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6 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care More in 2017




2017 is here. Are you ready? Have you decided on your New Year’s resolution yet? No? That’s ok. Neither have millions of others, besides, who do you know that sticks to them anyway? If I had $1 for every broken resolution I’ve made, I’d have retired by now.

Do you at least have a 2017 wish list or bucket list? The best thing about a bucket list is that you can continue to add to it anytime you wish. My wish list is simple…it starts with health and happiness for myself and my loved ones. This got me thinking, what is happiness? For everyone it is different and personal. So this is, I think, a universal list of wishes:

  • Food on our tables
  • A roof over our heads
  • Drink more water
  • Eat more raw foods
  • Get more sleep
  • Spend quality time with your family
  • Spend quality alone time with yourself
  • Laugh more
  • Hug lots
  • Treating others as we wish to be treated

It’s a very simple list, but I know that the majority of people reading this will struggle to fulfil it. It’s called self care. People have differing views on self care. Some understand the importance of it, others think it’s about being selfish and indulgent. I don’t blame them, when it was first mentioned to me I didn’t have a clue what it really meant. To be honest I thought it was all about washing, brushing my teeth, eating, sleeping that sort of self care. Once I was told what it really was and what I should do to achieve it, I thought it was selfishness.

“I can hardly wait for tomorrow, it means a new life for me each and every day.” – Stanley Kunitz

Once I actually got a grasp on it and started to apply it to my life, I started to wonder how I got through before. To start with you do need to think a little selfish but without acting it. It really is all about ME. What do I need to do to live life healthier and happier? To be able to give the best of myself to others without losing or disrespecting myself in the meantime.

Here are a few ways you can practice self care this year:

1. Are you a YES person?

Learn not to automatically say yes to requests, actually take the time to think about it first. If you are saying no deep down, be honest and say no upfront. At the end of the day, we are all expendable. When your life is coming to an end, nobody is going to say ‘she was a great girl , she never said no to anyone. The world will not end if you say no to something or someone. If you are a ‘yes’ person, this will be your hardest lesson to learn.

2. Learn to like your own company

You also need to learn to like your own company, really get to know yourself. What makes you happy, sad, excited? What really makes your blood run? These first two steps go hand in hand. Accomplish them and you are already halfway to practicing self care correctly.

3. Declutter

Declutter, yes you heard me. A clear desk, cupboard, wardrobe, etc. helps clear the mind. Last year I moved house, now I wasn’t a hoarder, but a collector. I can’t begin to tell you how much I recycled to charity or tossed to the garbage but it was freeing. Try it! Start off simple. Pick one room in the house and go through all areas of storage. Not only will you feel good for doing it, if you can donate a lot of what you’re clearing, then you will feel even better for helping others.

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” – Joshua Becker

4. Revisit something you are good at

It may be a hobby that you haven’t pursued for years. Maybe you wrote poetry when you were a teenager, or you can draw, knit, paint. Whatever it was, find the time to do it again. You will be amazed what a stress buster it can be.

5. Remember to take a lunch break

The easiest thing to do is take your lunch break. We are all guilty of eating at our desks or on the run. Stop, grab your lunch, and eat it away from your workspace. Take a walk around the block once you’ve eaten. Take the time to step away for some instant ‘me’ time. Once again, no one pays you extra to work through your lunch hour.

6. Put yourself first from time to time

Finally, light that candle, buy your favourite bottle of wine and enjoy. It is never too late and you are never too old to start putting you first in everything you do. Trust me, once you do, you’ll thank me. The interesting part is, you will come through as a more content, relaxed and happier person.

It’s your turn. It’s time to make 2017 the year of YOU. What are you going to do to show yourself more self care? Leave your thoughts below!


  1. Lisa Kallas

    Mar 23, 2017 at 5:01 am

    You’re very welcome.

  2. Jennifer

    Jan 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Thank You

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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