With a new year around the corner, you’ll probably be taking some time to reflect, evaluate, and set some goals. One goal we recommend is focusing on self-care. Take the time to focus on Y-O-U because we’re here to tell you—you are amazing!
Here are just five tips for you to take care of yourself in 2020 and beyond. Each comes with a coordinated challenge that you can put into practice for a happier, healthier you.
Give and Serve
When you think about self-care, the idea of reaching out to others might not be the first place you go, but maybe it should be. Tony Robbins, famous for his generosity, lives by this mantra, “The secret to living is giving.” We agree!
There are many studies, experiments, and research that show correlation between happiness and giving. In one such study, “M.R.I. scans showed greater activity in a portion of the brain…associated with altruism” in those who made generous choices to give money away to others. Isn’t that interesting? Even the thought of giving makes us happier!
It wouldn’t take much to prove this theory in your own life. All you need to do is to volunteer your time, make a donation, hold the door open for someone, take a neighbor a plate of cookies, or a million other seemingly small things, and see how you feel. Do it again and again, and we’re willing to bet that you’ll feel something—something happy!
Challenge: Complete one act of kindness (random or otherwise) every day.
Another important step on the road of self-care is being grateful. It has been said, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” When we learn to live in gratitude daily, the natural result is health and happiness. In one study, “Researchers in two different groups found that people who kept gratitude journals or wrote gratitude letters to people they had never properly thanked reported feeling happier and had significantly better health than those in the other treatment groups.” Wow! Gratitude not only makes us happier, it also can lower our stress and contribute to our overall health.
Challenge: Each day, write down at least one thing that you’re grateful for.
No discussion of self-care is complete without a focus on the mind. As Prasad Mahes said, “The mind is like water. When it's turbulent, it's difficult to see. When it's calm, everything becomes clear.”
Over the past several years, mindfulness has been at the forefront of mental health discussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is “meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.”
Mindfulness should be an important part of your self-care routine. When you learn to live in the moment, pay attention to what and who is right in front of you, accept yourself, and focus on your breathing, you’ll find a variety of benefits and feel better overall.
Challenge: Spend at least two minutes every day in meditation. Take time to relive a positive, happy moment, process an emotion, or simply concentrate on the present.
Exercise and Nutrition
This is a no-brainer, when you make healthy choices about food and exercise, you’re going to feel better. The point we want to stress here is to find what works for you. Make a plan, set a goal, take one thing at a time. Don’t try to change everything all at once; you’ll likely feel more rundown and stressed about it if you take on all the goals at the same time. A great place to start is the Xyngular Guide to a Healthy and Happy Life, a free eBook from us to help you maximize your efforts and promote healthy weight management.
Challenge: Set one goal and focus on it. Then add another when you’re ready.
Finally, our last tip is to connect. Connect with yourself, the creativity that lives in you, what makes you feel alive, and what your purpose is. The tips above are just some of the ways you can explore to connect with yourself.
Then connect with others. According to Psychology Today, “Social connection strengthens our immune system, helps us recover from disease faster, and may even lengthen our life. People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression.” Connection is powerful! "In a world of algorithms, hashtags, and followers,” Simi Fromen advises, “know the true importance of human connection."
Challenge: Spend at least a few minutes every day connecting with someone (in-person, if possible). Look them in the eyes, practice being present, listen, and enjoy!