Resolve to Make Self-Care a Priority in the New Year

When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, many people will be celebrating the start of 2023. It’s also the moment a new season of New Year’s resolutions begin. For many, it’s the time to kick off goals for their health, finances, relationships and more. In fact, surveys have shown around 40% of adults in the United States make at least one New Year’s resolution. This year, deciding to make self-care a priority could be the best kind of resolution.   

Why self-care?

Making self-care a priority is a commitment to taking better care of ourselves. The good news is many activities can fall under the self-care umbrella. Over time, regularly taking part in these activities can translate to both positive physical and mental health changes.  

For many, a self-care goal is a healthier alternative to a short-term unattainable weight loss goal, like losing 50 pounds by March. Instead, resolving to work on self-care means someone is committed to making the best decisions for their health and well-being. Often, this reduces the need to follow a rigid set of rules that can result in stress.   

What is self-care?

Self-care activities can take many forms, but at its core it is about making time for oneself in a positive way. It is important to take time to care for physical and mental health to cultivate a sense of well-being. To achieve this, it may take some trial and error with different self-care activities. 

Here are some examples of self-care, as compiled by the National Institute of Mental Health:   

  • Fit in 30 minutes of movement each day. Moving the body every day is one of the best ways a person can care for their physical health. 
  • Stay hydrated. Drink more water each day, and make sure the glasses of water outnumber any servings of caffeine or alcohol.  
  • Find a new relaxing activity. For some people, this is reading or journaling. For others, it’s time set aside for deep breathing and gentle stretching.   
  • Provide healthy nourishment. Work to fit in foods that make your body feel and perform its best. 
  • Make sleep a goal. Getting enough sleep should be a regular occurrence. Reset your schedule with sleep as a priority. A sleep hygiene routine can be an example of self-care. 
  • Positivity and gratitude. Practice having a positive mindset each day. This could mean starting your day with listing a few things you are grateful for. 
  • Personal check-ins. Make an appointment with yourself. As you start practicing regular self-care, make sure you’re carving out time to evaluate your progress. This will help you stay on track.   

Self-care looks different for everyone

The great thing about deciding to concentrate more on self-care is that it can look different for everyone. Some people might imagine a relaxing bath and a cup of hot tea when they hear this term. While this can be part of it, true self-care encompasses much more. The term often includes activities to support some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions: goals involving losing weight, exercising more, being happier and healthier. Self-care just makes reaching those goals a low-stress and more positive journey.  

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org. 

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 Photo credit: Getty Images

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