Congratulations on making it through a year that was absolutely crazy, to say the least. None of us could have predicted all that went down last year but living through a pandemic has made it so important for us to prioritize taking care of ourselves. What will self-care look like for you this year? It’s important that you create a self-care routine that will enhance who you are and not make you feel like it’s a burden on you. Creating a practical schedule of self-care will eliminate any feelings of neglect.
Self-Care in 2021
Self-care involves taking the time to manage your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Good self-care habits are essential in terms of how we view ourselves and our ability to pleasantly interact with others.
You may be very good at taking care of others but how good are you at caring for yourself? Self-care is a component of our physical and mental wellness that we do not discuss enough. It requires us to be quite deliberate in how we go about taking care of ourselves which can feel selfish and, on some levels, overwhelming.
When was the last time you took a day or even a week off to decompress and explore the meaning of life? 2020 saw us working more than ever as we transitioned to work and school from home. We often store our day-offs and guard them like gold, preserving them for times of illness or vacation. This year, challenge yourself on this philosophy. Focus on finding a healthy balance that allows for self-preservation without sacrificing all of the other things you hold as being equally important such as family, career, and community.
Practicing self-care allows you to be there for yourself in the way you want to be for others.
How to Know if You’re Failing at Self-Care
Some tell-tale signs that you might be failing in the self-care department include feelings of being stressed, feeling burned out, and poor physical health. Illnesses are often taxing on your body to the point you are forced to take time away from work, and it can take quite a while to recharge after such an event.
Another sign that you may be failing in the realm of self-care is if you rarely allow others to do something for you. Self-care can also mean allowing others to take the reins of a situation while you take a break or focus on other tasks that need your attention.
5 Ways to Practice Self-Care this Year
According to Psychology Today, proper self-care can create a pathway to you better managing your stress and ultimately living your best life. It can serve as armor that protects the energy that is necessary for your survival.
Here are five ways to start practicing better self-care especially in a pandemic and an uncertain year.
1. Know When Just to Say ‘No’
As humans, we all have limits in our capabilities. Taking on more than we can do for an extended period can wear you down, draining you, robbing you of your ability to be creative and effective in other ways ranging from the workplace to your home life.
Practicing self-care requires you to establish clear boundaries on behalf of yourself with others who may or may not have your best interests at heart.
2. Schedule Self-Care Activities
Self-care does not just happen spontaneously. You have to schedule the time and actively commit to seeing those plans through to the end. Additionally, you may have to ensure others are aware of your plans to ensure they don’t unknowingly push you to put their needs ahead of yours.
3. Make Sleep and Rest a Priority
Sleep may not seem like a stand-alone priority, but you should not underestimate the necessity of recharging your body. Sleep, rest, relaxation, and meditation can all contribute to replenishing your body and giving it a much-needed restoration period.
Additionally, it helps to keep your mind sharp and can also aid in allowing you to sustain a healthy mood and outlook on life and interacting with others.
4. Make Time for Fitness
If fitness is not your strong point, look for ways to naturally incorporate some form of activity into your day. Challenge yourself to find something you find joy in doing whether it’s going for walks, swimming, kickboxing, dancing around your home solo, or finding an outdoor Zumba class to get you moving. Self-care is not only about getting adequate rest, taking a day off, or keeping your doctor’s appointments. It’s also about helping your body to stay fit.
5. Socialize with Others
Especially important in a socially-distant year. Socialize with others. Self-care is about tending to those relationships that make us feel good. Healthy relationships are essential for our emotional and physical well-being. We all get busy from time to time and incorporating our friends and family into our busy schedule can seem impossible. However, our connections are a must-have. Look for ways to nurture those relationships online and off –even if it means becoming the organizer of those responsible get-togethers.
Take the time today to assess your life and whether or not you are practicing self-care. You don’t have to make sweeping changes all at once if you find a few areas are lacking. Target a single area at a time and make small adjustments. You will be amazed by the overall improvement that begins to take hold of your life.