Lose 20 pounds. Get more organized. Spend less money. Sound familiar? If you find yourself with a head full of high ambitions this time of year, you’re not alone. An estimated 40% or more of us make New Year’s resolutions, and they’re often centered on self-improvement. Wanting to improve yourself is great, but we’d like to suggest that you also consider resolutions that center on self-care.
Self-care is making the choice to maintain physical, psychological, mental, spiritual, and social health. While it might sound difficult to achieve wellness of this caliber, it is totally achievable. Not only that, you can start today with your very own Top 5 Resolutions of Self-Care.
- Limit yourself.It sounds contrary to common sense in this age of multi-tasking, when extra-long work days and a ton of extra-curricular activities are worn like a badge of honor. Proper self-care requires that you intentionally plan downtime for yourself to do what you want to do. (Hint: chores don’t count.We’re talking napping, reading, taking a walk, or getting a massage.
- On that note, schedule it in, in ink.Make an unbreakable date with yourself on a regular basis.If it feels weird at first to write “take a nap” or “read 100 pages of spiritual book” into your calendar, try it for a while.After the first couple of weeks, you’ll be thankful that you scheduled your own wellness break into your otherwise busy schedule, and will look forward to those appointments.From our experience, if you don’t make this a scheduled priority, your “down time” will end up being filled by cleaning out the utensil drawer and folding laundry.Scheduling an actual appointment, like one for a massage or a pedicure, helps you to make sure you keep your self-care dates.
- Question your choices. If you plan to practice self-care by reconnecting with friends, make sure the friends in question are ones who are healthy for you, and ones you enjoy. Do you still enjoy your weekly happy hour with old friends? Or the monthly poker game? So many times we get stuck in a habit without even realizing that we don’t much enjoy the habit we’ve been in. Take a fresh look at your commitments and reevaluate whether they’re something you’d start today if faced with the decision anew.
- Small doses are better than no doses.If your schedule doesn’t allow for lengthier periods of time, fit in your self-care when and where you can. It’s like exercise – doing something is better than doing nothing. Even if all you can manage is a 10-minute walk or a few minutes of deep-breathing with a favorite aromatherapy essential oil, you’ll be better off mentally than if you’d done nothing at all. By the way – did you know that you can schedule a 30-minute massage that will focus on one or two specific problem areas? This is a great solution for when you’re too strapped for time for a 60, 90, or 120 minute session, but are dying for the health-boosting relaxation that a massage brings.
- Speaking of exercise . . . move. Much like massage, exercise seems to contain a limitless bounty of benefits.Getting a little sweaty does wonders for your stress level, your mental and physical health, your energy level, your outlook, and your self-esteem.
Every moment you spend practicing self-care is an investment that will pay off this year, next year, and for many “happy New Year’s” to come.