Apparently, 2016 was a bit of a doozy for many of my friends and family. My Facebook newsfeed is full of people wishing 2016 away and hoping to find a better year in 2017. From difficult circumstances, illness, tragedy, job losses, and the deaths of friends, family, or celebrities, it seems that the year was full of hard times.
As we turn our sights toward the New Year and begin to make plans and goals for our future, and dreams and visions for what is to come next year, I thought it would be helpful to consider some ways we can have an amazing year despite the circumstances that come our way. You see, there will always be difficult moments in every year. Hard times will come, mistakes will be made, and tragedy will strike someone, somewhere. But difficult times don’t have to define us or our year. We can make beauty out of any mess that life can throw at us, we just have to decide to choose joy, and hope, and peace in the midst of whatever we experience.
That begins with us. When we prioritize taking care of ourselves we are able to bring the best version of ourselves to whatever life throws our way. When we are healthy, rested, energized, and content with ourselves, we can not just survive life’s storms but actually thrive and enjoy each small moment. Here are 17 ways we can manage our self-care to make sure that we bring our best selves to the coming year and all that lies ahead of us.
1. Always be grateful.
Take 2 minutes each day to make a list of all the things you are grateful for from the previous day. You will always have much to be thankful for, always.
2. Pray daily.
God didn’t actually promise us that He would never give us more than we could handle. We’ll probably be faced with a lot of circumstances we think we can’t handle in our lifetimes. In those times, we must rely on the only One who can handle it all. He knows, He loves us, and He has a plan for our good. Trust Him and pray every single day.
3. Move your body.
Find at least ten minutes each day to do something active. You don’t need to spend an hour at the gym, but always do something.
4. Put down the phone.
Set screen time limits for yourself if you have to, but give your eyes, your brain, and your face a break from your phone, tablet, or computer screen. For me, I’ve set 6:30 – 7:30 both in the morning and the evening as “no phone” times. These are the prime times I have with my kids each day, so I’m planning to intentionally focus on them rather than the world on my screen.
5. Drink more water.
If you’re not already drinking at least a gallon of water each day, you could probably stand to drink some more.
6. Eat more vegetables (and fruits).
How many servings of vegetables do you actually get every day? Make sure that you intentionally work to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your daily meals. Your body will thank you by giving you better health, more energy, and overall wellness.
7. Cut back on the sugar and processed foods.
I recognize the life of a working mom often requires some convenience meals and a life without sugar sounds like torture for many people, but do what you can to choose real, whole, unsweetened foods as often as possible.
8. Listen to music you love.
Who cares what anyone else says, if there is music that makes your heart happy, listen to it, sing loud along with it, and enjoy your happy self. It will boost your mood, boost your energy, and makes life just a little bit better. You be you, and enjoy what you love.
You don’t have to KonMari your entire house, but take a few minutes each day to pick up the clutter around you. Clear off your desk at work, pick up the dirty socks your family leaves all over the living room, fill the dishwasher, organize the shoes, whatever mess is driving your subconscious mind crazy, take 5 minutes and clean it up.
10. Set realistic goals that excite you.
Life is a journey, which means we go somewhere, we do something. Don’t let your life pass by without accomplishing anything great with the gifts and talents that God has given you. I’m not saying to run yourself ragged trying to do all of the things, but you should do something, and make it something that excites you.
11. Do nothing.
Pause and breath. Think. Rest. Ponder. Give your brain a break. Schedule time on your calendar to do absolutely nothing.
12. Sleep more.
Go to bed early, sleep in when your kids let you, take naps on the weekend. Sneak in more sleep and rest as often as you can. Your to-do list will wait. You’ll have more energy and focus to be able to tackle your list once you are more rested.
13. Do something fun.
Do you like to read? Do you love movies? Did you love to ski when you were younger? Does your brain thirst for adventure? Do you dream of hiking in the woods, swimming in the lake, or exploring in the big city? Whatever it is that you find fun, schedule more of that into your life. Not sure what sounds fun to you? Start with the things you loved doing as a kid.
14. Be with the people you love.
Family. Kids. Friends. This might sound like a no-brainer, but if your schedule is filled to the brim with work and volunteer obligations take a minute to look around at the people you are spending the most time with. Are these the people who mean the most to you? I’m not saying to quit your job, but just make sure that you have at least some time each day to spend with the people you love.
15. Don’t play the victim card.
When trials and hard times come, don’t look for someone to blame. Don’t complain and whine about how unfair life is. Don’t point the finger at everyone and everything that is “ruining your life”. You control your life, change your thinking, make new decisions, and start taking steps to live the life you want, no matter what circumstances come your way. Don’t give up your control.
16. Read your Bible.
Crack it open and read a chapter a day. Follow along with a daily Bible study. Write out or memorize a few verses. It doesn’t really matter how you do it so long as you actually do it. Spend some time in the Truth.
17. Just be You.
The world is loud and opinionated. You’re supposed to do this and not that. You have to live this way and this way only. You need to think this way, dress that way, and look like her.
Except all of it is wrong. Don’t listen to the world, listen to you, listen to the beat of your heart. Think what you want. Do what feels right to you. Don’t do what doesn’t feel right. Dress in whatever way you want and look the way that makes you happy. God made you to be you, uniquely and completely you. Stop trying to please everyone and start to live as fully you.
This is a long list. I’m not saying you can or should implement all of these on January 1st. But pick the one that speaks to you the most and start living it out. Make it your focus until it becomes natural for you, then pick another one. Slowly and gradually you will find your spirits rising, your energy lifting, and your joy increasing.
More Help to Bring a Healthier You into the New Year
If you’re looking for a little more help in implementing new healthy habits into your life, I would highly encourage you to consider taking Crystal Paine’s 15 Days to a Healthier You course that starts next month.
I’ve had a chance to preview the material for this course and I’m so excited to take part in it. This isn’t a course that will tell you how to setup a strict diet and exercise plan. Instead, this course focuses on healthy habits that can truly transform your life far better than simply changing what you eat and how you workout.
Crystal’s course is all about taking us from an overwhelmed, exhausted, barely hanging on type of life to start living a life full of energy, joy, and love, fully thriving and living out the gifts God has given us. She’ll talk about real self-care, goal setting, overcoming negativity, setting up daily routines, and developing health and fitness goals that can actually work.
If you want to make 2017 your best year ever, I highly encourage you to join me and lots of other moms for this course as we create a healthier version of ourselves to make for a better life.
This course will only be available for purchase from now until January 3rd, so be sure to sign up today. The cost is only $15 (one dollar a day!). The first day of the course will begin on January 9th and lasts for 15 days. There will be a workbook to follow along, specific daily projects and assignments, and a short Facebook Live video each day to get you going.
Check out this link for all of the details on the course and to get registered. I can’t wait to get started, will you join me?