It is probably safe to say that no one is sorry to say goodbye to 2020. However, sliding into 2021 isn’t necessarily going to be the break we want and need. Yet, the new year is a common time to regroup and make resolutions for a brighter tomorrow. Now, more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves. Our emotional “body” needs to be cared for as much as our physical. Before reading these 10 ideas, remember to set realistic goals. Start small and know that you can build upon them.
- Limit your screen time
Admit it, we are all a little bit (or a lot) addicted to our screens. Our devices became even more essential in 2020, but they also magnified things that can cause stress and anxiety. Set some reasonable changes like taking a day each week for a social media “holiday” or decide to not look at your phone after 7 p.m.
- Schedule time for self-care
It may seem silly that you would need to schedule a time for something like a bubble bath, but if you don’t, you may never get to soak your troubles away. Carving out a little time to do something kind for yourself should not be pushed to the side and putting it on your calendar will remind you to do it.
- Sleep tight
While sleep is important for you physically, it is also mentally imperative. You know your brain is sharper and your mood is improved when you are well-rested. Consistency is key, go to sleep and wake up at generally the same time. Try not to view screens before bed, but if you do, wear blue light filtering glasses. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep in a dark, cool room.
- Make lists
Does your mind race right before its time for sleep? Having a list can help you feel in control and remove the worry of forgetting something. Keep a pad of paper by your bed so that when you remember something you can jot it down and remove it from your mind. Additionally, make a more permanent list of the things you can control and the things you can’t. It feels good to write it down and serves a reminder.
- Nourish Your Relationships
Pick up the phone and call your mom! Humans are social creatures and socializing can improve our mood and reduce depression. Getting together during a pandemic is not easy. Luckily, facetime, phone conversations, and zoom calls can help you feel connected. Just hearing a voice can lift your spirits.
- Let’s Get Physical
Move that body! Studies have shown that exercising and physical activity have many benefits for the brain. Not only does it release feel-good endorphins, but it provides stress relief and mental alertness. For more information and tips on how to get started and stay motivated check out this Mayo Clinic article.
Just as exercising is a great way to relieve stress, so is meditating. There have been studies that suggest that mediation can help with depression, anxiety, and even insomnia. For those new to meditating this Mindful article is a great read to get started!
- Demonstrate Kindness
“If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself (A. Neilen).” Complimenting someone or lending a hand to a neighbor, helps you as much as it helps them. Being kind elevates our mood, produces more oxytocin in our bodies, and in turn lowers our blood pressure. So, go ahead and share a smile with the cashier or bake your friend some muffins, it will lift them and you!
- Learn to say no (yikes!)
Saying no is not always easy but it can be life-changing. When you say no to something that isn’t right for you, it is not only empowering but it will allow time for things that you want to say yes to…things that bring you happiness and satisfaction.
- Practice Gratitude
Wake-up and name 3 things you are grateful for before rolling out of bed, keep a gratitude journal, or drop a note in a jar meant for things you are thankful for (you can take them out to read at the end of 2021), are just a some of the things you can do to practice gratitude and acknowledge the good in your life.
Our minds are the center of our being. When we nourish our mental health, we nourish our lives. Don’t forget to find more ways to take care of yourself in 2021!