Irrespective of your age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or political persuasion, 2020 was a year like no other. We cried, celebrated differently, many quarantined, some vaccinated, lost jobs, created businesses, gave birth, buried loved ones, traveled less, and zoomed more. The life we once lived became unrecognizable. Whether 2020 was overwhelmingly difficult, filled with pockets of unexpected joy and blessings, or somewhere in between, we all bear its scars. As we determine how best to move forward, perhaps crafting a “fresh start” or merely dragging ourselves out of the quicksand, I implore you to make your mental health and wellness a priority in 2021. Like, for real! No more mantras without movement. No more promises without plans. No more loving others without loving ourselves. I am talking self-care for real, for real.
Self-care is as relevant in this new year as it was in 2020. So, if you didn’t design your self-care routine then, well it’s definitely time to establish one now. At the core, self-care is about self-love. Loving yourself enough to daily and intentionally make your health and well-being a priority. Loving yourself enough to say “no” to those things that won’t or no longer feed your soul. Loving yourself enough to implement healthy boundaries that will maintain the integrity of your identity. It’s not selfish and it’s non-negotiable.
Here are my Self-Care Goals for 2021, 1 for each month of the year. I encourage you to use this list for inspiration as you to create your own 2021 self-care goals.
- Choose your word – What word will your choose to set the tone for this new year? What word will inspire you to push, to dream, to grow, to heal, to love, and to evolve?
- Accept what is – While a new year represents a fresh start, it does not magically erase all the “stuff” of last year. 2020 was difficult, a year like no other. Sometimes we bring the grief, loss, and pain into the new, and that’s okay. We’re human.
- Connect daily – The loneliness of COVID-induced social distancing and quarantining led to a mental health pandemic as rates of depression, anxiety, and substance misuse and abuse soared. We were quickly reminded how much human connection nourishes and sustains. We must find a way to connect with loved ones every day.
- Embrace boundaries – Boundaries are the rules, guidelines, and limits we design to tell others those behaviors we will accept and those we on’t. Healthy boundaries protect our mental health and emotional well-being. They safeguard our identity, autonomy, independence, and emotional integrity.
- Eliminate toxic positivity – “You’ll be fine,” “Stop being so negative,” or perhaps “Other people have it worse than you.” Though meant to be helpful, such quips can be problematic. Toxic positivity disavows are true feelings. It can shame and minimize. Instead, create safe emotional holding space for yourself and others. Masking our feelings arrests our growth.
- Create movement – Our bodies are made to move. Dance, walk, run, swim, bike on your Peloton – just move. Exercise has tremendous health benefits, physically and mentally.
- Incorporate rest – Burning the candle at both ends leaves you exhausted and at risk of burn out. Sleep is restorative and is necessary for optimal physical and mental health. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night though I know it may not happen every night, especially if you have young children (hugs, mama). Sleep in a cool room; and leave the phone and any other distracting devices outside.
- Bet on yourself – You are amazing. Your life matters. Your life has value. The world needs your gifts, so bet on yourself. Invest in your dreams. Feed your passions. Starve your fears. You got this, even when it’s hard.
- Protect your peace – Turn off the TV. Stop mindless social media scrolling. Don’t read the comments. Unfriend. Stop watching violent or hate-filled videos that only cause emotional distress. Unplug and protect your peace.
- Heal from your hurts – Abuse, abandonment, addiction, grief and loss, bad decisions, broken promises, disappointments, and setbacks – life can be cruel. But the only way to move forward is to heal. Choose to make your mental health a priority. Start with therapy. Find a psychiatrist. Just get help. Help heals.
- Food is thy medicine – There is a growing body of research that links what we eat not just to our physical health but to our mental health as well. Food affects our mood and our mind. Limit sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods. Instead, fill your plate with a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and fish (provided you have no food allergies). I like to call this eating the rainbow. Your body and your mind will thank you.
- Mind your money – 2020 was very unkind economically to so many. Many lost jobs or closed their businesses. 2020 reminded us to make sure that we focus on our finances and make plans for our money. Read and learn about building wealth and leaving a legacy. Protect your assets. Reduce and eliminate consumer debt. Save and invest. Prepare for retirement.
What are your self-care goals for 2021?