The New Year is traditionally a time to slow down, assess our lives, and press reset on our self-care routines. It feels like this time around, we need it more than usual. Though it may feel like we’re carrying a little more of the world’s baggage with us than in past years, we can all find comfort in the familiar practice of taking stock of the ways we care for ourselves and adjusting course to meet new goals.
Putting together a list of New Year’s Resolutions may feel like an overwhelming challenge after everything we’ve experienced in 2020, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Every new beginning is an opportunity to embrace what we care most about and let go of what we don't need. As a helpful start, we created this list of eight simple tips for starting a self care routine in the new year.
1. Do self care your way
As we go about creating our own self care routines it is important to remember that, at its core, practicing self care is about attuning ourselves to what we need in order to be our best selves, and then setting up healthy goals and boundaries that help us keep going even when it is hard. And that can look different for everyone.
For some people, self care activities could involve doing yoga every day or curating a multi-step skincare routine. For others, it could be setting up a monthly budget to ensure financial stability, prioritizing an early bedtime, or saying goodbye to a toxic relationship. In this way, self care is about making choices for how you will treat yourself and spend your time that prioritize your wellbeing. Let this be the permission you’ve been waiting for.
2. Prioritize sleep
You have probably already heard that your self care routine should prioritize sleep, and that’s because it is backed by science. Getting a good night’s sleep helps foster emotional and mental resilience and is the foundation of a self care routine that will set you up for success in your waking hours.
It can be easy to feel like snoozing your alarm a few times in the morning or taking an afternoon nap are selfish actions, but listening to your body and resting when it’s tired is one of the most helpful things you can do for your family and community. When you’re well rested and cared for, you can show up for others as your best self. So the next time that you’re yawning in the evening and convinced by the darkness that it must be midnight, listen to your urge to rest even if the clock says it’s barely eight o’clock. Winter is for hibernating after all.
3. Soothe with scents
A simple addition to your self care routine is finding a ritual you can turn to when you need to reset your mood. Lighting a candle, watching the soft flame flicker, and taking deep breaths of a relaxing scent is a reliable way to center yourself in a stressful moment or after a challenging day.
We love lighting a Tranquility Aromatherapy Candle in our own home to inspire an immediate sense of calm, bliss or harmony. Just like hugging a loved one after a long absence or watching a favorite movie, scents have the ability to bring comfort and calm to our minds.
4. Get your body moving
Adding a daily movement practice to your self care routine can help rejuvenate your body and mind leaving you feeling energized and focused. And the great part is, there is no one exercise or movement practice that is better than another... you can find what works for you each day.
Finding self care activities you actually enjoy and can return to again and again is much more valuable for your routine than going for something particularly challenging or flashy. That means you could start adding moving into your weeks with a hike (or snowshoe) on your favorite trail, longer walks outside, or going for a bike ride. For chillier days, find ways to practice movement inside by stretching, doing simple yoga, or dancing to some energizing music. Beyond its physical benefits, adding movement to your self care routine will feel energizing and like an accomplishment in and of itself.
5. Nourish yourself
In the midst of stress, it can be easy to forget to give ourselves nourishing meals throughout the day, especially if we are focused on a myriad of worries and responsibilities. The beauty of eating healthy, nutritious foods is that our body and mood both get a boost and we feel the benefits almost immediately.
One easy self care tip is to give yourself time to cook something special every once in a while that can give you nutrients and last you a few days. This could be trying a new recipe you've seen or indulging in a homecooked favorite you haven't made in a while. The extra 30 minutes or hour it takes will be worth it when your entire being gives you a generous thank you, and it's a wonderful way to slow down and enjoy preparing a meal. Be sure to silence notifications and get your favorite playlist going!
6. Create relaxing routines
Getting ready for work and winding down to sleep are routines you probably don't think twice about, yet they offer wonderful opportunities to reflect and unwind during the day. By paying special attention to these moments, and enhancing them with small rituals, you can transform tired obligations into relaxing parts of your self care routine.
We love the way our Morning Calm gift set can help you turn a rushed shower into a rejuvenating ritual by filling your bathroom with a candle’s glow and lovely aromatic shower steamers. Or, for a calm evening before bed, let a serenity candle burn while you recline in a warm bath with moisturizing bath tea. Once you’re dry and the massage oil from the candle has cooled to a comfortable temperature, give yourself a gentle massage to further soothe your muscles.
Turning everyday responsibilities into relaxing self care activities makes your day more interesting and fulfilling. It's no surprise that you’ll be able to find opportunities for relaxation and mindfulness everywhere you look.
7. Welcome joy
During periods of suffering and uncertainty like the one we’re experiencing now, it can seem like allowing ourselves to feel happiness and joy would be insensitive, and so some people may notice themselves dampening their positive emotions out of a sense that we should all be feeling sad. If you notice yourself doing that, you’re not alone. Self care tips include simple actions like gentle reminders to yourself that it’s okay (and often necessary) to let yourself feel cheerful even in the midst of sorrow.
So break out the silly cat videos for a giggle every now and then, let yourself jump for joy when you get good news, and spend some time talking on the phone with friends that get those big belly laughs out of you. We all deserve to feel a little joy right now.
8. Be kind to yourself
Even if you ignore all the rest of the items on this list, consider practicing this one. Being kind to yourself is paramount to any good self care routine. Remember that self care is a practice, and you’re not going to be perfect at it. When you slip up, give yourself the gift of forgiveness. We also like to practice gratitude, and forgiveness of others, as part of taking care of ourselves. It is amazing the positive impact these can have on you and everyone around you.
All of these self care tips bring much needed attention and compassion to our well-being during this difficult time. Of course, each of us will find our own path towards the self care routine that works best for our needs. And we hope these ideas bring you peace in the new year. If you've found more strategies that are helping you, we'd love to hear them!
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