As 2018 is now upon us, I’m sure many of you out there are excited to follow through with your new resolutions (I know I am). You’ve written them down, set up your new planner, and are currently working on eradicating all the negativity of the last few years from your life by whatever means necessary.
Honey, I’m with you all the way. I’m so excited to see these new resolutions to fruition that I got mad this morning when I accidentally slept in, yet still made it to work on time. Who am I becoming??
In all honesty, following through with your resolutions can take a lot of hard work and perseverance. I know you all have it in you to make your goals happen, but the problem arises when you push so hard that you sacrifice your mental health. This doesn’t have to mean anything as drastic as triggering anxiety or depression (though those are very real possibilities for many people), but can also just generally include burning yourself out. Sometimes we pour our whole selves into something, just to end up unable to complete it due to not having anything left to give.
It’s important this year and every that you’re taking care of yourself. Not only can it help you maintain a level of inner peace and some semblance of stability, but it can also help you stick to your resolutions better. When we burn out, we tend to drop everything to recover. By taking care of ourselves continually, we’ll manage to last a lot longer. Long enough to, say, make going to the gym a habit, or finish writing that novel you’ve been working on.
After years of burning out, here are the best self-care tips I’ve discovered to last for the long haul:
1. Make obtainable yet flexible resolutions.
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep” isn’t just for your relationships with others, but also with yourself. This means having a resolution for which you can hold yourself accountable (what does “get healthy” even mean?), yet is also adaptable to your own lifestyle. You aren’t used to dropping everything and devoting an extra hour every day to this new venture, so don’t force yourself to. When you force yourself routinely, that’s when it becomes a chore to do, not a treat. My own personal example of this this year is working out 156+ days a year (this means 3 days/week without meaning I fail on week 4 if I don’t work out 3 times).
2. Practice self-forgiveness.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to forgive yourself of your shortcomings. The lows aren’t as important as the progress you are making. I used to beat myself up every time I failed at something, every time I burned out and couldn’t continue. It was awful and made me not even want to try again. Whenever you’re feeling down or incapable of doing something, just say “this is how I am today, and that’s okay. I’ll try again tomorrow.”
3. Make a routine.
Routines are lovely because once they’re in place you can really start to make good habits. Personally, I like my skincare routine. I like having that routine every morning and night to symbolize the start and end to my day. Try to set in some sort of routine for getting you into the right mindset for the things you’re trying to accomplish.
4. Start your day off right.
I like to wake up at 6am (again, who am I??), do a little workout, have some coffee, do some writing, have breakfast, etc. It’s a nice, slow start to the day that ensures that I don’t feel sluggish and worn out the rest of the day, as I do whenever I have to rush to work. Find whatever works for you to get you started on the right foot.
5. Practice positivity.
Assuming that you will probably fail at your resolutions this year will almost undoubtedly be your undoing. Negativity won’t get you anywhere. Find the sliver of hope that things can be different this time, because they can be.
6. Take time to reflect.
Be it daily, weekly, or monthly, take some time to assess what you’ve been doing differently and what’s been working for you (and what hasn’t). Did you finish that book you meant to read? Have you been studying as much as you planned to? You can do this by journaling, making lists, or just thinking to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big event, but can help set you on the right track again.
7. Make time for fun.
One of the most important aspects of not burning out is to make sure that you’re not always working. Have a little fun! Have a lot of fun! Pick up a new hobby, see your friends, go traveling. Whatever it is that you enjoy, make time for it. It will clear your mind, decrease stress, and help you feel more focused when you sit down to work on a task.
8. Clean up your life.
My best friend used to always tell me that the state of my room is a reflection of the state of my mental health. Five years later and I still can’t stop thinking about that every time my apartment is messy…a little mess is natural, particularly for those of us with busy lifestyles, but try not to let it get out of hand. I find that when my visual space is cluttered, so is my brain, and it’s harder to focus on things. Do yourself a favour and get rid of the clutter of 2017 from your view and from your mind.
Bonus Tip: Never be ashamed.
Who you are and what you want is no one’s business but your own. Own it. Be proud of where you come from, be proud of where you’re going, and, perhaps most importantly, be proud of every step you’re taking to get there. The less power you allow other peoples’ negativity to hold over your life, the more room for positivity you’ll find within yourself.
Of course there are things like “take bubble baths” and “meditate,” but I wanted to share with you the things that I find are really helpful for me (plus I don’t have a bathtub). Let me know any tips of your own you’ve found for self care, or what your resolutions are!