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Needed Self Care for the New Year

As adults the holidays can be a blur and cause us to lose sight of good habits and healthy behavior. We rush here and rush there trying to make sure we find the right gift, visit with all the friends and family, squeeze in holiday parties and cookie exchanges, and all while trying to keep up the “holiday spirit.” It’s no wonder that by the time the new year arrives we feel exhausted, cranky and just done with everything.

This time of year is supposed to be fun and full of joy and camaraderie. And for many they are, but often in a frantic, can-I-get-it-all-done kind of way. As we are working so hard to be selfless, generous, and show goodwill toward men, there is one person who can get consistently overlooked — you.

All this stress can take its toll on the best of us. We might start to feel run down, often getting sick, or at least becoming exhausted. Many people feel so much pressure during the holiday season that rather than enjoying themselves they actually dread everything about it and can’t wait for it to all be over. And then when it’s come to an end we are left a frazzled, wiped out mess. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. With a little effort toward self-care and paying attention to your own needs, you can effectively avoid the burn out and enjoy yourself more.

If you are one of those people, like many of us, entering the new year feeling tired and spent (physically and financially) check out the tips below for ways to avoid the illness, fatigue and grumpiness that can occur.

  1. Make your mornings yours. During this time of year everything seems extra busy and there are never enough hours in the day. Try not to borrow hours from time that should be yours. Mornings are the easiest time to enforce this and a regular morning routine is a good way to start your day. When you begin a day with something that is comforting to you and makes you happy you are much more likely to face things the rest of the day with a positive outlook. It might be morning yoga, or 15-minutes of quiet time with good coffee, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is yours and helps you feel grounded. Whatever your other obligations for the day, they will still be there when you are done and the world won’t stop spinning because you took an hour to yourself.
  2. Make a list(s). Lists help keep us on track and prevent the feeling of chaos that can creep in during this time of year. There are several lists that are likely to help you, beginning with a list of things that are important to you for the new year. If one of your biggest priorities is to spend some time with Aunt Linda, make a list and put her on the top of it. By writing this down it can make it much easier to say “no” when needed, and ensure that you enjoy your time to the fullest.
  3. Find your polite inner “no.” There just isn’t enough time to do everything during the most months. One of the blessings and curses as we restart for the year is that it can seem like everyone wants to have a party, grab a drink, or plan a fun event. Most of us just can’t do it all and it can make you miserable to try. Give yourself permission to politely decline and feel good about it. Making yourself crazy trying to accommodate everyone isn’t good for anyone, especially you. This may be a good time to review one of those lists.
  4. Surround yourself with your favorite things. And ONLY your favorite things. Clutter is one of the biggest contributors to daily anxiety and depression out there. During the holiday and winter season we often pull out unique decorations to show our festive spirit. The problem is that sometimes it can just be too much. If your grandmother’s antique angel collection just isn’t your favorite then don’t put it out. It’s okay, it’s your house.
  5. Let go of guilt. The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most guilt laden. From the people we can’t find time to see to the perfect gift we never found, there are all kinds of reasons for guilt to take over. Do your best not to let it — this one makes and excellent New Year’s Resolution.

This may be a wonderful time of year and a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean we actually have magic at our fingertips. Remember that the message as one year ends and another begins is to be kind, enjoy those you love, and find renewal as the new year begins. Neglecting your own self-care and running yourself into the ground will only make you miserable and keep you from experiencing what this time of year is all about.

Needed Self Care for the New Year


Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC

Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching and writes a blog about the issues facing men (and the women who love them). As an expert in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today, he regularly appears on The Huffington Post, NerdWallet and PsychCentral. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their lives and relationships better. Check out his weekly tips on Facebook or Twitter.


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APA Reference
Smith, K. (2019). Needed Self Care for the New Year. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/needed-self-care-for-the-new-year/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jan 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jan 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.