25 Self Care Tips to Take Into the New Year
Self care. It’s been one of those big catch-phrases over the last year, and it seems like everyone is talking about it.
Taking care of yourself is so incredibly important, and yet somehow it ends up being one of the first things to fall off our priorities list. We are always taking care of work, putting others first, and making sure that everyone’s needs are met before our own.
What ends up happening, though, is we risk both our mental and physical health. We get drained, burned out, and feel the effects across all areas of our life.
That’s why it’s important to put number one - that’s you! - first.
Why is Self Care so Hard?
Taking care of ourselves should be something we look forward to. After all, it’s for us! So many times, though, it ends up feeling like a chore if we can squeeze it in at all.
Why is that?
The shoulds. Ah, yes, the ‘shoulds’ as in, ‘I should do this’ or ‘I should feel this.’
Many times we know what the best path for us is. Sometimes even when we don’t, we look at others and ‘should’ ourselves by what we see around us.
What that does is create a negative mindset. There’s actually a name for it: negativity bias. It brings your focus to the things you’re not doing instead of the things you are.
There likely are things you’re doing that are forms of self care. Thinking too much about the ‘shoulds’ keeps us from looking at the good.
Time and effort. Self care does take time, and we’re all really busy. We all have so many things going on all of the time. We have to actually find the space to fit caring for ourselves in.
Self care can sometimes seem like a higher level of work than the easy option. For example if you’ve had a really long day, cooking a healthy meal may seem much harder than picking up fast food.
There are also very real brain changes that happen when we’re tired. We literally don’t have as much self-control or discipline, according to an article from Psychology Today. That can cause us to make choices that don’t honor our self care.
Shame. The big S word. Shame can actually be a really big factor when it comes to self care.
Not taking care of ourselves in the way we feel like we should can be a source of shame. Even more, on a deep level it can make us wonder if we even really deserve to take the time to care for ourselves. Especially when it means saying no in other places.
A lot of us were raised in settings that used shame as a tool to keep us from doing the ‘wrong’ thing. It’s not hard to imagine that little shame voice might follow us through the years as we learn to live healthy lives.
Even if we start strong with what may seem like reasonable goals, we could hit a bad day and fail. When that happens we may feel like giving up altogether.
Self care isn’t being spoiled. The first thing that might pop into someone’s mind when the words ‘self care’ comes up is a spa day. Maybe it’s treating yourself to a really nice dinner or a new outfit.
While for some a special new thing might be self care, for others it might encourage bad spending behavior.
Self care isn’t just treating yourself to whatever you happen to want at whatever moment. It’s not spoiling your inner child.
It’s carefully figuring out what will help you lead a healthier life. And it can look different for everyone.
Why is Self Care so Important?
As things have gotten much more hectic and stressful in the world, we’ve had to figure out how to manage our time, emotions, and health along with it.
Self care is so very important because at its simplest it’s taking care of you!
This body is the only one you have. The better you take care of it, the better it will last. It can mean basic hygiene and brushing your teeth or exercising regularly. As your body is your ‘self’, this is self care in its most physical form.
Aside from taking care of your body, your mind and emotional self needs care, too!
Learning methods of dealing with stress, organizing your time, seeing a therapist, whatever it may be this is all self care. Your internal self is so very important and again, you deserve to care for you. It can help you get through rough times and learn to live up to your full potential.
None of us can care for anyone else when we aren’t caring for ourselves. We can’t be fully present with friends, at work, or in our own projects. It helps us but trickles out to those around us.
And at the end of the day, self care is important because you are important!
25 Self Care Tips
New Years always comes with that feeling of a fresh slate. Whether we start the year with a bold resolution or a quiet idea, it’s a great opportunity to try something positive. With that, let’s look at 25 tips that you can carry with you into this upcoming new year to make the most of your self care!
1. Drink water when you wake up. One of the biggest things we can do to start the day off right is reach for a glass of water.
