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Looking Back at 2021: The Year of Self-Care

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In the very first musing of this year, I wrote:

“I propose 2021 be a year of shifting our mentality. Let’s learn how to love, honor, and give ourselves what we need. Let’s learn how to listen to our inner voice to know how to meet those needs. And let’s give compassion to ourselves and therefore to those around us, encouraging us all to take a moment, every day, of self-care and love.”

358 days later, self-care is still top-of-mind. 

Over the last year, we’ve been sharing self-care tips as part of our #SelfCareSunday series on Instagram. With 2021 winding to a close, I thought this would be a great opportunity to revisit some of those self-care ideas. 

Enjoy this list of 52 different ways YOU can practice a little self-care. 

  1. Read a book – There’s something about sitting down with a good book and the intention of getting lost enjoying a moment. Grab an oldie but goodie or enjoy the journey of finding a new favorite. 
  2. Journal or write a letter – Allowing thoughts and emotions to release from our minds is a calming and healing practice. Whether it’s pen on paper or fingers flying across a keyboard, get it out and let it go.
  3. Rest or take a nap – If your mind and body are asking for it, take a moment to stop the push and embrace the pull. An intentional moment to pause may be just the ticket to a smoother finish for the day.
  4. Take a break – From all of the “have-to’s” and “shoulds”. Treat yourself to a day of “Want-to’s” and just relish in the joy.
  5. Go on a walk, hike, or run – Nature is a gift. Take a moment to breathe in some fresh air and celebrate your amazing physical existence. 
  6. Drink water and stay hydrated – Our bodies work so much better when we’re hydrated. From a clearer mind to oiled joints and healthier digestion, fluids are essential. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy the benefits.
  7. Play games – Whether it’s solitaire or a group affair, games can sharpen our minds, deepen connection, and encourage complex thinking. Game on!
  8. Do a puzzle – Jigsaw or sudoku, brain teaser or legos, give your brain a break from the mundane and wrap it around a new challenge. This is a great way to get lost and refocus.
  9. Do something kind – The gift that gives back and simplicity is the key. The recipient gets a boost knowing they’re loved and You feel great too! 
  10. Take a shower or bath – Water is cleansing and healing. Imagine all of your stress and worries carried away. Muscles relax and breathing comes easier. Throw in a scented shower bomb or bath salts for added aromatherapy.
  11. Exercise or practice Yoga – Proven to release positive endorphins which boost your mood and change perspective. Whether it’s light and gentle yoga or a more intense session with weights and cardio, enjoy a moment being physical.
  12. Drink a warm cup of tea – Just the act of making tea can cause relaxation. Taking the moment to breathe it in and enjoy drinking it can be the perfect pause to break up the day.
  13. Cuddle or play with a pet – Fuzzy and furry or scaly and slimy, connecting with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and promote relaxation. Snuggle up and let the stress slither away.
  14. Practice Gratitude – Be your own sunshine on a dreary day. Start with something simple, “My heart is beating” and as your list grows notice how the clouds part and your mood rises.
  15. Blow bubbles – And pop them. The wonder and magic of these little floating orbs of iridescence can lighten any day. Blow them with a pet, children, friends, or for yourself, and watch them lift away your blues. 
  16. Smile and Laugh – Have you noticed? When you smile at someone they usually can’t help but smile back and laughter brings joy wherever it resides. Today, let’s start a wave and infect the world.
  17. Create origami – While this is an ancient art, just the meditative act of folding paper in different shapes can be the perfect moment of calm. Learn something new or just see how many times you can fold a piece of paper. No book needed.
  18. Cook or bake – What’s your favorite treat or most delicious comfort food? Take the opportunity to recreate it in your kitchen and let the happy memories seep into your bones. 
  19. Use Aromatherapy – Smells can bring back cherished memories and soothe a troubled soul. Light some incense, diffuse some oils or simply peel an orange and let the smells lull you into relaxation.
  20. Clean, declutter, organize – A messy home can be a reflection of our internal storms. Decluttering and organizing can be very symbolic and cleansing. Straighten things up a bit and notice how you breathe a little deeper and feel a little lighter.
  21. Take slow mindful breaths – From calming down when upset to clearing the mind and regrounding thoughts. Deep belly breaths are a quick, natural go-to for a moment of peace and personal connection.
  22. Make Art- paint, crochet, draw – Whatever media you choose, play around, have fun and let the creativity flow. Pipe cleaner animals anyone?
  23. Use Positive affirmations – Give that negative voice in your head the day off. Encourage yourself with positive intentions and statements to help you achieve your goals.
  24. Visualize a peaceful place – Take a moment and think of a space that brings you peace and has your body relaxing. Breathe in the moment and feel the release.
  25. Get/give a healthy hug – Ever noticed how a really good hug just makes everything feel so much better? Endorphins are released and stress melts away with the physical human contact. Snuggle up!  
  26. Build Something – Small and easy or big and complex. You’ll get the satisfaction of creation and maybe work out some frustration while pounding a nail or two. 
  27. Talk to someone – Human connection is immensely important. Even the most introverted person needs a little interaction. Whether you need a listening ear or just a friend to gab with, this is a great way to have a little self-care.
