As we gear up for the beginning of 2022, it’s challenging to predict what will happen in the world this coming year. With COVID-19 once again surging in many areas and new variants like omicron complicating things, planning for the new year can seem a bit daunting. In fact, with all the added stress and fatigue, coming up with a New Year’s resolution may not be on your mind at all.
Now, if a New Year’s resolution is on your mind, you may be dreading coming up with one. The idea of entering 2022 with a challenging ambition, especially when things are already so up in the air, may not be appealing.
Often, a typical New Year’s resolution might require some form of rigidity or discipline, like the evergreen goal to lose weight, the decision to cut out something unhealthy – like sweets, cigarettes or alcohol – or an attempt to stick to your spending budget. Unfortunately, although these worthy goals can often improve your life, they’re a lot harder to achieve when dealing with external anxiety.
As we cross the threshold into 2022, maybe this is the year to make a New Year’s resolution with the intention of self-care, without too much added pressure. Perhaps showing yourself kindness over the next 12 months can be the focus of your New Year’s resolutions. So, read on for a few suggestions on where to start.
Adopt a creative hobby
When was the last time you used your imagination for something non-work-related? As we get older, it seems more and more challenging to pick up a creative hobby if it’s not something we’re already good at. Believe it or not, though, you don’t need to be good at something to enjoy it. Some creative hobbies that you can pick up to exercise your imagination are:
- Visual art
- Making music
- Journaling/creative writing
Regularly doing activities like these gives you an outlet for self-expression. Furthermore, “spending time on an activity that you enjoy can improve your mental health and well-being.” Certain activities, like listening to or making music, have been shown to reduce stress. And “engaging in a creative behavior such as a hobby leads to increases in well-being that last until the next day.” Doing these activities with others can also improve your self-esteem and social connection.
Drink more water
While the amount of fluid intake you’re supposed to consume varies from individual to individual, the United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
It’s worth noting that other beverages, like tea, juice and coffee, do count toward daily consumption, and so does liquid found in the foods you eat. However, most people still don’t get enough to drink every day. Staying hydrated throughout the day can aid digestion, improve skin, normalize blood pressure, regulate body temperature and maintain a sodium balance, among other benefits.
But knowing you should probably drink more water, and actually drinking more water are two different things. Theoretically, you could try just drinking more liquid overall, but water is king when it comes to ensuring you’re not consuming too much caffeine, alcohol or sugar while staying hydrated.
To get enough plain water in, make sure to drink throughout the day, rather than getting it all in at once. Keeping a reusable water bottle at your desk while you work can provide a visual reminder to take a sip every once in a while. Additionally, you can make sure to drink a glass of water with every meal and every time you have to take medication. While working out or exercising, keep water on hand because more physical activity requires more water intake.
Try new foods
Feeding your body can often be a stressful task, especially since many of us moralize food. So next year, instead of limiting the kinds of foods you eat, it might be more liberating to explore something new. This can mean learning to cook a new recipe every few weeks to cycle into your repertoire. Or it can mean trying food from a new cultural background that you’re unfamiliar with.
By getting a healthier variety in your diet, you don’t just get the opportunity to change up your routine. You can also get more nutrients, reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome, and you may even live longer. In addition, slipping new ingredients, making sure you’re getting in enough colorful veggies and ordering in from new restaurants can keep things interesting and contribute to your physical health.
Start a new skin care routine
Taking care of your skin, which is the body’s largest organ, is a part of taking care of your overall health. While some people have upward of a 10-step skin care routine, that’s unnecessary for most people, and it can be expensive. Instead, your skin care routine should cater to your individual skin needs, your budget and how much time you want to spend.
To start a new routine, stick to three basic steps: cleansing, moisturizing and applying sunscreen (at least SPF 30 and broad-spectrum). You should cleanse and moisturize your skin every morning and night, but you only need sun protection during the day.
Some people use multiple products for each step, and if you find that works for you and makes you feel good, then go for it! However, if sticking to a lengthy system sounds like a chore, just nailing those three steps is a great basis for skin health.
Prioritize your mental health
Mental health has become recognized as a major component of overall health, especially during the pandemic. Prioritizing mental health looks different for everyone, but above all, this resolution is about self-acceptance and honesty. In a world focused on constant productivity above all else, burnout and disorientation of personal priorities can occur for anyone. Taking a step back to reassess how your lifestyle affects your mental health is a way to show yourself kindness in 2022.
During this upcoming year, one New Year’s resolution could be to prioritize your mental health by talking openly about how you’re feeling, listening to your body’s wants and needs, assessing your stress levels, finding a stress outlet and considering mental health treatments. All of these steps are flexible according to your personal requirements.
For instance, talking openly about how you’re feeling could mean speaking to a friend or family member, but it could also mean searching out a registered counselor or therapist. When it comes to listening to your body, this means not ignoring cues that you need to rest or eat, even when you’re busy. And finding a stress outlet could be something simple, like adopting one of the creative hobbies listed above, or it could mean working out or grabbing lunch with friends.
Lastly, if your mental health has become a genuine concern, talking to a professional about treatment options such as medication could be a step in the right direction. Consider what works best for you when addressing your mental health.
Regardless of the goals you set for the new year, being kind to yourself means accepting that no one is perfect, but you can make improvements step-by-step when you can manage them. Treat yourself right in 2022 by making attainable resolutions and congratulating yourself on any improvements, even the small ones.
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