Most of us wake up dehydrated which leaves us feeling groggy and out of sorts. Hydrating first thing - yes, even before that cup of coffee - can help set the tone for a good, healthy day.
2. Start the day with something nice. How many of us hit snooze again and again only to find ourselves rushing at the very last minute? It doesn’t help us start the day on the right foot.
By developing a routine or even small morning ritual of our first cup of coffee listening to a favorite tune, it can help us greet the day with positivity.
3. Write down things you’re grateful for. Studies have shown that by practicing gratitude, it actually can help us feel happier, more optimistic, and better overall.
By writing down what you’re thankful for every day in a place such as a gratitude journal, it builds a habit of positivity.
4. Try a new active routine. Many of us have a hard time doing the same fitness routine over and over. Burn out happens. Additionally, by doing the same thing over and over we may be missing certain areas.
Trying something new, like a new yoga class or that rock climbing wall you’ve been eyeing, can help keep things fun and your body adaptable.
5. Plan a get together for no reason. We are accustomed to gathering around the Thanksgiving table or seeing distant Aunt Gertrude at the holidays. It can be great to plan a small get together without the pressure of a holiday ‘event’.
Whether watching a season finale or hosting some in-home karaoke, make plans to connect and have fun with those you care about. And make sure to put it in the calendar!
6. Make a menu for your week. Eating healthy sounds easy enough until it’s dinner time, we’re exhausted, and nothing sounds good.
Making a menu for the week means we can prepare what we need and what we will be making ahead of time. So when dinner comes and we just don’t feel like anything sounds good, a pre-planned meal takes some of the effort off our plate.
7. Plan a regular sleep routine. Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate, release toxins, and builds neural highways. However the majority of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. Spoiler alert: that’s not enough.
By planning a regular sleep routine - yes, complete with bed time - it can help your body know when it’s time to rest.
8. 5 minutes of quiet. Whether you practice meditation, mindfulness, or journaling, give yourself at least 5 minutes a day to decompress.
We are constantly on the go, and our brains need time to settle. We need time to sort through our thoughts and feelings, and starting with even 5 minutes a day can be a great place to start!
9. Stand and move for at least 30 minutes a day. Many of us who work office jobs spend a lot of time sitting. Sitting and staring into the void of a monitor screen.
The body, however, wasn’t meant to be stationary. You were meant to move, baby! So if you can’t get a full workout in - and many of us can’t - even standing and moving, walking, or stretching can do wonders for our body and mental health.
10. Try something new. Your brain is a complex and amazing machine, and it craves a challenge.
A lot of us will fall into the same mental routine every day, but to keep top brain health we’ve gotta use it. Doing something new like playing a new puzzle, learning a language, or even taking a different route to an old place, can give your brain the spice it wants.
11. Journaling. Letting your mind wander freely on paper, known as stream of consciousness, is a great way to give voice to things that you may be feeling or dealing with.
Fears, stresses, negativities. Whatever they may be, journaling is a great way to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel without being overwhelmed.
12. Keep a written calendar/planner. Many of us are all digital from email to meetings to calendars. However, there are so many benefits to keeping a written planner.
The physical act of writing helps cement things into our minds, so we are able to better connect with things we put to pen to paper.
With a physical planner we can have a full calendar laid out before us. This actually can help us to get a better sense of how busy we are and what our time looks like.
Additionally with the help of a Self Care Planner, specifically designed with self care in mind, you can work on your self care in a guided and tangible way.
13. Grow something. Plants have been shown to be hugely therapeutic. They brighten up your space and give you something low maintenance to care for.
As an extra bonus, certain plants can add flavor and flourish to your meals! Dill, lavender, basil, and mint, are just some examples of plants that also make wonderful additions to food and drinks.
14. Connect to your senses. So many times we rush through our days, our meals, from one place to another that we don’t even experience the things around us.
