Article by: Dana Costa, Behavior Consultant, The Pathway School
We are navigating a time where you often hear about mental health on the news due to the impacts of self-isolation, social-distancing, and the high stress that this global pandemic has caused. Pre-COVID-19, you may have heard the term “self-love”, but now, more than ever, it is important to maintain self-care and the ability to love yourself in the process.
If you are looking for the “new you” … you do not need a new year to begin or a way to not gain the “quarantine fifteen” pounds. You just need the courage to begin.
Be the author of your own story; look forward not back. It is hard to break the habits. I thought a lot about resolutions at the end of last year, as many of us might, but none of us could have predicted this pandemic. The reason our resolutions fail is that we have focused on the finish line rather than the walk there. We have all done it before, I know I have, where we think the end of the day is going to make everything all better. That, if we just get there it will magically happen. For those of us who have fallen into this trap, we know that the sad reality is it never works that way. So, how do we set resolutions for ourselves without inevitably being disappointed if we fail to achieve them? Here are a few ways to do that.
What is the point of a resolution?
I realized that the whole point of a resolution is for it to make you a better person. To help you become the best version of yourself. Most of us start the year motivated and excited because we think this is THE thing that is going to make all the clouds somehow shine. But why do we limit that to just a year? This is the question that we need to be asking ourselves when we set these goals. I think a better way of phrasing these resolutions is by calling them “lifestyle changes”. That is the only way to ensure that what we want here on this very day, is accomplished by this very day next year, and even further, for the rest of our lives. I believe by taking it habit by habit, day by day, issue by issue, we can transform into the healthiest, happiest, versions of ourselves.
But what about the words self-care and self-love?
These words should be at the root of all of our lifestyle changes. I have been thinking a lot about what the difference is between having it and having it all. And I think it comes down to whether it is wholesome. Stay with me, I know this sounds strange. Imagine someone you know who loves their job. Who loves their husband, wife, or partner. Who loves themselves. Who loves to eat clean during the weeks and indulge on the weekends. Who always has something nice to say when faced with conflict. Who seeks to understand. Who listens and cares. Who has time for what seems like anything and anyone. Imagine them right now. I know I am sitting here thinking “yep, they have it all figured out and I can barely keep myself from cheating on day 2 of my healthy eating plan”. And that is the point. These people. The ones who “have it all”, the ones who have cracked the code. It was not in just one year. It was not one vision board. It was not one prayer. It was not luck. It was not just one goal. It was the choice for them to make a wholesome life, full of self-care and self-love. To take it into their own hands. To incorporate it slowly but surely. To do it at their pace. To do it with the goal of bettering themselves with no expectations or dates or end goals in mind. Because the reality, is if it is a lifestyle change that is good enough to make our whole year about or a goal during a global pandemic, it must be good enough for us to want it forever.
For NOW and the future…
I ask you today to make the wholesome choice to embrace loving yourself through means of self-care.
Now more than ever during a global pandemic, we need to motivate ourselves and create lifestyle changes that will make us happier and healthier for years to come. Do more things that make you whole. Eat more things that fuel your body. Drink more things that hydrate and energize. Think more about things that light a fire in your soul and put a beat in your heart. Say more things that bring sunshine to not only your life, but also the lives of others. Do this today. Do it tomorrow. Do it fast or do it slow. Just keep doing it, because our time here will come to an end. But who we are while we are here lives on forever. Decide today to be known as the person who had it all in the best of ways. This journey, these goals, are just the roadmap to the best version of yourself. And when you have that, well, you pretty much have it all.
About the Author: Dana Costa is a Behavior Consultant at The Pathway School who contributes mental health and self-care articles for students, families, and staff.