Happy New Year, Happy New Decade, And, Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New YOU!
This time of year, we often reflect on the past year, planning ahead for the year to come. We may make resolutions about changes we want to make internally and externally in our daily lives. So, how do we do it and succeed?
Have you ever wondered why a resolution or new routine didn’t stick?
It is said that it takes 21 days to develop a healthy habit, So, where should you begin and how do you keep yourself in check and not abandon ship 3-4 months down the road and sink back into previous unhealthy patterns?
Successful self-care and developing healthy habits are extremely important to your mental, emotional and physical well-being. It is vital that you take care of yourself, let the positivity grow in yourself and fill your own cup before giving to everyone/everything else – you can’t give your best if you are depleted, you can’t only give from a full cup.
As parents, as professionals, as caregivers, as spouses/significant others, if your self-care and healthy habits are not developed successfully, you may end up sleep deprived which greatly affects mental health thus feeling, feeling low energy or depressive symptoms, and you may also experience increased anxiety, worry and stress. With the right tools, you can avoid these pitfalls and successfully develop healthy habits that will benefit both yourself and those around you.
So, what do you do and where do you begin?
Be intentional about planning time into your day to allow your healthy habit a place in your daily life. (Scheduling self-care time in your planner and setting reminders on your phone are great tools to help keep you on track.)
Schedule Weekly Check-Ins with yourself to reflect on progress and adjust accordingly for the coming week.
Be mindful of your thought processes and decisions throughout your day to support success in your personal goals that you have set for yourself.
Implement positive affirmations and positive cognitions practices to keep yourself motivated and build your confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.
Ideas for successful habits:
(which I like to categorize as necessary self-care)
Mindful Eating (notice I did not say dieting, there is a big difference)– mindful eating is planning and choosing healthy food choices as well as not eating on the go, rather sitting down to a meal, either by yourself or with family and friends without work in front of you or electronics going.
Developing Healthy Sleep Habits by including establishing a rhythm to your sleep – going to bed at the same time each evening and waking at the same time in the morning (preferably without an alarm clock that jolts you out of sleep). Waking to the natural sunlight as the day begins is most healthy. If this is not possible in your daily schedule of getting off to work and/or the kids to school, try setting your alarm to a calming, gentle tone at a lower volume. If you experience difficulty winding down at night, I suggest burning candles, incense or essential oils, as well as deep breathing exercises, listening to therapeutic music, or taking a hot bath infused with lavender, chamomile or sage. If you still find your mind cluttered, jot down what you are concerns are or things you need to remember in the morning on a pad of paper and tuck it away until the morning – this is a way of releasing the thoughts or to-do lists while knowing you can come back to them in the morning when you are properly refreshed.
Meditation practice, yoga and/or daily mantras with mala/prayer beads to promote calmness and raise confidence in yourself is another habit that is successful in stress-relief and allows you to set your intention for a peaceful and productive day.
Making time for your hobbies/interests whether exercise, art, social gatherings, music, or adventures in nature; these are all mind-opening habits that successful people make time to do. Exploring your talents and interests outside of work generates creativity and develops healthy brain patterns that will pay back ten-fold in your roles and responsibilities that you have in your daily life.
And, last but not least, in fact I would say most important in developing successful habits is that success in this area of your life comes from establishing Healthy Boundaries with yourself, others, your work life, social life, and home life. Communicating your boundaries confidently and clearly to those around you in order to give yourself room to implement your new healthy habits, rather than being pulled in other directions that may deplete your resources, rather than ‘filling your cup’, is vital in ‘sticking to it’ and being your best for yourself AND others in the long run.
Now that you have the tools, you can set your intention and move forward, peacefully and ‘mindfully present’ in the new year, the new decade and become the YOU that you deserve to be each and every day.