10 Self Care Tips for the New Year

January 3, 2019
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

New Year’s resolutions go much deeper than numbers on a scale or in a bank account – it’s about taking care of YOU.

Let me ask you a question…

What was your single best moment of 2018?

Maybe your whole year was amazing, and it’s hard to pick just one great memory. Or maybe last year wasn’t about meeting big goals like running a marathon, cooking healthy meals, and shedding unwanted pounds – maybe it was about surviving and getting through the tough times.

How successful you see your last year of living determines how you view the concept of self-care; if last year went well, taking care of yourself seems like a no-brainer. But, if it felt like you spent all of last year putting out one fire after another with no rest in-between, then self-care may seem like a chore and is the last thing on your already stressed mind.

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from here and make a brand new ending.” –Lori Bard

I hope thinking about your best moment of 2018 flooded you with all of the wonderful emotions that were part of it. I want to help you bring those positive emotions into this new year as part of your every day life. And you can, by learning how to nurture YOU, even through life’s toughest moments.

What Self-Care Is NOT

Suffice it to say – I’ve been around a while. I’ve been a firsthand witness to decades of self-care trends:

  • The meditation and vegetarian movements of the 1960s
  • The birth of calorie counting and the natural health revolution of the 1970s
  • Slim Fast and the jazzercise/aerobics VHS video tapes of the 1980s
  • The Food Pyramid and fat-free craze of the 1990s, along with the stigma being removed from experiencing depression
  • The mindfulness movement, liquid diets, awareness of trans fats, and food label awareness in the 2000s
  • And now it’s EMF-generating technology we wear that tracks everything from our heart rate to our sleep quality, and cleaner diets with focus on better quality fats, proteins, and carbs

As we’ve learned the hard way, many of these trends actually cause more harm than good. The high carb, high sugar, low fat trends left us obese, diabetic, and deficient in essential fats necessary for health at the cellular level. Our reliance on cell phones and wearable technology even in our youth is contributing to the myriad of 21stcentury diseases we’re seeing, not to mention our stress and anxiety is at an all-time high. If we’re not careful, self-care can add more stress than it relieves.

Unfortunately, according to the Journal of Consumer Research, Americans equate being busy, stressed, and overworked with prestige and status, and glamorize anxiety as another thing to work on. This means that for many of us, we are using self-care as an excuse to work even when we’ve left our workplace for the day, and it’s only leading to burn out.

Self-care isn’t just alone time — it’s also about making good memories with friends and family.

Self-care isn’t just about making time for hobbies we enjoy, or creating new healthy habits – it’s about doing the inner work we often avoid in times of scarcity, stress, and painful emotions.

Self-care is not only vitally important for helping you become who you are meant to be -– it’s also essential for stripping away who you are not – so you can truly shine!

True self-care doesn’t add more work.

How To Make Taking Care of Yourself Work for YOU

We just completed a 21-Day Self-Care Challenge in my Fat Flush Nation group on Facebook, and I was inspired by all of the goals my members set and achieved in such a short time. Self-care goes much deeper than numbers in your bank account or on the scale, inches around your waist, or how much you hustle. It’s about radically simple changes that get you relaxed and ready to take on whatever comes your way!

I’d like to share with you what I believe are the 10 key steps to take to successfully nurture yourself and meet even your most basic needs.

