Taking better care of yourself is the true gateway to the truest, happiest, and most authentic version of yourself. Here are 15 self-care ideas to live your best life this year.
The importance of choosing yourself and better taking care of yourself to become more of who you are meant to be in this post-lockdown season is more relevant today than ever.
As we are all busy rebuilding the foundations of who we are, and preparing ourselves for new possibilities, I invite you to get off the New Year resolution treadmill.
Instead of resolving to do something drastic for the sake of it, resolve to be someone this year, and show up for yourself in a fun, loving, and compassionate manner right now.
With that in mind, here are 15 ways to better take care of yourself to help you make this year your best year yet, including taking care of your body and your mind, as well as tips to deal with stress and negativity that you may encounter along the way.
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1. Accept yourself as you are right now
It can be easy to think that if you just change something about yourself, like your weight or even just one thing about your life, everything else will fall into place. But truthfully, in order to get where you want to go in life, you have to accept who you are right now.
In some areas of your life it’s great to set goals and work towards achieving them. But when it comes to accepting yourself as a whole person and loving who you are today, this is more than just an idea; it’s essential self-care.
Only by accepting and celebrating who we are right now can we take steps towards changing things that need changing in our lives.
2. Deepen your spiritual practice
Whatever your beliefs (or non-beliefs), a spiritual practice is a way to focus on yourself and your connection with God or a higher power. Taking care of yourself spiritually can deepen your sense of gratitude for life and open up feelings of well-being.
Research suggests that regularly taking part in spiritual or religious practises in a healthy way can help you feel less lonely, better able to cope with stress, be more confident about your decision-making abilities and even improve your memory.
Take time out of each day to pray and engage in quiet reflection; use that time to reflect on gratitude for what you have in your life. You can also deepen your spiritual practice by performing random acts of kindness or getting involved in service work. When you serve others from a place of humility and self-love, you allow your soul and humanity to heal and grow.
3. Take time to discover your life calling
If you don’t know what your calling is, it may seem impossible to work towards it. Think about how much more powerful your actions would be if you were pursuing something you truly believed in and are passionate about.
You might have to try a lot of different things before finding that sweet spot where you feel alive and empowered. The problem with most people is they think their life calling has to appear fully formed.
Discovering your purpose is a process. It’s all about finding the activities that you do with the least amount of effort and/or that bring great joy and meaning to your life. Your life purpose is something that you genuinely enjoy doing whether you get paid for it or not. Why not take a methodical approach?
Start doing those things that make you feel alive and happy even if there is immediate financial reward attached to it. For some people, raising children is their life calling in the same way that someone might fulfil his/her life calling to connect with people by working as a talk show host, a pastor, a teacher, or an artist.
4. Get a life coach
A life coach is a great way to hold yourself accountable and make sure you stick to your goals, especially if they’re related to making positive changes in your life, health, or career. A professional will help keep you on track as you’re going through that initial rough patch, which is often when we give up on our goals.
Not only that, but working with someone who is well-versed in dealing with change can keep you from abandoning your resolutions when things get tough. Finally, it’s easier for a professional to help identify patterns of behaviour (both good and bad) so you can create healthier habits that stick around for longer than just a season.
5. Ditch toxic positivity. Release your emotional wounds
Many people subscribe to a philosophy called toxic positivity, which basically says that you should always talk yourself up and never mention any negative things. This can be great for encouraging people to make positive changes, but if you’re trying to take care of yourself, it’s important to know that feeling negative about something or someone doesn’t make you weak.
In fact, ditching toxic positivity might be one of your most powerful ways to better take care of yourself. Negative emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, envy, unforgiveness, and sadness serve as a sign that something is wrong or out of balance in our lives.
They hold information and often contain a lesson or advice on how we can improve our situation. So, pay attention to life whispers and be willing to make the necessary life improvements that you need to enjoy a fulfilling life.
6. Take charge of your own happiness
You are in charge of your happiness, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Happiness often looks different for each person. It’s important to recognise what makes you happy and to allow yourself to experience that emotion.
It’s easy to compare your life with others and wish you had more but at some point, you have to learn to be happy with what you have. It is never too late or too early to take control over your life and happiness levels; do so today!
Make a list of everything that makes you happy, whether it’s spending quality time with family, having a spa break, or running a marathon. Make sure these goals are on your list so that every day, you can pick one thing from your list and really focus on making it happen.
7. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can dramatically change your outlook on life. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your environment to ensure you have more healthy, encouraging interactions.
If all of your relationships are with negative or toxic people, now is a good time to reevaluate your friendships and seek out healthier ones. Be sure to use positive words when speaking with others, avoiding toxic language that may prevent you from achieving your goals.
