We’ve all been looking forward to 2021 for quite a while now. And while we knew that didn’t mean ‘new world, new me’ on January 1, there’s still a sense of hope and motivation for positive changes. So while the year is still young, here are three things you may want to start doing more of now, and into the coming months.
The alone time has been no fun at the least, and extremely hard on mental health at worst. That means more space – and definitely more need – for self care. So get on it!
This doesn’t mean all face masks and massages, though they’re nice too.
Self care could look like making time for more reading, with a cup of your favorite tea each night. Or carving out the time for daily meditation. Self care could also include eliminating contact with someone toxic. It could be committing to ‘leaving’ work at the end of your work day, even though it’s just in the other room. Or finding a therapist and talking to them regularly.
Self care isn’t selfish: it’s crucial for your mental health. It helps you, of course, but also provides you with a greater capacity for giving to those around you. Think about what’s worked for you recently and where you need more. Then give yourself what you need.
In general, self-reflection of some kind is unavoidable. In 2020, there were plenty of events that caused us to spend time thinking about what was happening around us, where our place in it was; how it made us feel.
This year, what if you did it more often, or with greater intention?
Like self-care, this can provide positive results for you, but also for those around you. For instance, you could realize that you say “yes” to any request. Subsequently, you aren’t doing as well as you could – plus you’re tired. Noticing this and starting to refuse what doesn’t work for you won’t just ease your mind. It will also help you to be more present and productive with what you do accept.
You could look at situations where you could have responded differently. Consider how you could behave in future, and you just may avoid similar unpleasant events. Conversely, think about things you’ve done well! What accomplishments have you made, and how did you do it? What are you doing that’s moving your life in the direction you want? What are you proud of?
Don’t forget: self-reflection isn’t to find the things that are “wrong” with you. It’s to learn more about yourself. About how you can feel, and help others feel, happiest.
2020 was hard, to say the least. As much as we could, we all found ways to contribute. Donating to the causes that need our help most. Fostering a pet. Shopping at local businesses and restaurants. Checking in on friends to make sure they’re doing okay. However you’re helping out, it’s important.
Keeping involved – especially now – can be great if you have the space and time for it.
Community service work is needed more than ever, with fewer volunteers available to keep organizations like food banks and youth groups running even while their services are needed more. Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts need people to be active in fostering growth and support. Community members need support in writing resumes and finding jobs. There’s plenty to do, whether virtually or in person.
Community involvement gives you something to feel good about. It gives you a way to fill time and gain skills. And it offers a chance to connect with others in your community. If you’ve been feeling isolated, it could be invaluable.
Let’s be honest: it’s going to take a while to move back into “precedented” times. Luckily, as individuals in our own space, we do have ways to cope, and grow, and help. Making the time for a little extra self care, reflection, and involvement are steps in the right direction – and could make a bigger difference than you may think.
While we can do a lot on our own, we’re even better in a community. The Young Women’s Alliance started almost 30 years ago to offer women in the Austin, TX area just that. Today, it’s a thriving community of women – with volunteer opportunities, personal and professional development workshops, leadership opportunities, social events, and more.