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Making a commitment to self is one of the best New Year’s resolutions a person can make! With most of us quarantining during the past year due to Covid-19, it gave us the opportunity to take a step back and breathe. It has also allowed many of us to take a step back and prioritize what is truly meaningful to us. Self-care is all about being intentional about making time for things that bring us joy and puts us in a place of calm. Self-Care is particularly important given the stress from the last year and impending uncertainty about 2021. Engaging in self-care activities has constantly been linked to maintaining balance in different areas of your life with results in greater health and wellness. Specifically, a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, and improve energy. From a physical health perspective, self-care has been clinically proven to reduce heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Spiritually, it may help keep us in tune with our higher power as well as realizing our meaning in life. Below are four areas of self-care to focus on in 2021!
Emotional self-care activities are geared to help you connect, process, and reflect on a full range of emotions. With everyday demands, it can be challenging to take time to reflect on how we are feeling and the cause of those feelings. Seeking therapy is one way to process complicated emotions with a skilled and neutral party and it is a great way to take care of yourself emotionally. Additionally, just engaging in activities that allow self-expression can also be enjoyed. Writing in a journal, creating art, or playing music are just a few examples of activities that promote self-expression.
Practical self-care refers to tasks you complete that fulfill core aspects of your life to prevent future stressful situations. Practical self-care is all about doing things that make your daily life easier so that you will have times to do the things that make life more enjoyable. Things in this category might include putting together a planner to keep track of daily activities, putting together a budget, which might include funds for leisurely activities or taking professional development classes.
Physical self-care involves activities that improve your physical health such as diet and exercise. It can also mean keeping regular doctor’s appointments or taking the time to rest when you are sick. What we put in our bodies is also important for physical self-care. For example, extra fruit and veggies to fuel your body, as well as staying hydrated are integral. Staying active looks different for everyone so it is important to find ways that are fun and rewarding for you such as going for a walk, hiking, playing a sport you enjoy, or taking a yoga class. Remember to find the balance! While it is important to stay active, make sure to rest if your body needs it.
Lastly, social self-care is about intentionally engaging in activities that nurture our relationships with others. We, as humans, are social beings who generally enjoy connecting regularly with others to thrive. With so many demands of life, it is easy to cancel plans with friends and withdraw. However, prioritizing social self-care is critical for our overall well-being. With the pandemic, it is imperative to find creative ways to connect socially in safe ways so utilizing online forums and video conferencing tools such as Facetime and Zoom are nice ways to get this need met!