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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.