Wednesday, January 3, is International Mind-Body Wellness Day! Let’s take time to reflect and take care of ourselves in 2024. As many people think about New Year’s resolutions, I take stock in my own life and start thinking about ways to take care of myself emotionally and mentally as this new year ramps up. Take a look at the list below, to think about ways that you can take care of yourself emotionally and mentally to produce holistic wellness!
Think about what wellness means to you and apply it this month. When we make time to think about what wellness means to us, we might consider what it means to take care of our mind, our body and our spirit! This might mean thinking about how to take care of our bodies physically, such as trying a new athletic activity or rekindling a physical activity that you enjoyed last year. For others it might be making time to take stock of one’s emotional and mental well-being. This could be done through journaling, meditation, prayer and/or accessing a spiritual or religious community.
Sleep on it. Something that people can easily neglect is their own sleep and sleep hygiene. I’m not wanting to necessarily subscribe to literally eight hours of sleep a night to produce wellness. However, having routines that help you to sleep well in a way that is satisfying for your body can be helpful and improve your mind-body wellness. What can wellness mean for your day-to-day? It might mean making sure you go to bed at the same time every night or maybe it could be making routines to help you sleep well. For some that might mean not drinking caffeine after a certain time of the day. For others it might be doing a relaxing activity before going to bed.
Make a routine to keep things in check. I’m a fan of consistency. When my day-to-day schedule feels consistent and/or predictable, I’m able to look forward to each day. Routines can include going to work, including when you start your day and end your day, social activities you do with friends in the evening and self-care practices for the start and end of your day. In my own life I value activities like game nights with friends, personal reflection and journaling. I appreciate having spaces in communities where I can talk about my values, faith and beliefs that help me to live out my life each day.
I know applying any of these ideas is easier said than done. However, I encourage you to review this list and maybe try one of these bullet point ideas in the coming month. And as you try these ideas, review them with a support — even a therapist! You might be surprised to learn who is also pursuing wellness practices, and who can be an ally. Your support is closer than you think. So this year take stock and think about what wellness means to you as it relates to taking care of your mind, body and whole being.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.