So, it’s 2019. Welcome to a brand-new year! This feeling can’t be rivaled by much. Filled with promise and hope, the new year is always a great time to get started on your goals and aspirations (yes, the “new year new me” posts are already flooding social media!). There are so many ways you can make this year your best yet, and one of the first is by letting go of your self-care routine.
Did anyone else notice that in the latter half of last year, self care started to get, well, complicated? Mental health and wellness advocates all over the world were insisting we get up at 4:45 in the morning, have an ice bath, meditate for twenty minutes, journal for 10, do a quick HIIT workout while measuring cortisol levels, then dry-brushing followed by tongue-cleaning followed by another hot/cold shower to mimic hydrotherapy followed by Kombucha and a ketogenic breakfast followed by intermittent fasting for 16 hours, and it’s not even 9am yet.
Between Hygge, KonMari, adult-coloring books, gratitude journals, and smartphone apps to track it all, we have somehow managed to turn even simple acts of self-care into work. Your self-care practice is so important for good mental health, but it shouldn’t stress you out. It shouldn’t be hard and it shouldn’t cause you more anxiety than you had beforehand. It should be easy enough to implement in your daily lives, and fun enough that you love doing it! (Because while the 4:45 am ice bath might work for Tim Ferriss, I am absolutely not a fan).
So in 2019, you can breathe a sigh of relief because we’re going to see a relaxation of self care rituals. It’s time to go back to basics with your mental health. Here’s how you can start doing that.
Wake up naturally
This obviously won’t work too well for us with jobs and places to be early in the morning, but the main goal here is to stop forcing yourself to be a morning person if you’re just not. Self-care is about love, and if you’re making yourself wake up every day at 5am in the name of ‘self-care’ while knowing you’re going to be a grouch for the rest of the day, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Set an alarm for a reasonable time that allows you to at least shower, eat breakfast, and relax for a little bit before your day really starts.
Be food-sensible, not restrictive
Intermittent fasting became huge in 2018, and while it received huge accolades worldwide, being touted as the best way to lose weight, it’s not for everyone. This year, don’t restrict your food intake, but do try to eat better. Focus on wholesome, fresh products, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and lots of water. Trust your instincts and your natural feelings. If you’re hungry, eat. Eat until you’re not hungry anymore. Avoid junk food if you can, but don’t beat yourself up when you inevitably indulge in some. Find that balance between healthy eating and enjoying a bit of culinary decadence.
Watch what you’re eating on social media
They don’t call it a ‘social media feed’ for no reason. It might not be edible but it feeds your brain, and if you’re absorbing picture-perfect #goals for hours every single day, it will begin to erode your mental health. When we compare ourselves, even subconsciously, against what we’re seeing on social media, it can and does become hugely detrimental to our emotional wellbeing. It makes us feel as though we’re not slim enough, not clever enough, not rich enough, and just not quite anything enough. So this year, take a break. Find those moments where you’d usually pull out your phone and start scrolling, like waiting in a line, sitting on a train, or even lying in bed, and just focus on being happy with yourself in those moments instead.
In 2019, take your mental health into your own hands. Stop trying to do what makes your favorite blogger or influencer feel good, and start doing what makes you feel good. Get to know yourself, your likes, your dislikes, and build your self-care routine around that.