Now that the travel, and obligations, and stress of the holidays are over, you can catch your breath and think about the New Year. What will you do for yourself this year that will support your goals for health and well-being?
Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, and it is also one of the easiest things to forget to do or put aside in favor of tending to others. Some say self-care “is like pouring water from a vessel.” You can only keep pouring the water if you’re refilling the vessel. Otherwise, it will eventually run dry.
Good self-care involves small self-care habits that, when done regularly, have the ability to greatly enhance your body, mind, and spirit. Self-care means treating yourself as a worthwhile person. It involves showing yourself (and others) that you are valuable, competent, and deserving of care, compassion, and nurturing. When you care effectively for yourself, you benefit and so do others in your life.
The goals of self-care include:
- Taking care of your physical and psychological health needs
- Managing and reducing your stress in healthy ways
- Honoring your emotional and spiritual needs
- Fostering and sustaining the positive relationships in your life
- Achieving a balance between your personal, social, and work lives
So how will you focus on self-care in this New Year? Here are some “tiny” ideas to get you started.
- Try cloud watching. Lie on your back and just relax as you watch the sky.
- Take a different route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain and helps it stay healthy.
- Do just one thing each day just because it makes you happy.
- Do a mini-declutter. Pick three things from your bookshelf or wardrobe that you don’t love or wear regularly and donate it to a worthy charity.
- Get out of your comfort zone. You might try talking with a stranger at the grocery store or reading a book from a genre that is completely different from what you normally read. Experiment and see how you feel!
- Activate your own self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels a bit odd—moisturize!
- Make one small positive change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water every day or eliminate that junk food item you normally crave.
- Be still.
- Unplug for an hour—or a few days. Free yourself from technology, emails, and social media for an hour and see how you feel.
- Inhale a wonderful smell. Maybe it’s the flowers in your garden or cinnamon you add to your morning yogurt but choose something that boosts your mood and motivation.
- Take a quick nap. Ten to 20 minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.
- Check in with your emotions and, for just a few minutes, name them without judging them.
- Choose carefully whom you spend time with and select those who radiate positive energy. Eliminate spending time with people who are negative and pessimistic.
- Compliment someone. Find at least one person each day and find something positive to say about him or her.
- Ask for help for something either big or small.
- Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, find a park and ask a friendly pet owner if you can have a short “fur fix.”
- Lie down where the afternoon sun streams through a window.
- Snuggle under a cozy blanket.
- Get a massage.
- Share a hug (where appropriate) with another person. It can provide a sense of connection and joy.
- Volunteer! Getting out of your own “stuff” by helping others often ends up helping you too.
- Conduct a “beauty scavenger hunt” on your way to work. Find at least five beautiful things to appreciate.
- Create a gratitude journal or practice. Each day, write down or state out loud at least five things for which you are grateful.
- Sit outdoors by a fire pit, watch the flames, and listen to the night sounds.
- Take the Course: Self-Care for Health and Well Being