Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around overall wellness—eating better, losing weight, etc.—but wellness is much more than diet, exercise and maintaining relationships. We also need to fuel our passions, keep our minds clear and do things that bring us joy. Focusing on yourself and practicing self-care is an essential part of wellness.  

The term self-care often evokes thoughts of enjoying a favorite meal, going shopping, getting a pedicure or grabbing an iced coffee. These are considered convenient self-care methods, which can offer immediate satisfaction and bring us joy. This kind of personal satisfaction is important—but there is more to it than the joy of an iced caramel latte. 

Self-care isn’t always easy, fun or glamourous. Sometimes it is heavy work and requires us to prioritize the not-so-fun things. These tasks—like completing a project, setting a budget or studying for an exam—are considered productive self-care because they help to create balance, clear the mind and set ourselves up for long-term wellness.  

Productive self-care is less popular than convenient self-care but is important in balancing our overall needs.  

Here are a few considerations for a well-balanced routine in 2022: 

Make Self-Care Part of Your Routine  

It is easy to leave self-care out of routines, especially in the new year when you’re still adjusting to new classes and responsibilities. Find ways to include it in your routine to ensure you are regularly checking in on your wellness. Some examples include: 

  • Reserving time every Sunday night to review your calendar 
  • Making a weekly grocery list  
  • Planning walks or other workouts for the week  

Take Charge of Your To-Do List 

Write down the tasks you need to accomplish in an organized list. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by “the small stuff,” or tasks that take time and energy, but do not fill your bucket. Even still, you will feel so much better once you mark off completed items like making a phone call, dropping off dry cleaning or returning a book to the library. It’s a great time to grab yourself a small sweet treat (if your budget allows). 

Check-In with Yourself  

It is important to regularly check in with your feelings. Even if everything seems fine, ask yourself, “What do I need to feel better?” The answer can help you determine if you need convenient or productive self-care—or both. 

Reframe Self-Care  

Self-care is sometimes portrayed as indulgent or glamourous, but it contributes to your overall wellness. Everyone deserves to focus on themselves—you should never feel like your wellness is indulgent. Instead, focus on how it improves your daily life.  

As we continue to kick off the new year and focus on wellness, I encourage you to have conversations with other Alpha Gams about convenient and productive self-care methods. Self-care practices are unique to everyone, so allow yourself to find practices that work for you.  

Looking for ideas? Watch the “Caring for All of You” Impact Talk to learn more about effective self-care practices. 

Read more from the “New Year, New Mindset” series: 


This post was written by Trevor Holland-Lambda Chi Alpha. Trevor is the Graduate Intern –Wellness and Harm Prevention for the Fraternity and a graduate student at Iowa State University. 

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