If you’re like a lot of us, your self-care routine might suffer at the end of the year. It can feel like you’re stuck counting the days, hours, and minutes until you get to pack it in. Year-end assessments, parties, and holiday vacations dot the calendar. Your office, school, or workplace might be quieter than normal (unless you work in retail, of course). If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter weather and shorter days probably make you feel like hibernating until New Years!
Don’t sleep on your self-care! Self-care is not just about relaxing salt baths and scented candles. It can look different for everyone - it’s part art and part skill - but it typically requires a little discipline and perseverance.
When our routines get interrupted we often neglect our self-care. That might mean skipping yoga class or forgetting to do your tai chi routine in the morning. And hey, taking a vacation from your self-care routine isn’t the worst thing in the world. After all, New Years is just around the corner...
We all know that January naturally feels like a time to commit to better self-care habits. According to a recent study by the time management firm FranklinCovey, however, only 23 percent of people who set a New Year’s resolution actually follow through with it. One-third of people don’t even stick with it past the end of January!
Guess what? December might be a better time to set some goals and get the ball rolling on a new self-care routine! The early sunsets and cold temperatures can actually provide a great chance to focus on what’s good for you.
Here are a few tips to help you finish the year with a solid new self-care routine:
People generally spend an average of 3.25 hours on their phones every day. The top 20% of smartphone users stare at a screen for upwards of 4.5 hours daily.
How often do you go down a YouTube rabbit hole? Do you find your back getting stiff, your neck aching, shoulders tense as you scroll through an endless series of videos? YouTube and other social media platforms are designed to keep you engaged for as long as possible. It’s no surprise that hours can go by before you realize you haven’t moved a muscle and your breathing is shallow, like you’ve been in a trance.
Here’s the first tip: set a timer when you start down the path of social media stimulation and entertainment. Give yourself 20 minutes to scroll mindlessly, but when your timer goes off, call it quits.
Better yet, spend your screen time focusing on channels and sites that promote positive self-awareness and active self-care, like BNBTV or BETV. They’ve got videos all about how to live a mindful life, exercise for your body and brain, breathe, and meditate. You’ll be more likely to come away from it feeling motivated to do something good for yourself.
To keep yourself fired up about achieving your goals, maintain a record of your results. Research shows that people who track their progress are far more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t.
Positive changes take time, and it can be easy to forget just how much you’ve improved since you started. Try writing in a diary, taking photos, or posting messages and status reports somewhere that you can see them. Or get analytical and make a graph that measures your progress in a visual way.
By celebrating your wins (as small as they may be) your brain will feel more motivated to keep going. Measuring your progress can also help you identify problems and find solutions. When you’re serious about success, you’ll appreciate even the moments when you see yourself slipping. It’ll help you wake up and get back on track much more quickly!
Staying motivated can be challenging when you feel like you’re going it alone. If possible, try to get a friend in on your self-care goals!
With a friend by your side, you’ll be able to give and receive encouragement, hold each other accountable, and most importantly celebrate your achievements!
Here’s another tip- don’t drag someone along on your self-care journey just because you want a companion. Even if they’re happy to help you achieve your goals, they need to have a sincere desire to do something for themselves, too. It takes a commitment from each person to make energy flow and grow.
Along that train of thought, you might benefit from finding a group or class full of people who want the same kind of thing you do- whether that’s stress relief, physical fitness, or something else. Join a meetup group, come to yoga, tai chi, or meditation class, or find another way of being part of a community that’s committed to the things you want.
We’re social creatures. Our brains and hearts that are influenced by who we’re around, so choose your social groups wisely. At Body & Brain Centers we find that the community aspect of practice helps people stay motivated and accountable with their self-care routines. And who knows, you might even end up making some great friends in the process!