  28. Cry-let it out – Emotion needs to move and sometimes that means a physical release. Let your eyes water and drain the emotions from your soul. Whether you’re crying from laughter or sadness, have a good release.
  29. Sing – You don’t have to be on key or even with the beat. A pop song or your own creation, in the shower, in the car, or on a street corner, belt it out and feel the freedom.
  30. Dance – Music flows and when you allow it to flow through you there’s an added self-expression. Feel the beat and let it move you into a new emotion.
  31. Eat Healthily- try new recipes – We love the old stand-bys and yet infusing adventure into your meals is a great way to stretch boundaries and open possibilities.
  32. Take or look at photographs – Taking a trip down memory lane can be the perfect way to heal an old wound, find some joy and laughter, and bond with loved ones we may not be able to physically connect with.
  33. Listen to music – The power it carries to shift our moods is amazing. What mood are you in now, and what genre will help you shift into the mood you would like to be?
  34. Try to learn something new – Simple or complex, learning something new can give you a sense of accomplishment and a reminder that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Jingle bells on the piano is an admirable achievement:)
  35. Meditate – Proven to shift mental states meditation doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s as easy as counting to 5 while taking slow deep breaths. Or pick a guided meditation and give it a shot. You may find it’s easier than you thought. 
  36. Have that difficult conversation – You know the one. It’s been weighing you down and distracting you from other things. Finding a way to express yourself and clearing the air could leave both of you feeling lighter and more optimistic about things to come.
  37. Plan your week out – Sometimes adding a little structure to the week and putting expectations down on paper makes the schedule feel more manageable and less overwhelming. Get it out of your head and add some extra time for more self-care 🙂
  38. Ask for help – Whether it’s a big project or simply having someone present so you don’t feel alone, asking for help can be the best gift you can give yourself. Acknowledge your need and find strength and relief in reaching out.
  39. Garden or Work Outside – Enjoy the dirt on your hands or the sun on your back. A little physical work can connect you to the Earth and melt away the doldrums. And if you lack space maybe a couple of herbs in the kitchen would bring you a little joy.
  40. Make an “I Love You Because…” list – Making one of these lists when we’re doing great is a boost for when we’re not. List everything, physical, emotional, social… What do you really LOVE about YOU? Extra points for adding why.
  41. Forgive Someone -This is not about them. It’s about YOU. Choosing to forgive a hurt can be the most challenging and most rewarding thing you can ever do. Release the 10-ton yoke around your neck and revel in the priceless gift you just gave yourself.
  42. Plan a Vacation (to daydream or reality) – The excitement of choosing where to go and playing around with what you’d do, eat and see breaks up everyday life and ignites your imagination. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
  43. Purge and Donate – It’s that stuff you’ve kept forever because someone gave it to you and yet you’ve never used it or maybe you magically have 7 of them. If it’s not actively used and serving you, let it find a new home where it will get more love. Your space will thank you.
  44. Create a New Morning Routine – What we do, first thing in the morning, sets the tone for our entire day. What would you like to add, or change, to make your day go smoother? 10-second plank? Check your phone after your shower? Or, maybe make your first thoughts be about how awesome the day will be instead of ticking off everything you’re wishing you could avoid.
  45. Go to a Movie – Alone or with a group, at the theater, or creating a night at home. Watch the one you’ve been dying to see and satisfy your craving. Splurge a little and get the extra butter popcorn. Comedy, thriller, cartoon, or romance, it’s a night to kick back and enjoy.
  46. Write a positive note to yourself on the bathroom mirror – Eyeliner or sharpie this is a great way to bring a smile to your face. When you wake up you’re greeted by a smile, when you come home it’s there to brighten your day, and when you go to bed? Just a little boost for a happy dreamland.
  47. Walk Through The Grass Barefoot – There’s just something about setting your feet free to feel the tickle of the green grass. Maybe there’s someone to play frisbee with or a good book under the trees is the perfect break.
  48. Floss Your Teeth – Yup. We said it. Self-care in this instance means you’re keeping those pearly whites healthy and happy so you can enjoy solid food long into your golden age. Keep smiling 🙂
  49. Have a picnic – In the park, on the grass outside work, or in your living room. The place doesn’t matter, the fun does. Pack along your favorite treats and indulge a little on others. Perhaps it could become a monthly tradition.
  50. Make a budget – Sounds less than appealing and yet sometimes it’s exactly what we need. Seeing where we spend our money and where we want to be can bring more focus and less uncertainty. Maybe it will help you save for that special splurge you’ve been eyeing.
  51. Stop Procrastinating – You know what I’m talking about. It’s the one thing hanging out waiting for you to give it a little attention. It keeps getting louder and you have to work harder to ignore it. Get rid of it by taking care of it and feel the relief swarm in.
  52. Say “No” – It’s not a cuss word. “No” is actually very beautiful, helpful, and beneficial. I think that we all should employ it a little bit more.

 

                                         with love,

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