2020 was a tough year for all. For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our mental health. What it did bring, however, was the opportunity to take care of ourselves more.
People have been more aware of personal safety throughout the pandemic, shifting priorities toward our own personal health. In fact, a study found that 80% of Americans plan to keep up with their self-care routines following the pandemic.
Self-care is a crucial tool for our well-being. Not only does it improve our own mood, but it betters our ability to care for others. And caring for yourself doesn’t mean moving heaven and earth. Taking small steps within your daily routine can make a big difference.
2021 is the time to create new habits. We have put together a checklist for you to take control of your wellbeing, with five steps to get you started, or keep up with, your self-care journey.
Nurture your mental health
A great way to manage feelings of stress and anxiety is to journal. Journaling provides a way to process your thoughts by putting them down on paper. Taking some time during your day, or just before bed, is a great way to clear your mind. You could even write down your goals and aspirations to give yourself something to work towards and keep your mind focused.
While escapism is not the answer, taking a small break to dive into a good book will give your mind a rest. You could learn too, as many self-help books are available for managing and coping with mental health issues.
You might also want to consider helplines, support groups and therapy sessions if you feel you could benefit from the support of others.
Put a little love into your relationships
With over a year of avoiding social contact, many of us have had to adapt to alone time, having been kept apart from our loved ones. If anything, the past year has taught us to value our relationships.
You might want to reconnect with relatives or old friends or simply check in on those who have spent much of quarantine alone. You could even consider dating, meeting new people and socialising in a safe setting. Nurturing your relationships will support your wellbeing, reminding you of the love you have in your life.
Food and fitness
You’ll have heard it a thousand times – exercise and eating well is the basis of a good self-care routine. And it’s true. Regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can improve your overall mood. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to self-care.
Whether you’ve fallen out of your routine with gyms being closed, or you’ve finally found the time to work out, 2021 is the time to secure your routine. There are so many home workout classes online to try, the gyms are reopening, and you could even turn that daily walk into a 30-minute run.
You don’t need to follow any strict diets either. Start with the basics – eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking more water, and cutting out junk food and sugary snacks. It’s a new year, so try new recipes, learn to cook and prepare meals. You might just surprise yourself.
Catch up on health visits
After a year of fearing clinical settings, 2021 could be the year to catch up on those missed health visits and update your life insurance and health insurance policies, too. Many health settings are no longer emergency only and have started taking routine appointments again. This includes trips to the dentist, the opticians, and even check-ups with your GP.
Update your space
A 2021 Mintel report found that the home has become the heart of people’s wellbeing. Your home should be a place of solitude, somewhere to work and play. And the environment itself can have a great effect on the way we feel. If your home office is here to stay, try moving furniture around, brightening up the walls or adding some accessories to reinvent the place. Candles, oil diffusers and fresh bedding are among just some of the home comforts that can make us feel at ease.
Self-care can start anywhere with some small changes. If the five steps above feel a little too much at first, choose one and start with that. It’s time we all make ourselves a priority. You’ll soon feel the benefit, and so will your loved ones.