When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve many people will be celebrating the start of 2023. It’s also the moment a new season of New Year’s resolutions begin. For many, it’s the time to kick off goals for their health, finances, relationships and more. In fact, surveys have shown around 40% of adults in the United States make at least one New Year’s resolution. This year, deciding to make self-care a priority could be the best kind of resolution.
Making self-care a priority is a commitment to taking better care of ourselves. The good news is many activities can fall under the self-care umbrella. Over time, regularly taking part in these activities can translate to both positive physical and mental health changes.
For many, a self-care goal is a healthier alternative to a short-term unattainable weight loss goal, like losing 50 pounds by March. Instead, resolving to work on self-care means someone is committed to making the best decisions for their health and well-being. Often, this reduces the need to follow a rigid set of rules that can result in stress.
What is self-care?
Self-care activities can take many forms, but at its core it’s about making time for oneself in a positive way. It’s important to take time to care for physical and mental health to cultivate a sense of well-being. To achieve this, it may take some trial and error with different self-care activities.
Here are some examples of self-care, as compiled by the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Fit in 30 minutes of movement each day. Moving the body every day is one of the best ways a person can care for their physical health.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more water each day, and make sure the glasses of water outnumber any servings of caffeine or alcohol.
- Find a new relaxing activity. For some people, this is reading or journaling. For others, it’s time set aside for deep breathing and gentle stretching.
- Provide healthy nourishment. Work to fit in foods that make your body feel and perform its best.
- Make sleep a goal. Getting enough sleep should be a regular occurrence. Reset your schedule with sleep as a priority. A sleep hygiene routine can be an example of self-care.
- Positivity and gratitude. Practice having a positive mindset each day. This could mean starting your day with listing a few things you are grateful for.
- Personal check-ins. Make an appointment with yourself. As you start practicing regular self-care, make sure you’re carving out time to evaluate your progress. This will help you stay on track.
Self-care looks different for everyone
The great thing about deciding to concentrate more on self-care is that it can look different for everyone. Some people might imagine a relaxing bath and a cup of hot tea when they hear this term. While this can be part of it, true self-care encompasses much more. The term often includes activities to support some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions: goals involving losing weight, exercising more, being happier and healthier. Self-care just makes reaching those goals a low-stress and more positive journey.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.
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