by Cyndi Watters
Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were full of fun, friends, and family time. If you are like most, the holidays are full of festivities, food, and lots of fun. However, as much joy as the holiday season brings, it can also be exhausting. We spend so much time doing, we forget or run out of time to really take care of ourselves. This may include overindulging in extra food and drinks or getting less sleep, causing more physical and emotional stress on the body.
Welcome January! This month provides an opportunity for self-recovery, self-reflection, and much needed rest. Many use this time of year to set new goals or start new projects that are most commonly referred to as the NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.
As you are thinking about your plans for the new year, I encourage you to include “self-care” at the top of your list. “Self-care” is not just a fun buzzword – it is an essential gift to yourself to do things that improve the overall quality of life. This gift supports a healthy lifestyle, helps you navigate daily stress, and fosters resilience to everyday life.
What do I mean by “resilience” to everyday life? It means creating an enhanced ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from daily challenges and stress, big and small.
A self-care routine should include the “Four Pillars of Health:”
1) Physical – This refers to our physical flexibility, our endurance and strength. This can include things like reviewing our nutritional, exercise, and sleep routines. Our community provides a fitness center open to all members, a neighborhood surrounded by nature to enjoy walking, jogging, cycling, exercise classes, and golf.
2) Emotional – This refers to our emotional flexibility, a positive outlook, and self-regulation. This could include keeping a daily journal, exploring deep breathing or yoga, and adding social activities. Our community offers many groups and social activities that can assist in focusing on our emotional strength.
3) Mental (Intellectual) – This refers to our mental flexibility and attention span, our ability to focus, and attaining clarity to understanding multiple points of view. This can include taking time to expand and exercise our mind by reading books, doing puzzles or brain teasers, starting a hobby, or taking a class. Our community provides a library, many book clubs, and game groups.
4) Spiritual – This refers to our commitment to our values and increasing our tolerance of others’ values and beliefs. This can include meditation, practicing mindfulness, or starting your day with an intention or purpose. It can include quiet walks in nature or quiet time connecting with a loved one or pet. Our community is situated on a beautiful body of water with plenty of nature that provides time for reflection.
Keys for a successful “self-care” plan will take just a few minutes of your time.
- Identify your goals and write them down. Choose only a few at a time so that they are not overwhelming.
- Fit them into your schedule as you would any appointment or meeting.
- Find someone to support you and help with accountability.
- Have fun. The plan should enhance your life, not add more stress.
So, throw away those stale resolutions and start the new year with a “self-care” gift to yourself!