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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

The beginning of a new year can involve a huge front loading of goal setting, productivity, and just pushing yourself in general. This New Year, New Me mindset can be toxic, though, for a lot of us. In the process, you might even be able unable to give yourself a chance to recover from the year that just passed, to process the changes you went through, and reflect on what you really want for your life going forward. For this reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance and how I can find it as I enter the year and semester ahead. How can I work slowly toward may goals? How can I find slowness to avoid burnout? Below, I’ve listed four methods that I’ve been tapping into to give myself grace and find peace in this overwhelming period of change, newness, and goal-setting. We’re not letting the New Year New Me buzz get us down this year. Our goals are attainable, and we’ve built the systems for ourselves that will actually allow us to achieve them sustainably. 

Constantly checking in on myself

A pin that constantly pops up on my Pinterest board is a reminder to always show up as your highest self. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is that I’m not always her. I’ve felt a lot of pressure in the past to show up as the same productive version of myself everyday, no matter how I was feeling or what my body was telling me in that moment. In these moments, I really was just treating myself like a machine. However, when we don’t leave ourselves room for error, for flow, and for spontaneity, we swiftly run ourselves into burnout mode. Something I’ve been doing to counteract this tendency has been checking in with myself every day before I make my daily to do list to see how I’m feeling and what I’m feeling capable of that day, or even daring to change it and readjust it as I go along. We’re not robots, and I’ve found that being responsive to my own needs has only made me more productive in the long run. 

Having good sleep hygiene

Another key has been getting more and better sleep. So many health professionals and fitness influencers preach the importance of getting enough Z’s, but recently, I’ve found that so important in my own daily life. The only way I’ve been able to show up every day has been by prioritizing my sleep routine. My wind-down routine might involve reading, watching a show, or watching Youtube, but either way, it starts at least an hour and a half before I actually want to doze off, to ensure I’m leaving enough time for myself to relax before bed. Warm lighting always helps too, as well as a new sleep mask I just got which really helps me romanticize the night hours and feel luxurious. When it comes to the morning, I try to get up with the sun which isn’t super early during this time of year, and to get sunlight right away by just putting my face up to the warm light glistening through the small window in my room. 

Tapping into simplicity

I used to have extensive morning, night, and workout routines that I stuck to every day but recently I’ve been focusing on just keeping it simple. What did I want to implement at the top of this year? What habits are really important to me, and what is just filler that might actually be contributing more to stress than productivity? Bringing it back to the basics has involved fewer skincare steps, simpler workouts, and fewer to-dos in the AM and PM. I’ve found I’ve been much more relaxed throughout the day when I don’t have countless tasks on my list running through my head (that might not even be essential). In 2023, we’re keeping it simple! 

Prioritizing fun

Something really valuable has also been just having fun, spending time with my roommates, and just being present as much as I can. One thing I realized last year was how fast the year flew by. This year, I really want to be intentional about just enjoying myself as much as I can. So, whenever I find the time, I have been loving chilling in the living room with my friends at night, going out at night, and laughing as much as I can. This balance has made such a difference in my mental health and ability to be productive every day. 

Ultimately, this year, I hope that we all are kind to ourselves and are able to avoid the outcome of burnout and forgetting what’s really important: having the best year we can. Let’s go 2023!

Hi, y'all! I'm Julia and am from Texas! I'm a third year studying biology and East Asian studies for pre-dental. If I'm not on YouTube, you can find me active on Yelp or Netflix. Aside from writing and reading, I enjoy taking photos. Thank you for reading my pieces!