It’s just barely two weeks into the new year, and if you’re already feeling exhausted, it may be time to check in and reorient yourself so the remaining fifty weeks of 2015 will service you and not the other way around. While your responsibilities at school or work, or with family or friends, are definitely important, you should always be looking out for #1 (that’s you). If you’re not prioritizing yourself, it will be reflected in other aspects of your life – so here’s a list of tips for making yourself a priority this year and in the years to come.
1. Build naps into your schedule. You deserve beauty sleep and the occasional life pause.
2. Write a to-do list… that you will actually do. It’s OK if you can’t do your laundry, clean the whole apartment, and call your immediate family to check up on them in one day. Be realistic with yourself!
3. Find your comfort zone and spend time in it every single day, even if for only a few moments. Whether it’s closing your eyes and visualizing a place that made you happy, or sitting in your comfy chair with a cup of something hot with your favorite song playing; carve out the mental or physical place that makes your world feel right again.
4. Learn how to say no. Say no to the plans you don’t want to make, no to the favor that takes advantage of you, push back on the person at work who is pawning off their job on you, and the guilt trip your family is putting on you. Give yourself permission to not do what you don’t want to do.
5. Take an evening bath, pour a glass of wine, add some bubble bath and just relax for a few minutes before thinking about what to do for dinner or that deadline you have looming over your head.
6. I am of the belief that saltwater is the cure for everything. I clear my mind by going to the beach, no matter the season, the ocean clears my mind. If you live near water go sit by it, read your book, bring your dog. Just clear your mind with the beauty of nature.
7. Bake something yummy. I like to wake up on Saturday mornings, have a cup of coffee and bake some banana bread. The smell of something wonderful in the oven just makes my day start perfectly. Then I curl up on the couch and watch a movie waiting for it to be done. Cut a slice while it is still warm, add a little butter and you can’t go wrong.
8. Go on a weeknight date with someone you love (platonically or romantically), laugh a lot during dinner, share a dessert and enjoy the moment spent with someone who knows you and loves you.
9. Go for a walk or a jog at night. Bundle up, invite a friend or two, and just enjoy some fresh air and the quiet.
10. Shave your legs. Seriously. Even if it’s the middle of winter and you have no intention of stripping off your beloved fleece-lined leggings until spring, shave your legs. The extra five minutes in the shower are worth it and even if your smooth legs are invisible to everyone else, it feels good knowing you made the effort anyway.
11. Do what YOU want to do for at least an hour each day. Actually stop and think, “What do I want to be doing right now?” If that answer is watching Netflix, flip open your laptop or put on the T.V.. If it is sitting outside, sipping on tea, buy a cuppa or start steeping. Allow yourself an hour – just one simple hour – to focus on what you want to be doing, and do it. Stop checking emails, stop aimlessly scrolling through Tumblr, and relax (or run, or work) for the one hour that is reserved for you. As Christina Yang would say, you are the sun in your life. So make time to shine exactly the way you want to.
12. If you are a book lover, but haven’t read much of late (and wish you had), make a goal to read a new book each month.
13. For most twenty-somethings, money doesn’t grow on trees, and “splurging” on the new purse you’ve been coveting or that weekend trip you’ve always wanted to take isn’t as easy as you hope it would be. Set aside a few dollars from whatever spending money you have a little bit at a time (such as by keeping loose change in a jar, or saving a dollar a day–whatever you can do) to slowly save up for the big things or experiences you want to have. When money is tight, you have to make tough choices; make sure those choices are for you and your own well being sometimes. You and your sanity will thank you later.
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