The end of the year is creeping up on all of us. While for many the last months of the year mean wonderful celebrations with family and friends and delicious food, they can also be a reminder of how little time we left to care for ourselves throughout the year.
Between running to finish those projects for work, being a good friend, and working towards financial stability, it can often seem impossible to get more than a few minutes with yourself to get your nails done (or do them yourself), get that yoga session in, hunker down with a good book, or cook your favorite meal.
Even though self-care is a trending topic (as it should be), at times it can seem impossible to actually take some of that much-needed time for yourself.
Did you know that self-care can help to prevent burnout and fatigue? Studies demonstrate how focusing most of your life on the wellbeing of others could cause what is known as compassion fatigue. This condition results from emotional and physical exhaustion of dedicating a significant portion to your life to others without integrating you time.
Even if you are not in a profession that focuses on caring for others, like caregiving or medicine, similar results can arise if most of your life is focused on making sure everyone else is happy and have what they need.
Of course, we aren’t saying that you should be selfish and not care about your job or your loved ones. Self-care is not a synonym for egotism or selfishness. On the contrary – caring for yourself is an expression of self-love, and it can allow you to do what you love even better. If you reach burnout, you can lose your passion for what you do.
You can make this 2019 your best year yet in all areas – professionally, socially, and, of course, personally, by caring for yourself. Are you wondering how you are going to find time to care for yourself? With this guide, we will help you implement a strategy that will allow you to refresh, recharge, and appreciate yourself on a regular basis. You’ll quickly see that when you have a self-care strategy, you will have the fuel to do better in all areas of your life.
Here are 4 self-care strategies to make 2019 your most fulfilling year yet.
1. Find Out What Self-Care Means to You
When you hear the word “self-care” you might think of spending the day at the salon on spa to get a massage, a facial, or a mani-pedi. The truth is, that doesn’t necessarily sound appealing to everyone. Some people feel more anxious in the spa environment than relaxed. If that is you, then that is the opposite of self-care.
Take a few minutes to ask yourself what you love to do but that you always feel like your days always run out of time before you get to them. This could be watching a trending (or old) show on Netflix, trying out a new yoga routine, taking a nap, going for a run, inventing a recipe, going to your favorite farmer’s market, going to your favorite café with a novel, looking through old photos – there is no right answer to what self-care means to you.
The key is to figure out what makes you feel relaxed and recharged and serves as a reminder of how great of a person you are and all that you are capable of doing. Ultimately, the question you need to ask yourself is, how would you spend time with yourself to let yourself know you are appreciated and loved?
2. Schedule It In
One of the main reasons so many people don’t get around to caring for themselves is because they feel like they don’t have time for it.
It’s time to change the way we think about self-care. It shouldn’t be something we do only if we have time to get to it. Self-care time needs to be sacred.
In your planner, scheduling app, or computer, schedule in time for self-care.
The frequency is up to you – anywhere from every day to a few times a month. The key, however, is regularity. If you know that every Thursday night from 7-9 you time, block it off every single Thursday. Try and find a time where you know it is less likely there will be scheduling conflicts and other activities competing for that block of time, because, until you are used to taking that “you-time”, you’ll likely have a tough time prioritizing it.
3. Switch It Up
Once you schedule it in, you can choose what you want to do with that time. Switch it up depending on your energy levels, mood, and personal needs. You may want to do a face mask and watch a documentary one day and go on an evening hike another day.
Think about your self-care time like going on a date with yourself. Different activities allow you to get to know yourself in different ways, stretch your limits, and let yourself be surprised by your own capabilities.
4. Think About Everyday Actions and Decisions as Self-Care Opportunities
Self-care doesn’t have to be only about activities you separate from your regular daily life. There are opportunities to care for yourself throughout the day that are absolutely count towards you feeling good about yourself, stress-free, relaxed, and productive.
Some of these include:
- Getting enough sleep: For most people, it is about 8 hours a night, but it may be more or less than that for you.
- Maintain a spiritual practice: It helps you feel connected, aware, supported, and have hope in life.
- Eat balanced meals: Your nutrition is essential for your health in the short and long term. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
- Drink water: Stay hydrated with pure water. Hydration is important for staying alert, sleeping better, general, health, and even feeling better in your own skin.
- Exercise regularly: Whether this is part of your “scheduled” self-care activities or not, make sure you make enough time to stretch out on that yoga mat and exercise at least 3-4 times a week.
- Maintain a healthy social circle: Knowing you can depend on friends or family for support, a good talk, or just a tight hug is important for your overall wellbeing.
- Process your emotions: Allow yourself to feel the way you feel and find out why you feel that way.
You can make 2019 your best year yet, not necessarily by taking another course or investing in that scheduling software, but by building strategy for self-care. Taking care of yourself is key to your wellbeing and happiness, even in the busiest of lives. Some of these strategies might be everyday decisions, while others may be conscious, planned activities.
Before the end of the year, sit down and take some time to build your strategy and commit to it. Your mind and body, not to mention your social circle and career, will thank you.