New year’s resolutions are seldom positive phenomena. Mainly because they start with an unrealistic and impossible objective, that normally ends in disappointment and guilt.
This year, let’s break the trend and set a resolution that has self-care at the core. After all, everyone needs time to slow down and tend to their own emotions, mental health, and physical state.
You can start by following my tips for welcoming in the New Year with mindfulness.
1. Reflect on the past year
The first step to planning for a new year is reflection and recognition of your past. Reflection can help you identify areas of your life that evoke stress and enable you to implement changes that combat patterns of anxiety.
On reflection, I have often become unnecessarily overwhelmed with university work, resulting in immense stress and burnout. I recognise this is unsustainable for another year and so it is important for me to utilise coping strategies in the future. I will work on taking a step back when problems arise and allowing myself time to think objectively about possible solutions before I begin to panic.
2. Celebrate your successes
Whilst it is important to take steps for self-improvement, you should recognise accomplishment and congratulate yourself. No matter how big or how small, acknowledging your achievements can give you confidence for future growth.
When I reflect on the past year, I am incredibly proud of myself for continually working to ensure that I graduate from dental school in 2022. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on my university work and clinical activity, but I was determined to keep going. Something which I know so many other students can be proud of.
3. Surround yourself with positivity
Whether you find accountability from colleagues, friends, or family; a support team filled with positive energy can make you feel capable of just about anything.
I always like to share self-care efforts with my loved ones so that they can assist me with my ventures. Often, they will also adopt my goals in an effort to accomplish self-improvement themselves.
4. Declutter your home
A new year is a great time to remove any mess from your home and reset your living space.
I find that cluttered areas hinder my creativeness and cause an unnecessary amount of anxiety. By establishing a fresh and tidy environment, I can focus on my goals and free myself from preventable stress.
5. Prioritise healthy habits
There is no need to begin 2022 with a strict diet plan, unmanageable exercise regimen, and excessive amount of work. Ultimately, it will lead to burnout and eventually, failure. Instead, start the new year will a regulated sleep pattern, a good work-life balance, movement, nourishing food, and meditation.
Next year, I am going to make a concerted effort to start every day with a glass of water and a 10-minute meditative exercise. Currently, my morning routine entails a strong coffee and emails, which is not conducive to a lifestyle promoting self-care and mindfulness.
6. Make time for self-care
Take the time to mark your calendar for future self-care times. You can block off an hour or even a whole evening to spend some time reflecting, evaluating, and relaxing.
Blocking out time for myself is something which I plan to work on in the New Year. I find it incredibly challenging to allow myself the time to relax and consequently end up overworked and burnt out.
7. Resolve to make yourself a priority
During the coming year, make sure you prioritise your own self-care above anyone else’s. This may seem selfish, but a well-rested and happy individual is far better for everyone than a miserable and burnt-out one.
I, frequently, fall into the trap of prioritising the needs of others before my own and subsequently neglect to look after myself correctly. Whilst I feel uncomfortable about changing this, as it is in my nature to be caring, it is an area I am determined to work on and improve over time.
I hope you can find mindfulness in 2022 and enjoy the emotional, mental, and physical benefits that self-care can bring.
Here’s to a New Year free from stress, self-loathing, and regret!