the week on Sunday) could help make your morning routine smoother. It might even be helpful to pack your bag the night before so you’re not running around grabbing the things you need as you dash out the door. Or maybe getting up just 15 minutes earlier would help you get everything you need to get done in a less-rushed way. Simple changes like these will help you set a positive tone for the rest of your day, no matter what you have to tackle.
Do something fun
Do something fun as your New Year’s resolution? Most definitely, yes! Our society assigns a great deal of importance on being busy and not enough on engaging in leisure activities. Of course, work is an important and necessary part of life, but we’re not meant to never take a break.
Most of us can’t take a ten-day beach vacation but there are other ways to incorporate leisure into your everyday life. Is there a hobby you’ve been wanting to try but just haven’t gotten around to it? Now’s the time to try it out! Or simply inviting a friend over for dinner or checking out a nearby community event could be a doable way of incorporating leisure into your everyday life. Just pick one thing to try to get you started and then go from there. It’s easier than you might think!
Did you know that getting enough sleep is associated with several physical and mental health benefits? Because of this, getting better sleep could be a great self-care area to focus on in the new year. The average person should get between seven and nine hours of sleep. How many are you getting?
If you aren’t falling into the recommended range, there are some simple changes you can make to your sleep routine to help you wake up feeling well-rested. For example, try giving yourself about 20 extra minutes to fall asleep. Often, we calculate the amount of sleep we are getting based on when we get into bed, but it takes roughly 20 minutes for the average person to actually fall asleep. If you typically go to bed around 10:30 p.m., try finishing your nighttime routine by 10 so that you can have more than enough time to fall asleep. Plus, when you know you have a good 30 minutes to fall asleep, it takes the pressure off of you having to fall asleep right now so that you get enough rest.
Another simple change you could make to increase your sleep quality is to incorporate calming activities into your nighttime routine. Reading, journaling, praying, and listening to relaxing music are all great options.
Whether it’s one of these suggestions or another simple self-care practice, focusing on your overall well-being is a great way to improve yourself in the new year ahead. Plus, focusing on a lifestyle change, rather than a goal you have to check off on your list, means that you are making a lasting change in your life for the better.