The New Year is underway and for many, that means starting fresh with new resolutions. However, for those who have experienced loss, setting self-care and self-improvement goals can seem like one of many daunting tasks to undertake. In honor of the season, here are a few tips on how to make concrete and attainable self-care resolutions.
It is important to keep in mind that these tips are not a substitute for professional mental health care. If you are experiencing serious emotional distress, please seek out professional mental health.
During the New Year, many make goals to be more organized either personally or within their home. For home organization, removing clutter is key. It may be difficult to remove personal items of lost loved ones but keeping those physical items are not always the best way to remember your dearly departed loved one. Consider moving as many pictures as possible onto a computer or portable electronic storage device: this will keep them safe from physical damage and can open up space for other family mementos. If you have inherited or come into the possession of several dishes, cups or glassware; consider keeping one or two extra special pieces and donating the rest to a local charity: this way, you can always have a piece of your departed loved one while still minimizing the amount of items in your home. For personal organization, keeping a planner can be an important way to maintain appointments and meetings all in one central place; while some have opted towards digital calendars and planners but for some, it's easier to keep a physical planner at home, in the office or with them at all times. When using your planner, either digital or physical, find a system that works best for you whether it's color-coordinating appointments or keeping more detailed notes in the margins.
Another popular resolution is to take more time to for mental health and self-care. For many, especially those who have experienced a loss, it can be difficult to prioritize time for themselves. Set aside a few minutes a day for meditation, prayer or other mindfulness activities: setting this time aside is one of the best ways to add it your regular routine. Self-care can be as simple as taking time out every week or month to do something for you; this can also be a moment to honor the legacy of your lost loved one: they would want you to enjoy time to yourself and you should so whether it's a day filled with a little pampering, an activity you enjoy (maybe even one you enjoyed with your loved one) or just staying in and relaxing: all of these are forms of self-care.
If you have considered seeing a mental health professional, therapist or psychologist; the new year is a great time to do so. Grief is a complicated series of emotions and sometimes, you need a professional's help to get through it. Take charge of your physical health, as well. Maintain your appointments and set attainable fitness goals: not everyone is going to be able to run a marathon in a few weeks but maybe try for a local fun run or to simply do better on your own personal health goals.
We hope that you find renewed vigor and strength this holiday season. May the new year bring new opportunities for growth, happiness and healing.