I have always enjoyed the ritual of saying goodbye to a year and welcoming a brand new one. But there is no year that I’ve been happier about saying goodbye to than 2020.
While we are starting 2021 still living through a pandemic, I am cautiously optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Watching the incredible work of scientists worldwide materializing in the vaccines against COVID-19 is one light that I see at the end of the dark tunnel that has been this pandemic.
But while the vaccine development gives me hope, 2020 taught me that life is unpredictable and uncertain.
Although I cannot do much to change the reality of the pandemic and other crises that afflict our world – such as racism and the threat of white supremacy – I can do one vital thing: take care of myself.
While self-care has become commercialized and banalized in many ways, it is still a powerful tool to improve our lives and, consequently, the lives of those around us and our communities.
Self-care is more than bubble baths (although it can be that, too!).
Self-care is anything and everything we do to care for our physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Even though I have decided not to make a list of new year’s resolutions for 2021, I have decided that self-care will be a priority in my life this year.
And so, I created a list of 21 (mostly small but crucial) acts of self-care to help me stay motivated to care for myself this year.
I hope this list inspires you to radically care for yourself as much as you care for your loved ones and communities.
1) Drink enough water
2) Honor and communicate (kindly but firmly) my boundaries
3) Reach out when I need help
4) Prioritize my mental health and well-being
5) Stand up and not apologize for my values
6) Listen to and respect my “gut feeling” and instinct
7) Accept all my emotions and feelings (both positive and negative) without judgment
8) Give more space to all my emotions and feelings and “sit” with them more often
9) Take good care of my body, and physical health and well-being
10) Prioritize sleep and rest (both physical and mental)
11) Continue therapy and taking my medications consistently
12) Disconnect from toxic people and those who hurt my mental health
13) Spend more time (virtually and physically distanced!) with people who are good for my mental health and enrich my life
14) Spend more time doing activities I enjoy that aren’t related to my work or studies
15) Practice more gratitude
16) Practice being kinder towards myself
17) Practice letting go of perfectionism
18) Keep pursuing my passions and chosen career path, even when I face challenges
19) Ride my bike more often, as it is my favorite form of exercising and moving my body
20) Get some plants for my room
21) Continue to protect myself and others by following public health guidelines against COVID-19. I.e. staying home as much as possible, washing my hands, wearing my mask, and maintaining my physical distance from others.