By the time fall of 2021 rolled around, most of us assumed that COVID-19 was a faint memory of the past. Life was returning to normal again and the light at the end of the tunnel was shining bright.
Unfortunately, that light turned to darkness…thanks to the Omicron variant. As the normality in life was being taken away from us again, and in-person events were quickly turning into Zoom meetings, I began to realize that there had only been one constant these past two years: ourselves.
Anyone with goals contingent on the non-existence of COVID-19 in society is missing an important opportunity that is right at home with them.
2022 should be about you. Regardless of gym closures or school being online, you have yourself guaranteed for the next 12 months. Rather than waiting for the pandemic to end to give you the opportunity to reach your goals, create that opportunity for yourself.
How To: Invest in Yourself
Unlike the stock market, whatever you choose to invest in yourself will likely bear a return. Understanding the importance of putting money and time into your body and mind could change the course of your year.
Picking an exercise routine or an activity that you can do whenever and wherever will pay dividends this year. I’m a strong believer in picking one type of movement you enjoy and unapologetically sticking to it. If you love to walk, do it. Any movement is good movement, and it makes you no less of an athlete than your friend down the street who runs a 5K before their morning coffee.
10 Pages a Day
We all know reading is good for us. It exposes us to new vocabulary and ideas, and helps us learn about topics we wouldn’t normally be exposed to in the real world. Not to mention, you will always be able to get your hands on a book, even in peak pandemic.
Committing to reading a minimum of 10 pages a day will not only help you get through those books on your nightstand, but it will guarantee you reap some of the benefits that reading provides. If you want to work on and understand how habits work, James Clear’s Atomic Habits is an incredible read. I liked it so much, I have included its amazon link.
If the thought of exercise makes you lose your appetite and reading is the furthest thing from enjoyment in your eyes, there are many other ways to invest in yourself at home this year.
Creating a habit tracker like this one with actions such as drinking water, stretching or leaving a clean kitchen every night, will help you build and maintain healthy habits to improve your everyday life.
Platforms like Skill share have an endless amount of courses to take. A monthly subscription could result in new skills added to your resume which can make all the difference in an interview.
If all else fails, we all know the return on investment (and happiness) can be very high with a trip to Sephora and a new skincare routine. In the end, you only have one face, right?
How To: Take Care of Yourself
As much as this article is about growing and trying to do new things, we become our best when we pay attention to our bodies and minds too. As mostly unselfish creatures, we tend to put other people before ourselves. Imagine what a year of putting yourself first would look like.
Do Something You Are Good At
Sometimes school or work can feel like a story of what you’re not good at. You commit countless hours to these tasks to later feel as if you are inadequate. Your mental state begins to suffer, and it can be hard to remember the positive things about yourself.
This year, when you’re not thinking or feeling the best about school, work or any other area of your life, seek to do something you excel in. Whether it’s art, cooking or caring for others, coupling up a feeling of inadequacy with your area of expertise can remind you of your positive attributes and provide you with some motivation.
Take a Break When You Need One
If COVID-19 has left its mark on anything it is the productivity culture it will leave behind. The idea that we always need to be doing something. This year, release yourself of that mindset and get back to taking a break when you need one. This might mean staying in if you need the extra sleep, taking a day off if the idea of going to workout is stressful, or rescheduling that phone call if you know you could be a little more present next week.
Life moves fast, but not that fast. Checking in with yourself and prioritizing your well-being by taking a small amount of time off will help you perform better in the long run.
I would be remiss if I did not mention instituting a weekly face mask or peeking into your savings account for a Jo Malone candle. While more materialistic, these methods are incredibly effective at providing some self-care.
I hope this article inspires you to buy a new Lululemon yoga mat, break out your retired rainbow loom or say goodbye to an old friend. As much as these actions may be perceived as selfish, when you begin to prioritize and improve your own skills and well-being, the people in your life will be thankful. Taking care of ourselves first can help us take care of others – so make 2022 all about you!