So, 2017 was weird, right? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that it was one of the tougher years, which may have left you exhausted, depleted and despondent. The good news is, we can fix this. It’s just a matter of tuning in and helping yourself before turning your attention to others.
Practising self-care is a concept that sounds considerably easy in theory, but often isn’t. It’s not as though you have to start writing daily affirmations on the mirror in red lipstick à la Charlotte York, but there are many small (or big) ways you can start looking after numero uno (that’s you!).
Tackle “the Lurker”
We all have one. That freaking errand that’s been in the back of your mind/bottom of your to-do list for months. Get it done; feel great.
From the emails that unnecessarily clutter your inbox, from that person on social media that makes you feel inferior. Turn up your bullshit barometer, plug into your intuition and edit all your channels to only include content that positively contributes to your life.
Keep compliments on file
Chances are you remember the backhanded insult Jessica said about your beret seven years ago, but have already forgotten that your barista just this morning said you have a nice smile. Start a compliments file in the notes section of your phone.
Walk a new route
Routine is a part of life and necessary for stability, but spending too long in a comfort zone can be stifling for creativity and innovation. You don’t have to turn your life upside down to make changes. Take a different route to work tomorrow, whatever mode of transportation you use.
Look at something actually worth looking at
What’s on your phone screen? Make it something worthwhile.
Find your meditation groove
Meditating is really important. It’s also really hard. (If you find it easy, please divulge your secret in the comments.) Luckily, there are so many facilitators at our disposal that can help with this. Discover a method that works for you. My favourite tools are apps Buddhify and Headspace.
Take a duvet day
I was in London recently when my girlfriend told me she was taking a Duvet Day after her office party. I thought it was a brilliant concept. Spend a day just in bed, for you. (Make sure all deadlines are met for maximum enjoyment.)
How many times have you typed (or said) “lol” without actually laughing out loud? Spend 10 minutes on YouTube watching your favourite comedian; you will feel monumentally lighter.
Prioritise the zzzs
Schedule sleep like you would anything else. Need a cheerleader to keep you on track? Invest in a sleep-tracking app, such as Sleep Cycle.
It’s a small win, and you’ll be able to answer your dentist truthfully next time you visit them. Keep the floss somewhere obvious as a reminder. Your bathroom bench or the console of your car.
Find the exercise for you
Exercise that seems like a death sentence? Nope. Find something you really enjoy, because I guarantee you that it does exist. Pole dancing classes. An early morning swim. An intense 20-minute at-home YouTube session. Experiment.
Invest in your workspace
Talk to your boss or coworkers about investing in pieces of office furniture that are conducive to a productive output.
Schedule tech-free time
While the concept may leave you aghast, aim for at least one hour a day. Turn off your internet if that helps.
Find someone you love, and give them a hug
No explanation necessary.
Be your own BFF
How often do you act as your best friend’s cheerleader? Chances are it’s often. Do you show yourself that same type of unwavering support? Next time, treat yourself as you would your best friend.
Exercise one of your signature strengths
You know that thing you’re really, really good at? Do it.
Be generous in the ways that you can
Making donations doesn’t always necessarily mean financially. If you recognise an opportunity that’s within your resources, act on it. It helps if you hone in on the charities that resonate with you.
Brighten someone else’s day
It’ll make two people feel good.
List all the things that make you feel lucky
You may surprise yourself with how many bullet points you wind up with.
Revisit things that resonate with you
Do you remember a particular TED Talk that struck a chord? Is there a song or podcast you’ve listened to that makes you feel a certain something? A book that you love? Revisit it. There’s nothing wrong with going back to something trustworthy.
Have something to look forward to
Having goalposts of excitement on your calendar – no matter how big or small – can make a world of difference when it comes to motivation and productivity levels. Treat your future self to a full body massage, concert tickets or a weekend away – and write it in your calendar in red pen.