This is a delicate time of year. It’s a moment when we feel the letdown of the holidays ending and along with it, perhaps a deficit of money, energy and health. Our bodies feel off and our minds tired. It can be hard to gather inspiration or enthusiasm. Being back at work feels so heavy.
This is a result of a little bit of burn-out. Burn-out happens when we do too much without taking time for self-care. It’s like when we let our phone battery run down. At this moment, we could just be on that last little blinking bar of red.
First thing, this is ok. Over the holidays, it’s normal to have overcommitted and overindulged, and as a result, let go of our self-care routines. We all do it, and personally, I think it’s quite healthy to surrender to the merriment and connection of the season.
This helps soften our perfectionism and reminds us that life is supposed to be fun. That attitude is self-care in and of itself.
However, it becomes dangerous when we begin beating ourselves up over our lack of control. It’s easy to be mean to ourselves, especially now, if we are feeling off. We think back and regret our decisions. We wonder why we couldn’t have done better.
This line of thinking hurts our self-esteem. It also creates the conditions for setting unrealistic resolutions and not following through with them.
Personally, I don’t believe this is a good time of year to set resolutions. Regardless of what we have been told, most of us aren’t in a good place to reset our habits. By not considering our current capacity -- blinking last red bar -- for making change, we set ourselves up to fail.
This hurts our self-esteem and makes us give up on ourselves eventually.
Instead, I think this is a great time of year for self-care, the very gentle kind. This means no boot camp classes or Whole 30 diets. This means still enjoying our carbs while going for long walks.
Gentle self-care is plugging our phone back into the wall and leaving it there until we are at all full power. At that point, we can decide on sensible resolutions and we actually have the power to follow through with them. When undertaken with strength and strategy, making change from this place builds really healthy self-esteem.
In order to build your strength back to the point of making clear resolutions and actually following through on them, start with self-care right now. These easy steps are a good starting point, but feel free to make your own list and follow it imperfectly yet with as much heart as you can manage right now.
Extra Gentle Self-Care Actions:
Take a nap.
Soften your eyes and your jaw.
Put your legs up the wall.
Light a candle.
Tell the truth.
Write it down.
Buy new socks.
Read a poem.
Go outside and turn your face to the sun.
Touch paint to paper.
Ask two friends to brunch.
Wash your sheets.
Take a restorative yoga class.
Rub your feet.
Pray; surrender control.
Make a drawing.
Go on a road trip with your dog.
Put on a face mask.
Connect to your tribe.
Make your bed.
Oil your sinuses.
Simmer something on the stove.
Frame a new picture of your grandmother.
Hold a crystal.
Find a new bar of soap that smells divine.
Pause in a bookstore.
Drizzle good olive oil on fresh bread.
Listen to new music.
Wrap up in a shawl.
Invest in a hot water bottle.
Walk more slowly.
Giggle with a child.
Ask your best friend for a new recipe.
Drink a cup of warm water with lemon upon rising.
Fill your produce drawer.
Do a few cat/cow stretches.
Talk to a stranger with kind eyes.
Dance in your kitchen.
Go to bed early.
Wake up ten minutes early just for yourself.
Say “thank you” before and after you eat.
Learn something about your uber driver.
Start over again, each day.
This list is just the beginning. There is no end to the ways we can care for ourselves, right now in this very moment.
When we relax and recharge, our perspective opens. We see that right now, we are just at the beginning. There is no end to the ways we will grow and evolve. It starts with a dedication to ourselves that involves integrity, intention and kindness. This is self-love, and it’s manifested through self-care.
This power is always available to us. We can turn our faces to it, just like warming them in the sun, and feel refreshed. Self-care is ever renewing when we find it again -- like right now, in this very moment.