The end of the year is one of the most stressful times. Between work, Christmas plans, and increased social events, many people enter the new year exhausted.
And because a new year represents a fresh start, they create a bunch of new year’s resolutions and goals.
However, I believe the new year is the time to press a different kind of reset button. The new year offers a chance to practice self-care and restore your energies.
But if you really need to get back to accomplishing some goal, then make a self-care practice your first goal.
Exhaustion can lead to burnout and to a pessimistic outlook in life. Your productivity drops and you take long to do simple tasks. You feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Your body is tired and aches. You feel unmotivated. So resetting your energies promises benefits to your physical, mental and emotional aspects making up you.
Here are 6 tips to consider in creating a self-care practice for the new year.
Get more sleep and establish a sleep routine
Sleep is the first thing that is compromised by the many activities typical of the Christmas month.
Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to be able to function optimally the next day.
A deficiency in sleep can lead to a number of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
One of the most effectivqe ways to repair a sleep deficit is to establish a sleep routine. A sleep routine tells your body and mind to get ready for sleep.
One easy way to do this is to first decide on the time you will get into bed. You should get to bed by the same time every night for at least one week.
Then work backward and decide what you need to do to get into bed. Write this out and post it in several places at home.
Allocate at least one hour for your sleep routine. Set a reminder on your phone when to start your night routine.
Put some boundaries around work and establish a work routine
December is a typical month to overwork to meet sales quotas and other work metrics.
After the year-end push, consider putting a boundary on work. Set aside time for work and containerize it. Outside of work time is time for yourself.
After overworking, you need to get some joy and purpose back into your life. So, make some time for activities that rejuvenate you on a daily basis and use the time outside of work to recuperate.
I used to hate the idea of a 9 – 5 job. Now I love it because the time from 6 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 10 pm is all for me.
Get some physical movement in
One of the things we can easily do in the new year to rejuvenate ourselves is to increase our physical activity, preferably, some form of exercise.
In particular, exercise in nature or “green exercise” such as a stroll in a garden has been shown to improve our mental well-being. And after the stress of December, enhancing mental well-being through a sense of tranquility and connection with the environment is a sure way to renew and restore a sense of balance to your life.
By moving your body, you refesh your mind, body and soul, which makes it an ideal, and inexpensive way to rejuvenate yourself before setting new goals.
Do things that you love
Many people tend to stop hobbies and other enjoyable activities during December. Oftentimes, this leads to dissatisfaction and resentment with work. If this is you, then re-engaging in hobbies is a sure way to improve not just work-life balance, but also job engagement and job satisfaction.
Studies have shown that employees who engage in leisure activities outside of work are less likely to experience burnout and lower levels of stress. They are also more likely to have a positive attitude towards their jobs and are less likely to experience work-family conflict.
While hobbies and leisure activities can improve your outlook of your job, they can benefit you tremendously. Hobbies can boost your creativity and problem-solving skills which can help you to address situations that cause you stress.
So, create some space each week for at least one hobby and for other leisure activities.
Close open loops at work and home
Every new year, I find I have not completed some goals and projects of the past year. I used to fret over not completing, however, now I have a decision system.
Goals and projects that I initially wanted to do and have not yet started are put on the back burner. I simply gauge my interest in these goals and projects. If I am not really interested and if they are not urgent, then I can shelve them for the time being.
The goals and projects that I must complete or that are at least over 50% done are placed on a priority list. Then I allocate time each week of January to complete these incompletes.
I find that closing the loop on these incompletes brings me much mental relief. Generally, people do not like to have unfinished business hanging over their heads. Completing old projects before starting new goals allows us to gain a sense of closure, free up mental space, feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and thus reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, when we complete projects we develop a sense of momentum and motivation which builds self-confidence and inspire new goals.
Do things that beautify your environment, or reset its
Before starting with new goals, I tend to clean my home and office, and spruce them up a bit. While some may say that this is a form of procrastination, cleaning and beautifying can reduce stress and anxiety. By reducing clutter and visual distractions, you create a sense of control amd calm.
Taking care of your physical environment is a form of self-care. If you love your physical environment, you will be able to relax into it. You feel a sense of satisfaction and generate a greater sense of well-being.
In addition, a decluttered and beautiful environment helps you to focus. This in turn boosts your productivity. A clean and organized environment can help you to work faster and intensely.
Finally, beautifying and resetting your environment can inspire creativity and problem-solving. Beautifying your environment is all about creating the space you want to live in. When you express creativity in one area of your life, it tends to spill over into other areas. Creativity breess more creativity and helps you to solve your problems.
I have found recovering from a hectic December month is needed to bring a sense of calm, control, and greater satisfaction with my life and job. And, my recovery is only possible with specific self-care techniques.
Before you leave here, let me know which of the self-care practices in this article will help you to recover and reset from the end of the previous year.