Your Year of Self Care: A Guide to Honor, Love, Forgive and Prioritize Yourself 
Theresa Polley
December 29, 2022
May 1, 2023
Year of Self Care

You have permission to make 2023 the year of you. Read that again. I'm not talking about setting overzealous resolutions that will annoy you in a couple of months or some aspirational "New Year, New You" bullshit. I'm talking about making yourself a priority—to honor, love and forgive yourself. Every day, without excuses.

“A mindblowing, singular breakthrough is not what changes your life. A microshift is.” ~Brianna Wiest

How To Use Your Year of Self Care Guide

The best way to get through a big to do list is to break down each task into smaller tasks. Similarly, the best way to create lasting change, making ourselves a priority in our day-to-day lives is by breaking down life-changing habits into “microshifts.” 

Microshifts - tiny incremental changes incorporated on a daily basis and made over a period of time to create lasting changes in our lives.

Each month, we’ll give you a specific way to prioritize yourself, along with a blog that will help you implement a new microshift, little by little.

Why You Need A Year of Self Care

Research has shown that not only are women more susceptible to burnout, but they face higher rates of burnout than men — statistics show the problem worsening in the last few years  It's no wonder! We are wired to be constantly on alert. We tend to be caregivers in some capacity – children, grandchildren, partners, aging parents, fur babies, the list goes on. We bear a greater burden of domestic chores and errands. And as we strive to get ahead or just make ends meet, we experience alarmingly high levels of burnout in the workforce. All of this on top of facing mental health challenges, which we are 40% more likely to develop than men

Our high level of stress puts us in a continuous state of fight or flight, causing our nervous system to be on overload. That can lead to trouble sleeping, stress and anxiety. Sound familiar? I designed this guide to help you take your life back on your terms. Life should be more than just another task to power through. 

How to Practice Self Care, Month by Month

5. Give Yourself Permission (May)

It’s easy to believe you’ll get to that perfect place in your life and be happy and content, once you achieve XYZ. The future is not guaranteed and waiting to do something until an arbitrary deadline has been met is unhealthy. There is nothing too large or too small that needs to wait - do it now.

  • Give yourself permission to do the impossible.
  • Give yourself permission to rest.
  • Give yourself permission to let go of people or situations that no longer lift you up.
  • Give yourself permission to leave things undone - chores, work, text messages or emails not returned immediately.
  • Give yourself permission to pause and consider a new opportunity.
  • Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.

Read More: Give Yourself Permission to Live a Life You Love

4. Feel Your Feelings (April)

When was the last time you allowed yourself to feel your feelings? Whatever the rationale, not feeling our feelings is harmful to our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

  • When you ignore emotions, they can have a “boomerang” effect and come back even stronger. 
  • By numbing the “negative” emotions—sadness, pain, etc.—you also numb the “positive” emotions because we can’t selectively numb emotions.
  • Regardless of if you choose to do so intentionally or not, you will feel emotions. Not acknowledging them, however, can cause pain and suffering. 
  • Feeling our emotions allows us to connect to others and form better relationships.

Read More: How to Feel Your Feelings (And Why You Should)

3. Prioritize Your Sleep (March)

Are you getting enough of one of your body's most essential functions—sleep? I haven't always prioritized my sleep, but when I did it radically changed my life. Today, I prioritize sleep over yoga, working out, eating right and even my social life. Why? Not only does it make the day-to-day challenges of life less daunting, but it's also a way that I practice caring for myself physically, mentally and emotionally.

Read More: It's Never Too Late to Start Prioritizing Your Sleep

2. Practice Self Love (February)

It’s a fact: so many women struggle with embracing self love. Whether you believe the false messages that you need to “look and behave a certain way to be worthy of love,” or hear a voice that says “You/I don’t deserve love,” the truth is you do deserve it. And you sure as hell don’t need to earn it. Here are two things you can start doing, today:

  1. Notice Your Negative Self Talk
  2. Practice Forgiving and Accepting Yourself

Read More: How to Love Yourself Again (Or for the First Time)

1. Build a Routine (January)

A routine allows you to take time to care for yourself and sets you up to successfully reach your goals and accomplish tasks. In Ayurveda, a routine is an essential part of our physical, emotional and mental wellness. Here are four things I find helpful to building a routine:

  1. Avoid Your Phone First Thing in the Morning 
  2. Set a Daily Intention
  3. Schedule Your Sleep
  4. Make Downtime a Priority

Read More: 4 Weeks to Build A Meaningful Routine To Sustain You

Come Back For More

Don’t forget to come back at the end of the month! You'll find a new collection of simple practices that will help you honor, love, forgive and prioritize yourself, little by little.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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