How to create a self care plan to that will guide you to a happier and healthier new year.

I have always been someone who overbooks themselves, someone who is constantly chasing a brighter future at the expense of being present in the moment. Of course there is nothing wrong with having big goals and plans, but at the end of last year I suddenly wizened up to that fact that these dreams I’m chasing might take a long time, and that I need to take better care of myself if I’m actually going to make any progress and enjoy the ride. Although it could have been the case of shingles I gave myself from being so stressed out that led me to this conclusion (ha!). In any case, here are three simple and pleasurable rituals to nourish your mind, body, and goals in this season of new beginnings.

So here’s to you and any dreams, big or small, you have for this New Year and beyond!

  1. Create a Self-Care Manifesto

    It occurred to me that there is a minimum of self-care practices I must do in order to feel my best, and that there is a bit of a hierarchy to them. If I am not getting enough sleep, then it’s much harder to make healthy decisions about food and exercise. Like a row of dominoes, if that first essential step of sleep doesn’t happen, everything else sort of crashes to the ground. Now, I do have a toddler who is not the best sleeper. But what this means is that I just try to go to bed as early as I can, and if I have a rare free moment alone – I check in with my body to see if I should nap or even just sit and watch some mindless tv.

    I designed this simple Self Care Manifesto to serve as a gentle reminder of what I need to do to be my most functional self. It’s available for FREE in our family fun library. I start by picking a single word that captures how I want to feel or act in the new year. Then I list all of the things I need to do to feel my healthiest, so I have a better chance of living that word. Now, this manifesto is not a list of things you are striving to do every day, that would be a lot of pressure! It is just meant to serve as a gentle reminder for when you feel lost or off-track. I have been trying to turn this blog into an online business for years while working day jobs that drained me, and have encountered so many hurdles along the way. A majority of these have been mental hurdles of my own design. Last year, I gained a lot of clarity on what I truly want this business to look like and what I need to do to get there, while letting go of some of the guilt I was feeling about wanting this non-traditional path. I still have a long way to go, but this year I am ready to make significant progress on earning an income from this blog and my printables business, so my word this year is “BOLD.” For some reason I still have a ridiculous amount of fear about even SAYING what my business is out loud, especially in “real life.” But I know if I take care of myself, stay focused and take BOLD actions, good things will happen. So whatever goals or dreams you are chasing this year, I hope you’ll find this fun Self-Care Manifesto activity helpful in identifying the ways you can best support your body and mind to make them happen!

  2. Create a Vision Board

sources: blue hair / punch today / Disney / surfcamp / beachbabe / berrypicking

A vision board is a collection of images, quotes or colors. Creating a vision board is one of the most powerful ways to manifest your goals. We are such visual creatures, and when you focus on these impactful images and how they make you feel, your brain hears it loud and clear. My mind is constantly bouncing all over the place, but when I look at my vision board, I am able to remember and focus on the goals and feelings that are most important to me at this time.  Even the process of creating a vision board can be beneficial because it requires you to narrow down the images and choose ones that really speak to you. Vision boards are also helpful in identifying the things you are drawn to the most. For example, I have been collecting photos of beautiful homes and wardrobes for years – but when I see all of the images together on my Pinterest page, it’s easy to pick out common themes and patterns.

The easiest way to create a vision board is to just make a new board in Pinterest. If you are creating a board for a specific purpose (such as your goals for this year, or how you want to feel in your daily life), it’s best to limit the number of photos to ten or less. An important part of using a vision board is to place it where you can see it often. You could save your board as your phone or computer background, or print it out and put it next to your bed. It can be a bit tricky to print Pinterest Boards in a way that is visually appealing, but some tutorials can be found here and here.

Because I like to print and place my vision board inside my jewelry cabinet or in my daily planner, I am often working with very specific size requirements. This is why I love using Canva to make vision boards. Canva is a free image and graphic editing software that is super intuitive to use. The web-based application is free, you just need to create an account and log in. Once you do that, you can complete the steps below to easily set up a vision board that is a specific size.

How to use Canva to Create a Vision Board

  1. Once you are logged in, click the “Create a Design” button (top left)
  2. Click “Use Custom Dimensions” (top right)
  3. Select the unit of measurement you’ll use (e.g. inches/pixels/millimeters), then put in the dimensions you need for your vision board. To fit my daily planner, I needed a canvas that was 5.5 inches wide by 7 inches high
  4. Click “Design!”
  5. At the bottom of the toolbar that runs down the left side of the screen, click “uploads”
  6. Upload your inspiration images, then just drag them over to your blank canvas and resize and arrange as you wish!
  7. Click “Download” (top right) to download and print your vision board!

3. Unravel Your Year with Susannah Conway

How to create a self care plan to that will guide you to a happier and healthier new year.

My favorite end-of-year ritual is to curl up in a comfy spot in a coffee shop with a warm beverage and fill out Susannah Conway’s “Unravel Your Year” Workbook. I have completed this workbook every year for the last five years. Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer, and educator who helps others find meaningful ways to understand and express themselves. The Unravel Your Year workbook includes writing prompts to help you review your past year and identify what did and didn’t serve you and also provides a place to dream and plan for your new year. I often just sit down and word-vomit on the page in one go, then put it away until the end of the year when it’s fun to see which of my plans actually happened. But Conway also includes pages for each month in the new year if you’d like to check in with how you are doing. The workbook is available to everyone who signs up for her mailing list, so visit her page to learn more and get your own copy.