I think we can all agree that we’re looking forward to 2021 being a much better year than 2020. The unexpected (and unprecedented) stressors of the year took a toll on our minds, bodies and souls. Plus, for many of us, the lack of a daily routine meant that some important self care habits were forgotten. Well, with a shiny new year ahead of us, we’re sharing our top tips for self care and self love to make 2021 your happiest, healthiest year yet.¹
Take time to connect
At our core, we’re social creatures (and creatures of habit), so the events of this year have been incredibly disruptive. If you started self-isolation feeling positive about scheduling group Zoom calls and reconnecting with old friends, but that’s faded away towards the end of the year, make it a priority again for 2021. Try setting aside an hour every day to talk on the phone or video chat with the important people in your life. It’s also a great opportunity to support each other and ask for help if you need it.
Pick up a good book
If you spend most of your day switching from looking at a large screen to a smaller screen and back again, make 2021 the year you start reading again. A study from the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes per day can reduce stress by 68%!² Reading is also a great source of escapism and can be an excellent way to prime your brain and body for sleep, which leads us on to our next point.
Prioritize quality sleep
Another consequence of losing our everyday routines is that sleep schedules have gone out of the window. Most adults need around seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night in order to feel fully rested. Sleep helps to reduce stress,³ improve mood, restore energy and allows us to be more productive throughout the day. If you’ve been experiencing sleep disruptions, try starting a pre-sleep regimen by stopping all screen time about an hour before bed, taking a warm bath or shower and ensuring that your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool. Experiment with sleep sounds, aromatherapy diffusers and natural sleep aids until you find the perfect fit.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
Maybe meditation has been on your to-do list forever. If that’s the case, start 2021 off on the right foot by giving your mood a mindfulness boost.⁴ Get going by reading up on simple ways to practice or downloading a meditation app to act as a guide. There are many types of meditation and it might take some time to figure out your own preferences, but an easy way to start is to simply sit upright in a comfortable position, close your eyes and pay close attention to the sensation and rhythm of your breath. When your attention wanders away and you start thinking about what to eat for dinner or whether you need to take the trash out, gently guide yourself back to your breath. Try not to get frustrated. Even though it seems incredibly simple, staying mindful can actually be a real challenge, but the more you practice, the easier it will get.
Let yourself laugh
While most of 2020 has been serious and stressful, it’s vital to allow yourself an emotional release. Take the time to watch a movie, listen to a podcast or read a book that you know is going to make you laugh. Laughter releases endorphins and will help put things in perspective and allow you to move into 2021 with a positive mindset.
Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, healthy year ahead!