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9 Ways to Practice Self-Care for a Better You

For this year’s New Year’s resolutions, focus on overall health and wellness, making yourself a priority. Here are nine ways to practice self-care for a better you. The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental and emotional health, our stress levels, and our self-love. By focusing on self-care this year, you can build your physical and mental strength. Practice these self-care tips throughout the year to build your self-esteem and confidence.

The trick about self-care is that it’s all about practice. When was the last time you made yourself a priority? It can often feel like there are more important things to think about or do. But it’s equally important to take time for yourself—take a breath and focus inward. Self-care is the effort of putting yourself first. We hope these self-care suggestions give you a daily dose of happiness and peace.

9 Ways to Practice Self-Care for a Better You

  1. Focus on getting enough sleep.

Sleep can have a huge effect on your emotional and physical state. Consider your nightly routine and ways to improve. Try to avoid caffeine and sugar before bed. Make sure your bedroom is dark—blackout shades are life changing! Stay away from your computer, phone, and tablet before bed. The stress of being an adult, especially during a global pandemic, can sometimes mean it’s harder to self-soothe compared to when we were children. Find ways to relax and decompress. Listen to music, read a book, or meditate. Above all, establish a sleep schedule. Go to bed the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning. This steady routine will help you stick to the schedule and get plenty of rest.


  1. Eat healthy and get into a self-care eating routine.

Eating healthy can boost your energy level, improve your physical health, and enhance your overall happiness as a result. Try to eat healthy meals regularly. Create a schedule and eat meals at the same time each day. Avoid eating or snacking after 7pm because your body is less likely to break down and process the food. Take care of yourself by taking care of your food health.


  1. Say yes to fun activities weekly without the guilt.

Put yourself first and do things that make you happy every week. Avoid guilt-tripping yourself like, “I should be working” or “I could be cleaning.” Push aside those negative thoughts and make yourself a priority. Do things that you love like reading, bicycling, watching your favorite movie, eating dessert in bed, tuning in to a virtual concert on your laptop. Set aside time to have fun!


  1. Make a list of fun to-dos each month.

If you love lists and checking boxes, this self-care practice is for you! Journal a list of activities you want to do each month. By listing them out, you’ll be more likely to do them. Cross them off or check the box every time you finish one. Create a list of activities big and small. For example, here is a possible list for February: eat a piece of chocolate cake, join a virtual fun run, have a friend over for socially-distant catch up, watch a favorite movie, sleep in on Saturdays, knit a scarf. Don’t make a crazy list you can’t finish. Instead, try listing activities that are simple, easy, and fun. When you look at the completed list, you’ll feel good knowing you devoted time to self-care.


  1. Make time for self-care trips.

Take a self-care trip every now and then to disconnect and rejuvenate. Whether you go on a big bucket list trip or a mini road trip, a self-care vacation can make a big difference in your mental health and wellness. Schedule weekends when you can get away. Just make sure to check that the locations you want to visit are open. Unwind by visiting a beach or find peace in nature by hiking in a state park. Even taking a trip to another local town helps you escape your regular routine. Boost your health and happiness with some dedicated self-care time.


  1. Show up for others to build a healthy community.

An important part of self-care is providing support to others. If you want positive, healthy support from others, you also need to reciprocate. Healthy relationships are two-way. By giving and receiving, you will build a healthy community of friends and family who care. They will show up for you when you need them. Self-care isn’t about isolating yourself. It’s about giving time to yourself as well as spending time with others who build your confidence, self-esteem, and healthy mindset. You will also feel good when you provide support to someone else.


Doing something kind for someone else is a great way to provide support. Surprise a friend or romantic partner with a thoughtful gift, such as the Book of Us®. This custom book about love is full of kind, sentimental messages that will make your loved ones feel special and valued.


  1. Create a hygge space in your home that’s just for you.

Design a corner or small spot in your home that has all your favorite things. Create your space with “hygge” in mind. If you haven’t come across the hygge trend yet, “hygge” is a Danish word—without a direct translation—that generally means a feeling of cozy contentment and enjoying the simple things. Embrace hygge by designing a spot in your home with warm blankets, a good book, candles, hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, twinkling lights, pictures of friends and family, and self-care products like nail polish, face masks, and body lotion. This inviting space will encourage you to relax and enjoy a few self-care hours in cozy happiness.


  1. Find a creative outlet.

Discover a creative activity you love that also helps release emotions. Self-expressive activities focus your mind, pushing out negative or persistent thoughts. They also help manage stress. If you are looking for a creative outlet, you can paint, draw, crochet, craft, write poetry, or take up an instrument. Express yourself creatively to work out problems, cope with stress, and embrace the beauty all around you.


  1. Schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Counselors can help teach mindfulness and self-talk techniques for making a better you. Therapy isn’t just for those who are experiencing extreme anxiety or depression. Therapy is for everyone, to help establish a positive state of mind and to handle day-to-day frustrations—or the enormity of a pandemic—a little lighter. Speaking with a counselor is self-care for your mind and emotions. Consider therapy to build an even greater love for yourself and those around you.


