Now that the holidays are over, have you done something for YOU lately? You may be in the middle of thinking of some punitive and harsh New Year’s Resolutions to whip yourself into shape for 2017, but I would encourage you to go easy on yourself. You’re still recovering from the nightmare that was 2016, after all. Here are some ways you can make sure that you do you in the first month of the year.
Cook Your Favorite Food
Is there a dish you only make for potluck dinners or special occasions? Is there something that a local restaurant makes that you’d love to learn how to make at home? Cooking for yourself is a meditative, fun way to treat yourself.
Crank Up the Volume
Science backs the idea that listening to music is good for you. Take a moment to blast some tunes and sing at the top of your lungs.
Have Coffee With Someone You Admire
Is there someone in your field whom you look up to? A colleague at a competing company or someone you met at a party in a similar line of work? Ask if you can buy them a coffee and learn about their experiences working in your industry.
Go to a Museum
Learning new things is a great way to destress, and these funky museums are perfect for that, especially if you’re stoned.
Save Up Some “Fuck You” Money
Most banks allow you to open a savings account for very little to no opening fee. Open a “fuck you” savings account, separate from general savings. If you deposit $5 (or any small amount) from every paycheck, you can afford to treat yourself to something small and say “fuck you” to the rest of the world when you’re having a bad day. Lose out on that job offer? Go to a fancy sushi place and order that $15 uni roll.
Mute or Unfollow the Haters
Is there someone in your feed who is perpetually posting toxic or triggering updates? Unfriend, unfollow, or (for the kinder set) just mute them.
Change the Sheets
I just recently learned that a guy friend of mine only has one set of bed sheets as an adult. Buy a second set of sheets so you always have one clean and one in the wash. Change them frequently and sleep deeper.
You’ve been invited to three get-togethers on Friday via social media. Choose one or two, and honestly tell the third friend that you won’t be at his brother’s girlfriend’s going away party across town because you have other plans. Spending time hemming and hawing about a text response wastes everybody’s time and can end in hurt feelings anyway.
Go to Bed Early
You could stay up until midnight scrolling the night away, or you could just go to sleep when you’re tired, enjoy some dreams, and start the day right.
You don’t have to ban all junk foods from your life and only eat healthy munchies. But choosing when to splurge and eat unhealthy foods is the key to truly enjoying yourself when it comes to a “cheat” moment. Shitty office cupcakes for Carl from Accounting’s birthday? Pass. Truffle oil pommes frites at your favorite sports bar? Yes, please!
Take Stock of How You Spend Your Time
For one day, without judgments, make note of how you are spending your time throughout the day. At the end, evaluate. Did you spend 45 minutes mulling over Trump’s transition team? Maybe tomorrow, use that 45 minutes to finish your work early, so you can hit the gym.
Make Your Own Coffee and Tea
An easy way to drain your bank account is to start a daily Starbucks latte habit. If you want to save money, time, and calories, build out your at-home coffee and tea selection to include a variety of flavors and brews. You can have a more luxurious morning, add cannabis to your brew, and when friends come over, you can delight them with your versatility!
You probably received some sweet new items for the holidays. A great way to feel good and de-clutter is to donate the older versions of those items now that you’ve upgraded. Get some new T-shirts? Give some of the old ones to Goodwill.
Commune With the Animal Kingdom
Many regions have amazing wildlife preserves, birdwatching areas, and zoos. If it’s too cold for any of that, offer to pet-sit for a friend with a cute animal.
Fix Your Shoes or Clothes
It may be hard to believe, but not all clothing is disposable. If there’s a favorite pair of shoes that’s worn down, take them to a cobbler. If there’s an awesome sweater in the back of your closet with a snag, see if the your local dry cleaners can patch it up.
Start a Compliments Folder
Did you just receive an email praising some of your amazing abilities? File that email away to a new inbox folder labeled “Compliments.” When you’re feeling down, open that secret weapon up. It’s a great defense for when the negative self-talk bubbles up.
Read a Book
Not a politically-charged article, not a famous person’s tweetstorm, an actual book. Start to finish. Stay away from anything you feel like you have to read for your career or because some awful book club is pressuring you to. Get a book that is simply fun to read and then allow yourself to enjoy it.
There is no reason you should be waking up to 35 emails, then deleting 18 of them because they’re all from retailers and mailing lists. In Gmail, you can now see an unsubscribe option above the email you just received.
Find a Physical Activity You Enjoy
You already know you’re supposed to be exercising, so I’m not going to tell you that. If you hate your workout or haven’t found something that motivates you to get to the gym, it’s time to re-evaluate your physical life. Maybe you’re an amazing paddleboarder, but you’ll never know until you try.
Help Someone in a Small Way
Hold the door, help carry a baby carriage up the subway stairs, look for people in need and do one small thing. It won’t take much time out of your day but you’ll feel better for it.
Get a Massage or Buy a Foam Roller
Silence the inner critic that is telling you that massages are a “luxury you don’t deserve.” Scientifically, tension gets trapped in muscles and needs to be released. Many cities offer cheap massages for under $1 per minute, if you’re strapped for cash. Foam rollers for self-massage can be bought on Amazon for as low as $11.
Visit the Doctor and Dentist
When’s the last time you had your teeth cleaned or saw your general practitioner? You should visit them at least once a year. Most insurances cover one check-up appointment every year. Even if nothing “feels” wrong, it’s good to stay on top of your health.
Get Out of Town
If you’re in a frigid climate, you’re probably feeling a little cooped up by now. Planning a trip, even just a short weekend getaway, will not only give you something to look forward to, it can also get you out of a rut.
Meditation can be easier said than done, but if you make it a part of your daily routine it’s actually not so hard. I recommend the app Buddhify, which separates guided meditations by categories such as “traveling,” “eating,” and “work break.”