For the first month of a new year, the magic glitter dust of opportunity touches every corner of what is usually mundane everyday happenings. For those of us who have had a particularly challenging 2020, starting the new year off on the right foot seems even more important. This is the time to strike. Incorporating self-care into your 2021 routine is your way of keeping the gleam coming all year long, bringing in positive energy and letting go of the hurdles brought on by the pandemic. Preserve the precious energy of newness now and sprinkle it into the year going forward.
1. Plan Vacation Time ASAP
It’s typical to feel like the start of a new year is about buckling down, putting away the party attire, and getting serious about your goals. If you’re on a roll with this already, we applaud you. One way to keep the momentum and avoid distraction is to plan to be distracted ahead of time. Don’t you dare let those vacation days go to waste.
Planning a vacation (or this year perhaps a staycation) early on during the year can help to enable focus throughout the time in waiting. You’re less likely to give in to momentary distractions if you’ve got something to hold out for and look forward to. Plus, you’ll probably be able to work out the most financially strategic way to make it happen by planning. Many people passed on taking their PTO days in 2020 as travel came to a standstill. However, taking a few takes to rest and recharge- even if it’s at home doing nothing- is essential to preventing burnout and taking care of mental health.
2. Make Affirmations a Habit
Affirmations are nice. They are especially nice when they’re used at just the right time, with just the right words. In genuinely considering it, though, how often does this organically happen? How often do we have precisely the right words to offer someone else, let alone ourselves?
So much of our self-talk isn’t conscious at all. So, while you might have considered something you’d like to root firmly in your mind, your mind might be working on something else entirely different.
Make a habit of affirming yourself by planning it out. It might seem anything but organic and slightly forced in the beginning—but nothing forges a habit better than overcoming that initial discomfort and proving to yourself that you’ve got it.
3. Reserve Time to do Nothing
Such an important aspect of self-care is the concept of recharging. When it comes to time to recharge, if we don’t plan, odds are we won’t set time. During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, many people felt the need to maintain maximum productivity all the time. With social media full of new bakers, home gym enthusiasts, and people starting side hustles, it became overwhelming. Recognize that doing nothing, sometimes, is important.
Time spent doing “nothing” is often equated to time that has not been assigned value and therefore doesn’t have any. Is this how you tend to think of it? If it is, it’s time to reconsider. Then, time to pencil in some time to do absolutely nothing in 2021.
4. Ditch Your Diet
You heard me. You can’t cheat on a diet you’re not on, can you? If you thought you might never read those words about self-care, shift your thinking.
The concept of a diet, no matter how cutting edge and new, implies “temporary.” While temporary changes to a diet are great for getting to results quicker, are those results worth it to you if they aren’t sustainable?
Drop the idea of going on a diet and, instead, change the way you view and interact with nutrition and fitness. Use them as tools to take care of yourself, and enjoy whatever treats come along, knowing that you generally stick to a particular way of life. Break up with your trendy new diet and break into lasting change.
5. Change Up Your Look
It might seem cliché, but there is something to be said about what a slight reinvention can do when you’re in the wake of manifesting a good year. You don’t need to go for a wild new hair cut or drastic change to make a difference.
Even getting yourself a little something new to symbolize change can help. It’s connecting your inner intentions to something that can be observed tangibly. Get out of that loungewear and try a new pair of jeans or put lipstick on just because. Or, hey, get an awesome new pair of sweatpants if you’re keeping the trend of athleisure going in 2021. Making a subtle change can also serve you to get out of your routine and comfort zone.
6. (Actually) Start Meditating
Are you guilty of being one of those people who like the idea of meditating more than meditating? Do you struggle with stillness during the “close your eyes and unwind” part of yoga classes? Meditating can be hard work. It’s not always a vision of Zen relaxation on a remote hill somewhere.
Make meditation a regular conscious act, and don’t forget that forms like active mediation exist for those who want a less-traditional approach.
Add a little extra time for you this year, and don’t apologize for it. This is your year, and incorporating self-care into your routine is simple.