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New Year’s wellbeing resolutions: Create your self-care plan

January 8, 2024
Alexandra Hopkins

Many of us think of a new year as the start of a new chapter. It’s a chance for us to reflect on the previous year and think about the changes that we’d like to make or the goals that we’d like to accomplish this time around. Making time for reflection can be a really positive thing and setting New Year’s resolutions can help us to decipher what’s important to us and encourage us to create better habits.

New Year’s resolutions are personal, but something that we might overlook when setting our intentions is how we can improve our mental health. Creating a self-care plan can help us to slow down and carve out time for ourselves. People practise self-care in different ways, but ultimately anything that prioritises and supports our wellbeing is a form of self-care.  

Here are some self-care ideas and positive habits that you can add into your routine for a balanced and healthier 2024.

Remember, if you find that you’re struggling to stick to your New Year’s resolution, try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes life gets in the way or we simply don’t feel motivated. There’s always time to get back on track and criticising yourself will only make you feel worse.

Do something you enjoy

Making time to do things that you enjoy can help you to unwind and de-stress. It will give you a break from negative feelings and allow you to focus on something positive instead. You might like listening to a podcast (suggestions here), walking, catching up with friends or simply watching TV. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll feel the benefits.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is essential to maintaining good mental health. When we sleep, our body and mind has the chance to recuperate and recharge, which improves our concentration, productivity, brain function and memory recall. Sleep also gives us the chance to process our thoughts and emotions, which can help us to feel more balanced when we wake up. Read these tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.  

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries can help us to protect our energy and wellbeing, while enabling us to remain calm and balanced. Sometimes, it can be difficult to say no to things, but taking on too much can tip our stress levels over the edge. This is where boundaries come in; setting boundaries helps us to prioritise our own needs and by communicating our boundaries to others, we set clear expectations of ourselves so that people don’t ask too much of us. Read more about boundaries here.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can improve our mood, help us to feel more relaxed and reduce feelings of stress and anger. It can also help with mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. You could try exercising in the fresh air, gardening, or you could simply find a nice spot to sit and watch the wildlife.  

Practice journalling

Journalling is the practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings in order to understand them better. Expressing our worries freely can help us to analyse the situation and take control of our emotions, so that we don’t get stuck ruminating on negative thoughts.

Some people also find that keeping a gratitude journal gives them a brighter outlook on life. Writing down one or more things that we’re grateful for every day helps us to focus on the positive, rather than dwell on the negative.

Celebrate the small wins

Sometimes we’re so focused on our long-term goals that we forget to celebrate the small wins along the way. Any accomplishment, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated and acknowledging our progress can give us the boost that we need to keep going.

Perhaps you’ve finished a module on your university course, or set a boundary and stuck to it for the first time, or maybe you’re struggling with your mental health, but you got out of bed and washed today. Remember that everyone’s version of progress is different, so when you feel that you’ve achieved something, it’s important to congratulate yourself.  

Be kind to yourself

Everyone has an internal dialogue or inner voice that provides a running commentary. Although our inner voice can be friendly and keep us motivated towards our goals, some people experience more self-critical thoughts.

The way that we talk to ourselves about who we are and what we’re worthy of can have a direct impact on the way we live our lives and our relationships with others. It’s so important to be mindful of your inner voice and treat yourself with compassion. Read about how to be a better friend to yourself here.  

Try talking therapy

If you’re struggling with a mental health issue, going to therapy could be considered a form of self-care. ieso offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for a range of common mental health symptoms. Patients can login from wherever they are and ‘speak’ with a therapist by typing back and forth. Try free typed therapy here.

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This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.
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