Updated: Dec 17, 2019
The new year is just around the corner, and most of us are probably more than ready to leave 2018 as far in the past as possible.
These last twelve months have been jam-packed with a whirlwind of highs and lows turmoil and stressful events, but now, it’s time to unwind, take a deep breath, and set an intention for the new calendar year.
One of the main focuses for myself and my team at Big Picture Living for 2019 will be the promotion and fostering of self-love and self-care, and working actively to develop strategies to reduce and manage the way we have previously responded to stressful triggers in 2018 and beyond.
I am so excited for 2019 to be an era of new beginnings for us all, as you join me on this journey to change the way you think and respond to anxiety, stress and any related pressure you may experience on life’s journey.
If you embrace these learnings as I did I am so excited and confident to say it WILL change your life!
No quick fixes or magic pills, just whole of life strategies that can and will change your world if you allow them to.
Setting resolutions around self care are super important, but you shouldn't stress about being 100 percent on top of your mental health.
If you feel discouraged because you never seem to achieve the goals you set at the start of the new year, you’re not alone.
According to a 2013 study from the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people actually stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
In fact the whole process of setting these resolutions in our subconscious already sets us up to failure - if you keep doing the same thing year after year without success what makes you think this year will be any different?
I want this year to be your best year yet!
However, there are small steps you can take towards making resolutions last long term:
Researchers at the University of Southern California and Harvard University discovered that the key to achieving big goals is by setting smaller ones, and rewarding yourself after taking small steps towards them.
So, instead of expecting yourself to magically change in the next year, focus on the slow progress you are making in the moment.
Here are 12 New Year’s resolutions I would like us as a community to focus on together to help you prioritise self-care and mental health as our combined goal in 2019.
1. SCHEDULE INTO YOUR DIARY TIME FOR SELF-CARE
Sometimes, self-care is treated like an afterthought that only happens after everything else on your weekly checklist is complete.
Make a resolution to actually schedule time for yourself this year, just as you would a meeting or event.
Creating tangible reminders like calendar invites, or phone alerts may help you make moments for self-care a more regular part of your daily routine.
This time should become one of the NON- NEGOTIABLES I will talk about when we talk later on about the importance creating priorities in our lives.
2. WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, TAKE YOURSELF ON A DATE No, seriously I am not kidding! Take yourself on a date!
A 2015 study conducted at the University of Maryland showed that doing solo activities is actually good for your health.
Self-care doesn't have to always mean staying home taking a luxury bath (although that counts), so take yourself out to dinner, or go to a a movie alone every once in a while. It is really good just to enjoy time being present with yourself - no conversation or expectation, just pure presence, mindfulness and enjoying your own company.
3. KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS AND STRESSORS
One of the best ways to prevent undue stress in your life is by being aware of what causes you to become nervous, fatigued, or upset in the first place.
Take some time to Make a list of your specific triggers (your Journal can be a really great place to record this), and try to pay attention if one of them is happening.
If you recognise a new trigger add it to your list and then strategise some ways to avoid escalation.
Self-care isn't just about calming yourself after the emotional storm, but preventing it prior to the escalation if you can.
4. REGULARLY DETOX FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
A 2017 study from the American Psychological Association found that people who consistently check their phones — whether their apps, texts, or email — report higher levels of stress.
Make a resolution to take a day (or more realistically, a few hours) to disconnect from technology and chill out.
This is especially important for people who need to consume a lot of technology for their for their jobs.
A great way to do this is to place phones or technology in a basket at certain set times of day for a few hours, no phone rule at mealtimes or in bedroom.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE PHYSICAL INDICATORS OF STRESS
Our bodies most of the time indicates to us that we are stressed even if our brains are not consciously communicating it.
Pay attention to the physical signs that you need to take some extra time for self-care:
If you are feeling run down keep catching colds, feel tired, or poor skin conditions breaking out, take a break.
6. SET GOALS TO TRY NEW COPING SKILLS Having a solid routine can be healthy, but trying new coping skills could help you break out of any self-care boredom you may have experienced in 2018.
Explore some new ideas for hobbies in 2019, I will provide a fact sheet with some funfilled ideas in coming weeks!
7. CUT OUT TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS OR PEOPLE
Your environment effects your mental health at every stage of life and development, so surrounding yourself with supportive or health friendships is key to keeping healthy.
Cutting out toxic people does not just apply to people you know personally — it can mean unfollowing an Instagram or Twitter account that makes you feel bad.
You should be your number one priority; try not to compromise your well-being for others.
8. ENGAGE YOUR DIFFERENT SENSES IN SELF-CARE
Everyone has default coping skills they go to for self-care, but try to expand your wheelhouse with self-soothing tools that intentionally engage your five senses.
If you normally visualize, try to close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you.
Or, try engaging scent with essential oils. You may discover a new way to centre yourself that works even better than skills you've utilised before.
9. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTHCARE NEEDS WHEN YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY SICK
When you have a surge of energy and feel like adulting, this is the perfect time to schedule your doctor's appointments — including proactive therapy — ahead of time.
Doing this helps ensure that when you don't have the energy for self-care, you don't go for prolong periods of time without any health care needs.
Make it an achievable goal for January to schedule your checkup for this year in advance, finally find a therapist, or take care of other health needs.
10. RESET YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE
Sleep plays an essential role in maintaining physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life; basically, without a proper sleep schedule, everything else can begin to go a bit haywire.
Set a resolution to reboot your sleep hygiene, and reset your internal clock if you have not had a decent night's sleep in a while.
You can do this by simply sticking to a bed time, eating meals at regular hours, and making a few lifestyle adjustments to induce a normal sleep cycle.
11. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS IN A NEW AREA OF YOUR LIFE
Mindfulness is a wide-ranging topic, but some habits of mindful people including listening to the cues from physical health, expressing gratitude, and being creative.
Pick an area of your life, from romance to finance, that you neglected in 2018 and make awareness around it a priority.
Self-care for you may be simply discovering what form of mindfulness you need in your life, and taking baby steps to achieve it.
12. MOST OF ALL DON’T WORRY IF YOU CANT OR DON’T WANT TO DO THESE THINGS
Despite what some wellness gurus may lead you to believe, self-care is not a competition. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
Being patient with yourself, allowing yourself some room to make mistakes, and don't become to hung up on succeeding at every single resolution you set at the beginning of the year, or heck, any of them.
Mental health and self-care require ongoing, lifelong maintenance — there's no finish line, and no need to rush your progress.