  1. Recognize What You Already Do For Self-Care. Do you have anything you do as a routine already that qualifies as self-care? A beauty routine, quiet time, reading spiritual texts, even singing along with the radio while you commute to work? Don’t set limits or judge yourself – there’s no shame here! Your self-care doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, and it doesn’t have to be perfect – just perfect for you and where you’re at right now. It’s so important to love yourself for right where you’re at, so you can celebrate YOU as you grow to an even better version of yourself.
  2. Write Down Your Vision. Imagine your perfect day, where everything goes right and all is well in your world. Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you be doing? How would you feel? Write this all down, as your vision for what you want in your life. (Also think about what you wouldn’t be doing, but don’t include this in your ideal day.)
  3. Set SMART Goals to Get You From Here to There. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals that you can set as steps to get you from where you’re at to where you want to be in your self-care. I know what you’re thinking – this sounds like work. It doesn’t have to be! This is the first step to realizing that the life you want isn’t beyond your reach. Even if you never take a single step toward your goals (which I don’t recommend!) you have taken the first step in taking care of yourself – Hope. If we don’t have hope that the life we desire is something we’ll ever accomplish, it weighs us down and keeps us from moving forward in even the small things.
  4. Be Consistent. Whatever your self-care goals are – whether you need to make more time for what you love, need to make more money, or maybe you just want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new – the key to success is consistency. Every day, whether you feel like it or not, push through that feeling and do what it takes to bring your vision to life. When you persist, it creates a habit, and healthy habits create discipline.
  5. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude. The single most important thing for overcoming negativity and even lifting depression and stress is being grateful. Start every day by listing 5-10 things you are grateful for, either out loud, in your journal, or simply in your head. Make sure to include why you are grateful for them. Be thankful when good things come your way, and include this in your journal if you’re inclined to write. If you do journal, look back after even a week and you’ll see how much it changes you and your outlook on life!
  6. Set Good Boundaries. Why do we lack energy and feel drained so easily, especially around certain people? Because we lack boundaries! Healthy boundaries keep people from taking advantage of us, keep our business organized, keep us from doing things we don’t want to do to please others, and help us avoid burnout. Think of simple boundaries you can create and set with parents, significant other, children, friends, and coworkers that set you up for healthy self-care. If this is a struggle for you, please write them down so you remember to prioritize your own self-care.
  7. Make Time to Unplug. I know how busy we all get – I personally love to be busy. But we all have to make ourselves a priority and take time – even if it’s just a half an hour – to unplug and recharge ourselves. For some of you, this means walking away from technology and focusing on yourself, your loved ones, or getting out of your comfort zone and going on a spontaneous adventure. Whatever your idea of unplugging is, it’s a must to start including it in your self-care goals, or you’ll have nothing left to give.
  8. Rewrite Your Limiting Beliefs. This is part of the “digging deeper” that can feel so uncomfortable and be something we avoid or put off. I assure you the reward is great when we de-clutter what’s holding us back and let it go in favor of something more positive. A limiting belief is something we think about ourselves that leads us to an incorrect conclusion and limits our success as a person. For example, you can believe no diet will ever work for you because you’ve tried two or three that didn’t work for your body and you either didn’t lose the weight or gained it back as soon as you quit. Another example is believing that as soon as something good happens to you something bad will happen to offset your happiness. Rewriting these limiting beliefs expands your mindset and helps you believe you are worth all of the self-love and self-care that you outlined in your perfect day.
  9. Treat Yourself. Especially with life so stressful, anxiety-producing, and all about hustle and busyness, it’s so important to take the time to treat ourselves. You may be thinking with the holidays you overindulged in this, but that’s not the type of treat I’m talking about. It doesn’t have to be food, or an expensive massage or facial; it can be as simple as taking a walk, a warm bath, or a short workout in your living room. Think of ways you can treat yourself that don’t stretch you beyond your resources and make you feel more stressed than blessed.
  10. Stay Positive. Let me ask you something – would you let someone else talk to you the way you talk to yourself in your head? It’s so important to replace our negative self-talk with positivity, love and respect for ourselves. Have the same compassion for yourself as you have for others, and even more! I want you to get out a piece of paper and write out 3 negative phrases you know you have a habit of saying to yourself and/or your loved ones. Now flip that paper over and turn your negatives into positives. For instance, change “I’m broke, I’m a failure, and I hate being poor” to “I’m so thankful for the income I DO have and that I always find a way to make it work, because I’m strong and relentless.”

The single most important thing you can do for your loved ones is to LOVE YOURSELF and consistently fill up your own cup. I’d like you to look at your New Year’s Resolutions with new eyes, through the lens of self-care, and rewrite anything that holds you back from RADICAL joy and self-love. I’d love for you to share your new goals in the comments.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!

1 Comment

  1. Grace B.

    Great advice! Wonderful way to start the year!


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