It’s inevitable that at the turn of the new year—and especially, a new decade!—that our collective thoughts turn to how we will do things better or differently. Here at OOVA, we decided to round up a few ways to help you kick off the New Year so you can make it your best one yet.
Put YOU First
Yes, you’ve heard it before, but 2020 is the time to take it seriously. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of others—whether that’s your partner, your friends, or (*sprinkles baby dust*) your future little one. Happiness in your family and your community starts with your own personal wellbeing. And even though that sounds simple, we also know that simple is not the same as easy. So here’s a primer on self-care, without all the champagne & bubble bath nonsense:
1. Think of three things that make you feel happy, healthy, and positive. This could be taking your favorite group fitness class, writing in your journal, meditating for five minutes—seriously, anything goes as long as it’s realistic for the life you live now (that means no “3-week vacation in Bali” no matter how much you want/deserve it!) Write them down in a place you’ll see them regularly, whether that’s a post-it note on your fridge or in your daily planner, then make a point to do at least one of those things every day. Remember that it takes 28 days to develop a habit, so you might also consider setting aside time on your calendar with these activities to ensure you don’t miss one in the midst of your normal hectic schedule.
2. Does putting yourself first make you feel guilty or unproductive? We get it. Our society puts a lot of value on our output: how productive we are, how many things we checked off our to-do list, how hard we hustled that day. But it’s important to remember that self-care is not the same as being selfish. Selfishness, by definition, is essentially egocentricity: a lack of consideration for others with the aim of one’s own personal profit. Self-care, by contrast, is all about taking action to preserve your own health (physically, mentally, and emotionally) so that you can bring your best self to your relationships and your responsibilities.
3. We recommend taking steps to understand more about your reproductive health, especially if you’re TTC (and, if you’re here, that’s probably a likely case!) Understanding your menstrual cycle—which is so much more than just your period—is a crucial part of being able to understand why you feel the way you do. And don’t forget that OOVA is a tool that can empower you to take control of your cycle no matter what stage of life you’re in—and that goes for you too, PCOS Cysters. (Psst, we will be available in 2020!).
Be in the Moment
This is about starting to live in the present. You’ve likely heard Ram Dass’s famous imperative to “be here now,” though perhaps the present often gets pushed aside in favor of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. (Don’t feel bad; we do it, too.)
When we focus on the past or the future, we forget about right now. It sounds tricky, but mindfulness asks you to get out of your head and into your body. When you practice sensory awareness—that is to say, the rhythm of your breath, the feeling of your feet on the ground, or even the sensation the keyboard under your fingertips—you’re more likely to savor the moment, experience a state of flow, and accept even the unpleasant experiences of life with more resilience. Both western psychologists & Buddhist monks agree that this isn’t necessarily about improving yourself or even getting somewhere; it’s about realizing that you’re already here.
Build & Maintain the Best Support Team
Research has proven that having a social support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of personal wellbeing, better coping skills, and a longer and healthier life. A support system is made up of people who listen to you, understand you, give you honest feedback, and can be depended upon during tough times. This can be friends, family, your partner, a clergy member, online communities—even a pet!
The new year is a good time to evaluate your relationships, and think about which ones feel reciprocal and nurturing, and which ones don’t “spark joy,” as Marie Kondo would put it. Do your best to limit contact with the folks who drain your energy and put you down. If you’re in need of some new relationships, consider your interests first: is there a book club or sports team you could join? Remember that you can take your online friendships offline, too—ask your Instagram buddy out for coffee, or your Twitter pal out to lunch!
Here are a few of our favorite communities:
We’re so excited for the infinite possibilities that a new year and a new decade bring, and we’re so thankful to have this amazing community to grow and share it with. Wishing you health, happiness, and prosperity in 2020—cheers!