Self-Care in the New Year (Article and Infographic)
I can feel the immense sigh of relief that 2020 has come to an end. Many of us see some light through the gloom, looking toward the New Year and the hopes it brings with it. That doesn't mean that the emphasis we’ve recently put on self-care needs to decrease. If anything, diligence when it comes to caring for ourselves must continue, to an even greater extent while we try to rebuild our futures into we can be proud of. If we, as Americans, now see the wounds that were trying to hide like bedsores. Now that COVID-19 has ripped the dressings off, self-care is the only way to continue to heal ourselves and those around us.
Start the New Year by Taking Care of Yourself First.
It’s being on an airplane and putting your mask on first. Burnout, depression, and anxiety are at an all-time high. And I know most of our readers are caregivers in one way or another. Whether it’s parenting (hardest job EVER), working in the human-services sector, or being present for friends and family, or educating, none of us can keep it up forever without investing in ourselves. The mental, physical, and emotional health of millions of the world is at stake, both from within themselves and without.
10 Ways to Care for Yourself in 2021
1. Practicing Mindfulness. According to the article “3 Definitions of Mindfulness that Might Surprise You” on the Psychology Today blog, the most appropriate definition is “the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.” Being mindful in the simplest terms is being fully present when and where you are—there plenty of different mindfulness exercises from which to choose.
4. Music is another tool for caring for yourself. Listen to it. Sing along with the track or “dance it out.” Dancing is a beautiful way to engage the body, brain, and soul. All of these are beneficial as we try to recuperate from 2020 and usher in a New Year of joy. So, dance for how much better this year has the potential to be than last. And the exercise, of course.
5. Dress-Up for Just for Yourself, no-one else. Do your make-up, or have an at-home spa night, just because you feel like it. Not to go out (most of us aren’t doing THAT, anyway) or to go to work, but to feel good. Getting pampered feels good and is fun. If you usually go to the salon for your pedicure, I promise doing it at home is gratifying, too. Be kind to yourself.
5. Commit an Act of Kindness. No, not the expected kind or of which you are obliged to do. Something purely to get a smile from someone else. The sort of smile that even though you can’t see, you can feel. You can’t buy happiness, and finances are in dire straits. Handwrite a letter and send it snail mail. It’s so much more personal than email. You can make something for a friend, a handicraft or a handmade card reverberates with more love than something you purchased. You planned, got supplies, and likely learned new things when you spent your time creating it. It’s priceless.
9. Read a Good Book. Escape to somebody else’s world, or, if fantasy is your genre, a different world altogether. Read something just because you want to, not because you need to. Reading engages our brain and increases knowledge and increases knowledge, vocabulary, and writing skills. Your literacy increases. All while you are taking a mini “stay-cation” between the pages of your book.
10. Learn Something New. Is there anything you’ve been wanting to learn but haven’t had the chance? Maybe there is a subject area that you have always found intriguing. It could be a hobby like gardening, painting, DIY projects for your home, or maybe crochet. Yes, crochet is for all ages. You can even learn with your child.
Learning and creating are gratifying. You may be surprised when you look back on how much you have learned. When you see what you have made, it is rewarding, and again when you show your new skill off to your friends and family.
Self-Care is Essential to Healing
It is important to reiterate just how important self-care is, to all of us. Nobody else can have more of an effect on you than you can. The world cannot heal without us. We are collectively hurting. Before we can implement collective healing, we must begin the journey toward mending on our own. Without self-care, caring for anyone else won't be productive or effective.
Please, take care. You are loved.
“You are your best thing” ~ Toni Morrison