Now that we’ve officially crossed the half-way mark of January, I thought it was only fitting to take a second and check in on each other. How are you doing? How is the new year going so far? I finally took the plunge and tossed out our Christmas tree last weekend. Even though it sure was hard to say goodbye to that bone-dry mini fir, I convinced my husband to leave up a few strands of lights around our apartment. That way, we can enjoy the spirit of the holidays for just a tad-bit longer. Plus, those warm white bulbs always illuminate such a cozy vibe, don’t you think?
Anyway, enough of my off-tangent rant. Time to get back on track.
How are your new year’s resolutions coming? I know I mentioned some simple resolutions to revitalize your body, mind and soul here that are totally doable any time of the year, but then I got to thinking: What about the people that are looking to grow and evolve but aren’t really keen on resolutions in the first place? And that’s why I’m here today.
Instead of creating one, two, three (four, five, six) giant self-care goals to achieve throughout the next 365 days, why not take the year one month at a time? That way, you can tackle smaller challenges with each 30/31 days that pass and revel in just as much (if not more!) self-improvement success by the time December rolls around. Enticing, right?
Now of course, everyone is unique so your idea of self-care might differ with what I’ve listed below, but I’m hoping it will at least help you get started on your journey!
January: Infuse your mind with inspiration.
With the cheerful holiday decor all packed up and the outdoor temperatures consistently dropping, it doesn’t take much for January to seem a bit dreary. But don’t let the cold frigid weather get you down. Instead, take time to infuse your mind with inspiration. Plan a trip. Add adventures to your bucket list. And if you don’t have a bucket list, create one. The excitement of having something to look forward to will be the heat needed on even the coldest of days.
February: Fuel your body with good, clean food.
Feed your soul by fueling your body with good, clean food. Make February the month you step back and really take a hard look at your everyday eating habits. Get into meal-planning. (Trust me: this concept really does save so much time and money.) Dabble in new cuisines and cook yourself nourishing meals. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel overall!
March: Ignite your inner bliss through mindfulness.
March toward mindfulness by uncovering new ways to ignite your inner bliss. Whether that be through meditation, yoga, coloring, or simply jotting down your thoughts, taking the time to focus on your breath and become more mindful with work wonders for your mental health. Plus, you’ll start to discover even the smallest of beauties scattered throughout the everyday. (If you’re new to meditation and want guidance, I highly recommend the Headspace app!)
April: Spark up your senses with aromatherapy.
Have a headache? Can’t sleep? Simply need some stress relief? If you’ve never tried aromatherapy, you are missing out, my friend, as essential oils are nature’s magic. So grab yourself a diffuser and get to infusing. Take time to find which oils work best for you and then create your own aromatherapy routine. Your senses will thank you.
May: Move your body and make your way outside.
By the time May comes about, chances are you might find yourself in a gym rut. (I know I do around this time of year.) But hopefully the sun will start making temperatures rise and you can transition your workouts outside. Run, hike, bike, you name it — any form of exercise will be more enjoyable with some Vitamin D.
June: Take time to talk it out.
Ever heard of the old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved?” Don’t run yourself into the ground by bottling up stress, tension, or any other worries you might be facing. In fact, talking through issues or concerns with a therapist, counselor, or a trusted loved one is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
July: Compliment yourself (and others!) more.
No matter the day, even the quickest of compliments can go a long way. That said, make it a goal to compliment yourself at least ___ times daily. You’ll not only instill more confidence and self-love in yourself, but you will also grow your inner strength. And as always, don’t forget to spread the kindness to others.
August: Create new positive affirmations.
To build upon July’s challenge, create personal affirmations for yourself. For instance, I find more positivity in the everyday when I constantly remind myself to “be the change I want to see.” Repeating these types of mantras daily, weekly, or even monthly will assist in clearing your mind and building more mental strength.
September: Set “bedtime” boundaries.
Make September the time you prioritize sleep and get those eight full hours of zzz’s. And if that means you need to set “bedtime” boundaries and make your bedroom a no-phone zone, then so be it! Having this time to peacefully unwind will be worth it; I promise.
October: Learn something new.
Ignite your curiosities by challenging yourself to learn a new skill. However much you wish to push your limits, there’s no doubt you’ll instantly feel empowered. And who knows, you might even uncover a new passion! Don’t worry if you’re not really sure where to start; Becky listed several fun ways to learn new skill-sets here. The best part? Many of these outlets are FREE.
November: Give way for more gratitude.
Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving to express appreciation, use the entire month of November to give thanks. Jot down the people, places, and things that bring you joy in a gratitude journal. Shower family and friends with love by implementing a few of these budget-friendly tips. Not only will this make you much happier as an individual, but you’ll become amazed by the powerful positive effect gratitude has on others.
December: Lend a helping hand.
With December being the month of gift-giving, opt to give something you can’t stick under the tree: your time. Seek out local volunteer opportunities, or choose a cause you’d like to be a part of and lend a helping hand. Even random acts of kindness can make a difference and will certainly make the world (and holiday season) a whole lot brighter!
And there you have it: The Ultimate “Self-Care” Challenge. Feel free to switch it up however you wish and cheers to welcoming more “me-time” in 2018 and not feeling guilty about it!
Kathryn McLamb is a writer and photographer on a mission to inspire others to celebrate the everyday. She runs her blog Pineapple Street, and when she’s not plotting her next travel adventure, you can find her wandering the colorful city streets of San Francisco.
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