If your goal for 2024 is to find more intentional and free ways to care for your self I have the list for you! Here are just a few of my favorite small ways to take care of myself that have a big return on investment ◡̈ And remember, caring for yourself is personal. If something doesn't resonate skip it and try something else. Do what is best for you and doesn't feel like a chore, these should make you feel good!
Practice deep, mindful breathing to reduce stress and increase relaxation. One of favorite easy exercises is boxed breathing. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, stay empty for 4, repeat.
Take a Walk
Enjoy the outdoors and clear your mind with a simple walk. Even if it is freezing where you are, bundle up to stay cozy and get outside. It always helps me to get some fresh air and mingle with nature.
Write down your thoughts, feelings, or things you're grateful for. You don't even need to spring for a notebook and pen, you can simply open your notes app in your phone if it is easier.
Stretching / Legs Up the Wall
Incorporate simple stretches to relieve tension and move energy in your body. Even if it is just for 5 min before bed or in between meetings at work. It's amazing what a little movement can do. Also, if you've never done legs up the wall - look it up! In 2023 I committed to 20 min of legs up the wall before bed (when not on period) and it was very relieving and relaxing, setting me up for better sleep.
Practice mindfulness meditation to center yourself and promote inner peace. I even have a free guided 5 min meditation to help if guided meditation is your thing! I also love the app Insight Timer for a timer that has a gentle bell at the end and lots of free meditations on the app there as well.
Listen to Music
Create a playlist of your favorite calming or uplifting tunes. This is one of the more simple life hacks for my mental health, it changes my mood almost in an instant! Pro tip: In 2023 I made a playlist of songs with all positive lyrics and helped the brain stay optimistic.
Unplug from social media and electronic devices for a designated time. Set limits on your apps on your phone to help remind you to use them in moderation. Mornings without technology are a goal for me in 2024!
Home Spa Day
Pamper yourself with a DIY spa day using items you already have at home. Olive oil, cucumbers on the face, coconut oil, salt bath, honey mask etc. Go through your pantry and see what you can use to help you unwind for a night in.
Read A Book
Escape into a good book and let your mind wander. Audiobook or real book, I love using the Libby App that connects to your local library and downloads books and audio books completely free of charge! Also, this year Spotify added audiobooks as well!
Take a moment to appreciate the positive aspects of your life. I personally love using a mala bead necklace for this practice, spending a moment on each of the 108 beads to name something I am grateful for. At first 108 seems daunting but pretty soon I am naming so much stuff that I am usually just taking for granted every single day (fresh air, warm house, running water etc.) and the thought just star flowing. I am left feeling super uplifted and open.
Declutter Your Space
Organize and tidy up your living space for a sense of accomplishment. No need to start with the most overwhelming part of your space, start small like a drawer or a desk top and see how it feels to make your space more beautiful.
If you don't have your home practice, follow along with free online yoga videos to promote physical and mental well-being. I personally love taking my mat outside and just moving intuitively to gentle music.
Have a dance party in your living room to uplift your mood. Even if its just for one minute to one song, dancing and movement is sure to shift your energy and your day!
Spend some time outdoors admiring the night sky. Look for New Moon dates for even better star gazing when the night sky is the darkest.
Practice positive affirmations to boost self-esteem and confidence. Simple "I am" statements are super easy and helpful. Just say the word you want to embody or feel like. "I am calm, I am relaxed, I am safe" etc.
Phone a Friend
Connect with a loved one for a chat or catch-up session. This is one of my favorite things to do along side a mindless task like organizing or folding laundry etc.
Practice Mindful Eating
Savor each bite during your meals, focusing on the flavors and textures. See how slow you can enjoy your next meal, how many ingredients you can taste and how it makes you feel when you taste them.
Take a Power Nap
Rest for a short period to recharge your energy. Aim for a nap duration of about 10 to 20 minutes. This length helps prevent entering deep sleep, avoiding sleep inertia—the groggy feeling upon waking.
Watch a Sunset or Sunrise
Find a good spot to witness the beauty of nature. It also helps us with our circadian rhythm, helping us either wake up or wind down and sleep better!
Offer your time and skills to help others in your community. There is a great website called VolunteerMatch.Org to help you find a good fit near you. I am starting with the small goal of volunteering once a month in 2024. Helping others is sometimes the best way to help your self and change your perspective!
Express yourself through drawing, painting, or other creative outlets. Even if you've never been "good" at the art form you want to try. Just let your self play and have fun with it, no pressure.
Plan a Hangout (virtual or in person)
Connect with friends or family or online for a virtual gathering. Community is such an important part of my mental health and a big reason why I hold New Moon Circles, join me for one in 2024! (at absolutely no charge if you don't have the funds)
Forage Wild Edibles
Depending on your location, consider foraging for edible plants or herbs. You may be surprised what is growing in your own backyard! (be sure to triple check a reputable source before eating anything ◡̈)
Recycle and Reuse Items for a Craft Project
Get creative and make something new from items you already have at home. Maybe you love avocados, start saving the pits in the freezer and make a dye to throw in old socks or kitchen towels into! Obviously natural dyeing is my favorite, but explore what other crafts you can do with things you use in your home that usually go in the trash or recycling!
I hope you find this list helpful and inspiring for the year ahead. Have any that you want to share? Drop them in the comments. Cheers to the year ahead.