I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I have a hard time keeping them and that always leaves me feeling bad. But I am all for making self-care a priority and maybe setting a few resolutions could help. Self-care became a major buzzword in 2017. As the year winds down and we start thinking about 2018, I thought it would be good to review what self-care is (and isn’t), and why it will still be important in 2018 even if a new buzzword comes around.
What is Self-Care?
At its most basic, self-care is taking the time to make your physical, mental, and emotional health a priority. Sure, there are articles all of the internet that recommend fancy bath bombs, spa weekends, and yoga poses “guaranteed” to help you relax. But self-care doesn’t have to be about any of those things. It’s about making time to take care of yourself. And it doesn’t even have to take a lot of time.
Step One – Setting the Tone
The first step in making self-care resolutions is to be okay with making yourself a priority. I know so many men and women who are so busy taking care of everyone else, working crazy hours, and just trying to keep their head above water that they rarely take the time to slow down and do something for themselves. And if they do, they often feel guilty for it. So step one is giving yourself permission to take some time for yourself.
If you still feel guilty, let me tell you this. Taking care of yourself means you’ll be better prepared and able to take care of your family, your other relationships, and your responsibilities. It’s a win-win situation.
Step Two – Finding What Works
I love to read and take bubble baths. These are two things I find rejuvenating. I have a daughter who loves to read, but hates bubble baths. So her self-care will be different from mine. When you decide that you are ready to make time for yourself and your health, you’ll need to figure out what works for you.
I’m not going to leave you hanging. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Pick an exercise you enjoy and do it several times a week.
Start or renew interest in a hobby that you find fun and relaxing
Start reading all those books you’ve been meaning to read.
Take an hour once a week to do something you find fun.
Try creative projects. The act of creating something is regenerating.
Take a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.
Volunteer your time and/or skills to a good cause.
Get outdoors. If you enjoy gardening, work in your yard. If you want to be more social, join a local hiking club.
Step Three – Be Realistic
If you’re not in the habit of making time for yourself, then you may find it difficult to start. It may be even more difficult to keep practicing self-care. If you find yourself struggling, it’s okay. Just pick up from where you left off and start again. There is no “perfect” way to practice self-care, It’s something that we all work on at our own pace and in our own way.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself (or others). If you decide you’re going to take a bubble bath everyday, but you have young children at home, it might not work out the way you want. When my kids were small, they would try to climb in with me and sit outside the door and whine until I came out. My kids are grown now, but I have an overly attached dog. She sits outside the bathroom door and whines until I come out. so daily bubble baths are still not realistic for me.
Make sure you’re self-care goals are reachable. One of the big reasons we break resolutions is we set unrealistic expectations and then beat ourselves up when we fail. Don’t resolve to join the gym if you hate and the gym and can’t afford the membership fees. Don’t set a goal to get massages every week if it’s not in your budget to pay for them.
Self-care Shouldn’t Break the Bank
That brings me to another point. Self-care doesn’t have to cost you anything. Sure, there are lots of people who would like to sell you the latest and greatest. You need this candle or that special pillow. You simply have to try the new spa in town or take a class with the newest self-help guru. Nope. You don’t.
There are lots of free or low-cost ways to practice self-care. You can put on your shoes and go for a walk. You can check out books from your local library. There are creative classes online for free or at a huge discount. Sometimes those classes are available at your library too. Buying healthy foods instead of fast food doesn’t cost you a lot, but makes a huge difference in your basic health. Living within your means is a form of self-care itself. Less financial stress means less stress overall. Another win-win situation.
I don’t know about you, but my 2017 had some hard times. I’m ready to feel a little better in 2018. I know that I’m going to continue taking yoga classes. Love them! And I’m still trying to eat healthier. I’ll never give up my reading or bubble baths. And my journal habit seems to be firmly set. So it looks like I’ve got my self-care resolutions made.
How about you? Are you going to make some self-care resolutions for 2018? Share them in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas. You can also read more of my ideas and experiences with self-care here. I wrote about self-care and journaling in this post.
As always, thanks for reading and please use the social media buttons to share.