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How to Live Your Best Life Right Now

If you’re looking for ways to live your best life right now, these tips will help you embrace love and happiness. There’s no time like the present to start living your life to the fullest! Don’t settle for less. You deserve the very best. Life is an experience that you can create. Do you feel like you aren’t living every day excited and motivated? Do you get in a negative rut? If you’re looking for a change, these life tips will help you move forward in a positive direction.

Give yourself an hour in the morning, an hour at night.

Everyone needs a little “me time.” Do whatever you like best an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Set aside that time—set up an alarm on your phone if you need the reminder. People often get the most done early in the morning. Get up a little earlier and accomplish something for YOU: meditate, work out, journal, listen to music, sip coffee while watching an episode of your favorite TV show. In the evening, do the same but switch up the activity: read a book, listen to a podcast, clean a bedroom or bathroom, cook a favorite meal, chat with a friend, play a computer game, enjoy an at-home mud mask facial. Whatever you want! It’s important to spend time on yourself—you deserve it!

Take social media breaks.

Social media can be a fun, creative outlet to connect with friends. But it’s also the source of mean comments, tragic news stories, and brag posts. Take a break from social media each week, and spend time connecting with family and friends in person. While it’s important to stay in tune with news and events, it’s equally important to have some “breathing time.” Disconnect from your devices for a while. Get outside and engage with nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature helps relieve stress and anxiety. Ditch the tech for a bit and escape the social media “noise” with a relaxing nature walk.

Go on a bucket list adventure.

If you want to start living your best life, go on that crazy travel adventure you’ve always wanted! We get it—life gets in the way. It’s so easy to put off that big trip and stick it in the “someday” folder. But travel is often the ultimate “reset,” giving you time to unwind and re-energize. Visiting a new place can be the exciting change you need. Cross a long-awaited trip off your bucket list and live to your fullest right now!

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Make someone else happy.

Nothing gives you a bigger boost of joy and love than making someone else happy—without expecting anything in return. Think of small things you can do to brighten the day of those around you. Send a video message to a friend. Compliment a neighbor. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line. Create a personalized book for a loved one, with loving messages, photos, and personalized characters that resemble you both! The Book of Us™ is a special keepsake that delivers joyful smiles. These small acts of kindness will put you on a path to living your best life right now!

Start or resume hobbies that you love.

Begin fun activities that you’ll love doing on a regular basis! People often mock the phrase “I can’t adult today” but #adulting is hard! Responsibilities mount, and we often abandon hobbies or activities in order to multitask everything else. Oh for the college days with a cafeteria full of prepared meals, a two-day class schedule, and a dorm bathroom that someone else cleans! But now is the time to pick up your violin and start playing again; take up crocheting or cross-stitching; resume your favorite college sport (maybe join a community team); or set aside time to read every week. Living your best life means doing things that you love!

Stop worrying what everyone thinks about you.

It’s hard not to get in our own heads. But part of living your best life is focusing on you, loving yourself, and concentrating on what matters most. Nobody else is living your life. Only YOU can know what is best for you. When you start overthinking or focusing on others’ opinions, do something to jolt yourself into the present—take a walk, listen to music, sketch in a journal. A therapist once told me that when negative thoughts start flowing, tap your wrist or bounce in your work chair to redirect your brain’s attention. Stimulation and activity, however small, can refocus your mind. Meditation is also a great tool for centering yourself, shutting out negative thoughts, and finding peace.

Practice positive self-talk.

Loving yourself takes time and practice. The more you treat yourself as a best friend, the more you’ll welcome love and joy into your life. Beating yourself up all the time can be wearing. Try to repeat positive affirmations about yourself each morning in the mirror. Give yourself a hug—this one can be kind of embarrassing, but sometimes we need the physical act to really feel self-love. Your journey toward living life to the fullest begins with fully loving and accepting your whole self.

Forget resolutions. Make self-care life goals.

Resolutions can feel restrictive and demanding. But self-care goals are positive objectives with a focus on bettering yourself. Set goals you would like to achieve each year, but don’t put pressure on yourself to fulfill them. These life goals might include working out more, eating healthy / changing your lifestyle habits (take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary!), getting one-hour extra sleep a week, making an effort to chat with friends regularly, traveling—or something as broad as wanting to bring more happiness and joy into your life. By setting positive, flexible goals you can achieve, you’ll feel motivated and confident to make positive changes.

Release whatever (or whoever) is weighing you down.

Take the time to organize your life. It feels so good to clean and declutter your living space, getting rid of junk and useless items that are weighing you down. Donate clothes and shoes you never wear. Sell or donate that furniture you inherited when those items no longer fit your living situation or match your style. The same goes with people. Purge those toxic relationships that fill your life with negative energy—a relative that always makes snide comments or a friend that asks you for endless support without giving in return. Time to let it all go. Once you get rid of that dead weight, you can move forward with a free, clear mindset. ​