It’s almost a brand new year, and I think it’s time we start thinking about how to re-start self care for 2022. Ever since 2020, life hasn’t been what it was. The pandemic really hit a lot of people hard in a variety of ways, and our lives have changed, for better or worse. And I’m not sure we’ll ever go back to “normal” as normal once was. I mean, I want us to stop wearing face masks and not worry about vaccines and vaccines passports or certificates or whatever, but I don’t think all of that is going to magically disappear in 2022. However, I do see things getting better because things have been getting better, and a new year is always connected to the idea and feeling of hope. I know many of us having been feeling isolated and even a little hopeless at times, and with a new year upon us, it really is the perfect time to start re-thinking your self care.
I’ve talked before about how sometimes we need to switch up our self care. That adding in something or just doing something different for a day can really re-set us and bring about a change in our mood and levels of stress. Life changes, we change, our self care needs to change too. So here are some ways you can re-start your self care in the new year, to better support yourself.
Discontinue Practices that You Don’t Love
Are you doing something you don’t love? Perhaps you’ve grown tired of running outdoors. Try joining a gym class instead. Exercise has shown to have mental health benefits, so don’t discontinue your workout altogether, but rather switch it up. Keep it fun and interesting. If there is a hobby you feel less passionate about or perhaps don’t have time for, change it up. Instead of bullet journalling, use a five minute journal. Paint mini pieces instead of larger ones. You get the idea. Quitting things you don’t love is one way to re-start self care this year.
Try Something New
Is there something you could try to improve your self care? Perhaps some alone time in a hot bath? Or getting out into nature? Do it! Bundle up, go for a walk, take a camera with you maybe. Or lock the bathroom door and get into a warm bath with bubbles and just be. Trying something new can really enliven us, and it’s always important to take that time to simply be engaged in something meaningful or soothing so that you can just relax.
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Remember, It’s Okay to Say No
As lockdowns have ended and restrictions have lifted, people have begun socializing again. And it’s been exciting being able to go out for a drink or dinner and to have friends over. But remember, if you are overextended because of work or just not feeling it, it is still okay to say no and turn down invites. Especially after the holidays when we’ve likely been visiting and partying a bit more than usual anyway.
Keep Up with What You Love
Personally, I really love crocheting and reading so these are self care hobbies I’ll never give up. If you have a hobby you are passionate about, and really love, take the time for that hobby. Whether it’s taking pictures, yoga, painting or reading, keeping up with these activities is so important. Hobbies keep us connected to ourselves and give our lives a sense of meaning outside of work and family care, which reduces stress and helps us feel happier, are a perfect way to re-start your self care practices this year. If you don’t have a hobby…find one. Netflix doesn’t count.
Take Time to Reflect and Evaluate
Take some time to sit down and think about your life. What are areas you are unhappy in? Do you have control over them? What can you do to improve things? If you feel like you spend too much at work, is there a way to reduce your hours? Possibly by not taking work home with you? If you feel like you need more time to yourself, could you find a way to make that happen? Taking time to reflect and then finding solutions to some of the areas of your life that are causing extra stress or that you can improve to be happier is often a lot easier than you think. If you feel like you need more time with your partner, make date nights a priority.
The New Year is a great time to sit back, pause and re-set. While resolutions are not necessary, it is possible to just circle back to the beginning of your self care practices and keep what works, change or discontinue what doesn’t and try new things. It’s also important to spend that time thinking about what you enjoy, what you need and want and what is causing stress and how to manage that work-life balance so that your self care can really support your mental health and continue to be a way that you show yourself you love yourself. Making yourself important is…more important than we think it is, so don’t forget that you matter.