By Alison Wood, Contributing Writer
2020 has been a difficult year for everyone around the world. Many of us feel weary from losses we have suffered, both personal and financial, new responsibilities, and worries about the future. As we approach January 1, however, our hopes rise for a better year ahead, and our attention turns to making New Year’s resolutions.
This year though, rather than setting a series of difficult tasks that you will probably let lapse by early January, you can make resolutions that celebrate your own self-care. Instead of giving up things or setting unachievable goals, commit to making small changes that will add up to a happier, healthier 2021.
Health and wellness
As the New Year dawns, a topic many people focus on is their health. While this is a great area to place your attention, it’s vital not to set yourself up to fail. If you want to do more exercise, rather than signing up for a gym membership, start slow and commit to taking more steps every day. This doesn’t have to be the 10,000 daily steps goal we often hear about as being good for our health; it could just be a daily short walk so that you get out in nature. Walking is a great way to improve your health. It can reduce obesity and the risks of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even depression. Plus, it’s an attainable goal. If you start slow, you are more likely to stick to your new way of life permanently.
The same is true for eating better. Instead of cutting out all the things you love to eat and making yourself miserable, make some easy swaps. Start eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and drinking more water. As you fill up on the good things, you will be less likely to reach for less healthy snacks.
Focus on your emotional health
Better health isn’t just about our bodies; it’s also about how we feel about our lives on a day-to-day basis. If you are a caregiver, do you have all the support you need? If not, see if you can reach out to friends and family or consider some professional in-home care support.
Are you taking enough time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, such as hobbies, exercise, or meeting up with friends? Learning to slow down and relax can also be a big boost to our emotional wellness. Taking up yoga, meditation, or exploring mindfulness can reduce stress and improve health. If you feel you have a lot on your mind but no one to talk to, journaling can help to fill the void. Once you have things out of your head and down on paper, it will be easier to process your thoughts. As such, consider establishing a morning routine that incorporates some of these elements as a New Year’s resolution.
Celebrate the small wins
When it comes to self-care, you need to build things you enjoy into your day. Make taking time for yourself a non-negotiable priority, so you are as well-looked after as the people around you. Although this can be difficult, you need to realize that no one else is going to step in and do it for you. Relaxation is as important to our wellbeing as meeting a whole set of goals, and while it’s important to feel motivated, it’s also vital to take time to rest.
While might seem to be a cliché, gratitude really can make a difference in how we feel about our lives. A gratitude journal or gratitude jar can be a great place to start appreciate your blessings. Even just turning things around in your head and with your thoughts can be effective. As you consider the year, the month, or the day ahead, always look for what you are grateful for first rather than dwelling on your worries. It can make a huge difference in how you feel about the time ahead.
Be kind to yourself
Above all, be kind to yourself this January. There might be things you want to change about yourself or your life, but pat yourself on the back for getting through a year that has been so difficult. Before you even set goals and resolutions for 2021, first make a list of things you are proud of regarding yourself and your life right now. Include the very small things, right through to the biggest achievements, and you might be surprised just how far you have come.