Instead of saying I feel fat or I failed that test, try replacing those statements with something empowering like: I have more weight to lose before I hit my goal weight, but I will do it!
8. Embrace rejection for self-improvement
In order to better take care of yourself, you have to embrace rejection. You will have moments when you are rejected by others, situations that challenge your sense of self-worth.
When these moments occur, it is important to remember what led you to improve yourself in hopes that you can keep going despite feeling hurt. Don’t let others’ opinions define your self-worth. Instead listen to what they are saying and learn from them so that you can grow as a person and improve your ability to face rejection.
It doesn’t matter if people think what you want to do with your life is silly or stupid. What matters is that it makes you happy and gives you fulfilment.
9. Identify and challenge your self-limiting beliefs
Let’s face it. We all have self-limiting beliefs. They can hold us back from doing things that will improve our lives, like exercising more, getting better sleep or pursuing our goals. Identifying and challenging these beliefs is a key part of taking care of yourself so you can live a happier and healthier life.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you might believe that you can’t do it. But really, how do you know? How do you know what your capabilities are? How do you know what changes in your lifestyle could help with weight loss?
Try challenging those beliefs by saying I’m going to try losing 5 kilograms in 6 months, because I think I can instead of I don’t think I can.
Say it out loud, write it down and say it to yourself over and over again until you start believing it to be true. This is a powerful way to begin taking control of your life instead of simply letting things happen around you.
10. Keep on top of your finances daily
A good way to take care of yourself every day is to make sure you stay on top of your finances. No matter how old you are, or what stage in life you’re at, daily habits around money management can go a long way towards getting where you want to be.
Being on top of your spending and debt allows for better money management. This is something we can all benefit from. It’s also an excellent first step toward building a solid financial foundation that will help secure financial success later in life.
How do you improve your relationship with your money? Get clear about the beliefs you hold about money. Work out a monthly budget and do your best to stick to it. Install your bank app on your phone to track money coming in and out of your account daily.
Set up a save-as-you spend savings account, so that every time you spend money, the amount is rounded up and deposited into your savings account. Set some weekly, monthly and annual financial goals. Enlist help from a reputable financial adviser to assist you.
11. Practice mindfulness
Instead of focusing on tasks, goals or things to get done, practice staying in touch with your body and feelings as you go about your day. Set an alarm every hour on your phone to alert you to take a deep breath for 5 minutes.
Mindfulness has been shown to increase job satisfaction, reduce stress and improve productivity. It’s also linked with increased brain activity in areas related to memory and empathy, making it easier for people to connect positively with others.
12. Infuse your home with soothing scents
Getting into a relaxing routine isn’t just about changing your body; it’s also about changing the energy and look of your space. Incorporating essential oils and aromatherapy into your home can help you feel more relaxed and centred.
Try using scented candles or light an oil diffuser in your home to promote relaxation when you come home from work. Lavender is said to be one of the most relaxing scents for people, but any scent that creates a positive experience for you can be used as self-care. Feel free to experiment with different types of calming scents until you find what works best for you.
13. Indulge in self massage
You’re stressed, you’re anxious, you’re tense. So how do you work all that out? By indulging in self-massage. The concept may sound a little strange at first but it’s an incredibly relaxing way to loosen up and take care of yourself. (And really, who couldn’t use a little more relaxation?)
Start by finding an area that is particularly tight and tense – your shoulders, neck or back, and rub firm pressure in circles around your muscles to help break up tension. Breathe deeply as you massage and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect; just focus on pressing with enough pressure to feel some effect.
14. Make time for nails pampering
You may not think that getting a manicure and a pedicure is self-care, but there’s something so comforting about soaking in a warm tub with a glass of wine while your nails dry. Plus, it gives you an excuse to blow off household chores for half an hour.
During wintertime when my skin tends to get really dry and cracked, I also like using body oil and body butter for my hands and feet every night before bed. They keep my skin soft and well hydrated.
15. Carve out time to do nothing
If you’re looking to change your life for the better, it’s a good idea to consider carving out some time in your schedule to do absolutely nothing!
If you feel like you’re on autopilot at work, leave 15 minutes early each day and sit at a park instead. If you have kids, set aside half an hour each night after they go to bed to simply spend some time reading, listening to relaxing music or to the rhythm of your own breath.
When you are at work, make sure to schedule mini-breaks throughout your day. Even if it’s just a short break from your desk, stepping away from your computer can help you cut down stress, refresh your brain and recharge before getting back into work mode. Although it may seem counterproductive, blocking out these pockets of silence will actually help you get more done.
Remember it’s your life, your rules, and you get to decide what goes on in your life. Above all else, have great fun this year, and yes, take good care of yourself!