Let’s be real – last year was one hell of a ride, filled with so much uncertainty and unexpected change in our lives. We were challenged, forced to come together by staying apart, and finding ways to nurture ourselves (and others) was vital.
While 2020 caused us to shift and pivot in our own unique ways, the journey continues in 2021, as we take a more proactive approach in managing the effects from last year. Be gentle with yourself around this time of the year – after all, everyone is still learning, growing and adjusting.
But with that comes the fact that we should start looking at our own needs that need nourishing. From physical and mental to emotional and spiritual, the act of selfcare is going to go well beyond Sundays.
To help you manage 2021 in relation to these different spheres of wellbeing, here are five tips that you can use to better prioritise selfcare this year:
1. Your Mental Health Matters
I don’t think we acknowledge this enough but if you’re reading this, you made it through a very taxing year, on all fronts. From whatever weight you gained, or lost, while in lockdown, to some people having to adjust to balancing work and personal life in the midst of a pandemic, 2020 just wasn’t easy for all of us and this year, it’s time to bring the focus back to your mental health.
I wrote about the need to take mental rest days when you need them; don’t skimp out on these in 2021. Whether you need to zone out of the online world every now and then, or book a virtual therapy session, find the resources most beneficial for you to actively (and effectively) keep an eye on maintaining your mental health.
If you need a starting point, read this interview with mindset and performance coach, Helen Kartika. There are some helpful tips in this post as well as practical takeaways that will aid you in navigating your mental health this year.
2. Put Boundaries on Your Screen Time
Did you know that, on average, people spend just over 2 hours on social media? This may not sound like much but can you imagine what else you could be doing, that may be a little more productive, with that same amount of time?
Now I know that for many of us, social media is actually our job (I’m right there with you), and so a lot of screen time is practically in the Ts & Cs. But screen fatigue and tech burnout does exist, and you can imagine how much strain your eyes must have taken from the influx of screen time throughout the months of staying indoors. We’re seeing the effects of blue light emission and overall screen time on our eye health, general mental health, and sleeping patterns. So this year, it’s time to put some boundaries on your screen time.
Just like a healthy relationship between people needs its own boundaries, so does the relationship you have with the tech devices you use. It really is okay to put your phone down to try recreate a special dish, or to catch up on the book that is gathering dust on your shelf. Setting up these boundaries – whether its regular social media breaks or no screen time between certain hours of the day, have these in place for a healthier you in 2021.
3. Keep in Touch with Mother Nature
Alongside baking, there was a huge interest for people to become “plant parents” in the early weeks of lockdown last year. With more people spending time at home, it became quite a global trend for people to bring the outdoors into their homes by investing in plants. I have no doubt that we’re going to keep seeing this trend throughout 2021 (I actually plan on investing in some plants for my new apartment).
As restrictions ease up in certain parts of the world, we’re beginning to see people venture out into the world again, taking up activities like jogging and hiking, as ways to get back into nature. If your government allows, try get some fresh air. Of course, you want to do this safely, but as the world adjusts to a different way of living in 2021, keeping Mother Nature close to you as part of your selfcare routine will continue to shine.
4. Nurture Your Relationships
Something else that changed in 2020 was the way in which we interacted with other people. Some of us, like myself, were in lockdown alone while others found themselves seeing their family members a lot more than they thought they would. Work dynamics shifted as a reliance on technology to accommodate a “work from home” culture saw more Zoom calls and “Can you see my screen?” comments. And relationships may have broken down. Either way, you were forced to come closer to others or reconnect with long lost friends and family.
With that said, I know that every situation is different, and your relationships may have changed too, but don’t stop nurturing them now. Use 2021 to get more proactive in strengthening the relationships you have in your life. Check in on people – friends, family, a work colleague. Let your selfcare routine extend to caring for the relationships around you so try open yourself up to finding ways of nurturing your relationships.
5. Remember to Take Care of You
At the end of the day, selfcare really is about taking care of yourself (the ‘self’ truly is the operative word here). My tip for this is to genuinely do one thing every month that brings you the utmost joy.
If you want to move your body and take an online dance class – do it. If you want to master the art of cooking a particular cuisine – do it. If you want to get out of a toxic situation – do it! Don’t let 2021 be the year where you don’t do a single thing that makes you smile.
Being happy should be one of your priorities this year because you will never NOT waste your time, energy or resources doing this. 2020 was difficult enough and gave us so much hardship, but one thing I learned was to make sure that I gave myself happiness, that I was the source of my own joy and that I was living and loving life with a smile on my face. This is a choice, a constant one at that, so dare to choose yourself often this year.
Will this always be easy to maintain? No. Bad days will come, life will happen and smiling will feel like a mask. But as long as you dedicate some time to finding ways to tap into your happiness, you will always be able to return home to yourself in the midst of adversity.
I hope this post, with these 5 easy peasy, selfcare tips give you the boost you need to look at 2021 in a fresh, more positive way. Let me know in the comments what are some of your selfcare tips for 2021; I’d love to hear them!