Taking a moment to stop and really pay attention to our senses can help us connect to the moment. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What does your food really taste like?
It’s a wonderful way to bring mindfulness into your life day to day.
15. Volunteer, even a little! Doing for others has been shown to be great for your mental health and emotional wellness. It lets us feel like we’re making a difference and allows us to do some good in the world. Plus it helps others and builds community! It’s truly a win win.
Even if it’s just one hour a month, find a cause that matters to you and volunteer in some way.
16. Lighten your load. No, really. Your backpack, your bag, your purse they could all be actually hurting you. If you’re carrying too much, your back and shoulders could be crying for mercy.
Plus carrying heavy weight unevenly for an extended amount of time can throw off our postures, how we walk, and hurt us in the long run.
17. Sit down and eat dinner. It may seem like an old idea, but having a family dinner - whatever your family looks like to you - is a great way to connect and share your day.
Even if you have dinner by yourself, it’s a great time to disconnect from the phone and computer. Let yourself enjoy your meal and take in the moment.
18. Pay attention to that posture. A lot of us who work on the computer tend to lean forward to get closer to what we’re doing. We also tend to slouch in our chairs. All of this is horrible for our posture, and believe it or not posture matters.
When you hold yourself in bad posture, it puts strain on parts of your body that aren’t used to the position. It can cause strain, damage, and make tense areas worse.
Think about how you’re sitting now. Are your shoulders forward? Are you slouching? Think of your head being pulled up as if by a string. Think of your shoulder blades meeting in the back. Do this enough, and little by little your posture will improve.
19. Find the foods and exercise that work for you. Maybe you don’t like kale or quinoa. Maybe yoga isn’t your jam. That’s okay! Not everyone’s self care routine will look the same.
Work with your doctor or healthcare professional to find out what your body needs and how to make it work with what works for you. You’ll be able to do and eat the things you enjoy way more regularly than the things you don’t.
20. Spend some time offline. With the amount of time we spend glued to screens, it can be hard to break away from it. However it’s important to be able to take time away from the constant activity, work, and social media to detox.
Putting up boundaries with your job, with friends and family, and yourself to give yourself space away from tech is important. It can also give you the opportunity to focus on other passions and pursuits!
21. Eat regularly. When we’re really busy, it’s easy to skip meals. However, eating regularly helps give you - body and brain - the fuel you need to keep going throughout the day.
Additionally, When you’re used to a food schedule it helps with hunger. Your body begins to know when to expect food.
22. Set boundaries. It can be hard, but setting boundaries is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Like you’ve taken on way more than you can handle? We all have, and it’s really easy to do.
Saying ‘no’ is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others!
It’s vital to give yourself the space you need to rest. It’s also much better to take on only the things that you have the space for and do them well than to take on too much and only half-manage it.
23. Spend some time outside. Even if it's just for a little bit every day, research shows that spending time outside can do wonders for our health physically and mentally.
Get some fresh air. Catch some vitamin D if the sun is out. Take a walk. Whatever it is you choose to do, give yourself a little time to enjoy the outdoors.
24. Take a nap. They’re not just for kindergarteners! In a world where so many of us are overworked and underslept, getting a little extra shut-eye can be an amazing way to give ourselves a little self care.
Studies have shown that 20 minutes is the prime amount of time for a little lie down. After that amount of time, we wake up refreshed and ready to go! So go ahead and let yourself rest a bit.
25. Get crafty. There is something about working with your hands that is engaging and relaxing in a different way. It engages our brain and our body and allows us to do something enjoyable.
Whether you color, knit, crochet, woodwork, or anything else, doing something crafty helps us take space to create and be in the moment.
However it is you choose to care for yourself in this upcoming year, we hope that you will take the time to show yourself you’re worth it! Because you are.
If you are looking for a guided self care experience, check out the Self Care Planner. Whether you choose any of the above or come up with your own ways to self care, we’d love to see! Tag us on social media @ LovetPlanners.
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