A new year is as good time as any to do some serious (self-)reflecting. Not too seriously of course. My liver wouldn’t thank me for the amount of alcohol that would take. Because as I’m sure you’ve noticed: 2021 was a wild ride at best and a total shit-show at worst.
[I have to admit though, despite the occasional — global, national, local and personal, go us! — issue, the year had plenty of good moments.]
Lesson 1: Self-care isn’t optional. (Yeah, it was a shock for me too.)
One of the most important lessons 2021 taught me is that self-care isn’t optional.
Self-care is the foundation for my energy, my creativity and my motivation. It gives me the basic tools I need to go through life and enjoy it. It gives me the power to properly interact with the world on more-or-less even footing instead of getting swept away and drowned out by everything that’s going on everywhere all at once.
Groundbreaking territory, right?
What’s more, slapping on a facial mask and binge-watching Queer Eye when I’m feeling down isn’t enough. (Though it’s certainly part of it.) My life has changed a lot in the past two years. And so has what my mind and body need. Meaning that I spent 2021 searching for things I could do to better support myself and help me adjust to the way my daily life looks right now. Routines that I need to turn into habits if I want them to really have a longterm effect.
Which I want very much, thank you.
Here are three self-care habits I want to take with me into 2022:
- Stretch multiple times a week. Back pain is an old friend who’s faithfully accompanied me through 2021. Mostly because my posture sucks. The lack of my usual activities and working from home (meaning couch or bed instead of desk) hasn’t done me any favors either.
Stretching eases the pain and helps preventing it from getting bad in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that already, but last year really drove home that I have to keep those exercises up regularly to reap the benefits. The bonus: Aside from feeling more comfortable and relaxed in my body, midday stretches are also a great way to clear my head and regain my focus and creativity — which I’m sure my boss appreciates. That’s why I want to continue stretching 3 to 5 times a week for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Meditate regularly. Not gonna lie, I didn’t think much of meditation until recently. Or at least I didn’t think meditation was for me. But during the most stressful weeks in my recent memory — which surprisingly were unrelated to any and all global crises going on at the time — I was desperate to sleep through the night again, so I gave it a shot. And while it’s not something I’m doing daily I was surprised by how calming I found it. Especially the body scanning exercises because those give me something to focus on that isn’t just “Try to not think about everything that’s currently stressing you out”.
So while meditation isn’t gonna be part of my morning routine anytime soon [she said as though she has a proper morning routine], I do want to do it regularly. If nothing else, it helps me fall asleep.
- Leave the house to walk the dog. Occasionally. [If my family reads this, I don’t want to give them any ideas. It’s not my dog, damn it.] Okay, so, this may be the most controversial statement I ever make in my life, but I don’t really like dogs. Now before you gather your pitchforks: I don’t hate them. I just never wanted one myself. So when we did get a dog two years ago — I was outvoted — I wasn’t happy. In fact, I swore I wouldn’t ever walk her anywhere because honestly? I didn’t want to have to deal with the responsibility.
To the shock of presumably nobody, I did end up walking our dog. Still do so regularly because working from home means I’m often the most convenient option. And most of the time I actually enjoy it a lot. It gives me a reason to take a break from work and get out of the house. Breathe some fresh air and all that. Also our dog is pretty damn cute. Curse her.
So all in all, I guess I’ll keep that up this year too. Sigh.
What about you? Do you have any new or old habits you’re determined to stick with this year?
Wishing you all the best for the first week in 2022 and every day after that.
[Note: This is it. My first blog post in something like four years because I — the person who scoffs at the concept of new years resolutions — decided the proper way to celebrate surviving 2021 was to try my hand at blogging again. Are you curious to see how long that motivation is gonna last? Yeah, so am I.]