Sa'iyda Shabazz
December 17, 2016 4:00 pm
Alex Wong/Getty Images

With just a few weeks left in 2016, many people are beginning to take a look at what they’ve done this year and think about what they would like to change or do differently next year. New Year’s Resolutions are often fraught with deprivation. But why can’t we have New Year’s resolutions about self care and giving to others? According to Nielsen, the top New Year’s resolution of 2015 was to “stay fit and healthy.” For many people, staying fit and healthy equate to dieting and spending countless hours in the gym. For years, people have resolved to “quit” something, be it cigarettes, drinking, sugar, carbs, or biting your nails.

Money is also a common resolution. Whether it’s making more, spending less, or finding better uses for the money you already have, they’re all very valid. However, there’s been a shift in people’s consciousness for 2016, and the most common resolution is “living life to the fullest.” It wouldn’t be surprising if that carries over to 2017 given our political and social climate these days. A huge part of living life to the fullest is self care, which is going to be imperative going forward. You know how when you fly they tell you to put on your own life vest before helping others put on theirs? It’s like that.

Here are some examples of resolutions that are heavy on the self care for 2017.

Learn to cook

This is not only fun, but functional. If you already know how, try something more specific like sushi rolling, sausage making, or a cheese class. Or you could learn about a cuisine that you’re unfamiliar with like Indian, Italian or Ethiopian. If you don’t know how to cook, learning could save you lots of money on things like take-out and restaurants.

Go on a solo adventure

Note that an adventure does not have to cost much money, if any at all. It could be as simple as taking a different route on your run or going to a place in your neighborhood that you’ve never been to before. Take your phone, turn it off, and see everything that you can possibly see. It will be hard to resist the urge to Instagram pictures of the cool trees or rocks but be present and enjoy.

Change your look

Sometimes the best self care is actual self care. Often we find ourselves in a rut and it manifests itself in our physical appearance. Something as simple as a haircut can change the way we feel about ourselves. If you don’t want to be so drastic, why not try something like a new lipstick or eye shadow? Many makeup stores/counters offer free makeup applications and if you find something you like, you can buy it!

Learn a new skill

If you’re looking to learn a new work related skill, sites like The Muse offer tips and courses you can take for various prices. You can also try YouTube; there are video tutorials for anything from makeup to crafts to cooking. Or try an online yoga class!

Try a new exercise

If you are always on the treadmill, try running outside. Or if you usually go to yoga, try pilates or a barre class. If you normally do zumba, maybe take a beginner dance class. Spin classes are also fun for an allover workout. Some places offer free trials, or if you have a friend who goes to the gym, see if they can bring a friend for free.

Try something “scary”

This doesn’t necessarily mean jumping out of a plane but if you really want to, go for it! If you want to try something less dangerous, maybe try going to a movie or have a meal alone. Move to a new city, ask for a raise at work. The sky’s the limit!

Do something for others

Self care isn’t always just about doing things for yourself. Sometimes it means doing something for others. We realize that money may not be something everyone can spare, but your time is just as precious as your money. Animal shelters often look for volunteers, as do soup kitchens, and libraries.

Start a journal

An important aspect of self care is letting the negative feelings consume you. Starting a journal is a good way to get yourself out of your own head and putting them on paper. This way you can start every day fresh

Treat yourself to one nice thing a week

It doesn’t have to be something crazy extravagant, but maybe you get a manicure, take an Uber or treat yourself to a dinner that doesn’t involve plastic forks.

Find a cause

Some people do prefer to donate money to several organizations during the year. Some organizations let you set up a monthly payment, even around $5, instead of a one-time lump sum. Most often these are tax deductible, which is a plus.

Create a memory jar

Starting on January 1st, write down one good thing that happened that day. At the end of the year you’ll have 365 good things to look back on

Make a new friend

As we get older, it is harder to expand our social circle. But there are ways to make new friends. Just say hello! Talking to people you normally wouldn’t talk to can lead to making a new friend. So say hello to the woman who sits next to you at work or who you see while you work out. What’s the worst that can happen?

Eat the cookie

Or whatever is the thing you don’t allow yourself to have, be it sugar, carbs, white flour, fried food. If you’re doing it as some sort of diet that isn’t life threatening, a cheat day isn’t going to kill you every once in a while.

Just like 2016 was the year of living life to the fullest, we hope that you make 2017 the year of being your best you

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