The new year is just around the corner, and most of us are probably more than ready to leave 2019 in the past. It might feel like these last twelve months have been jam-packed with a whirlwind of turmoil, trauma, and stressful events. 

But now, it’s time to unwind, take a deep breath, and set an intention for the new calendar year. 

Instead of choosing one of the more common efforts like losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly, we’d like to suggest a different type of New Year’s resolution: 

 

Emotional Self-care

 

Emotional self-care is about caring for your emotional needs, identifying your feelings, and then moving forward while honoring yourself and those emotions. 

When our emotional self-care needs are not being addressed, we tend to feel frustrated and burnt-out, leaving us with a feeling of, “how did I get myself into this mess?” and no real plan to climb out.

 Here are five emotional self-care resolutions for 2020:

 

1. Feel Your Emotions

 

Aside from happiness or anger, most adults aren’t comfortable sharing their feelings. 

Many people are willing to talk about butterflies in their stomachs or a lump in their throat because it feels less vulnerable than expressing their true feelings.

So, you may feel tempted to suppress negative feelings, but it’s healthy to feel them, accept them, and move on. Remember that emotions are not inherently “good” or “bad.” Experience what you’re feeling without judgment or guilt and allow yourself to process what you’re going through.

To stay in touch with your feelings, you can keep a daily journal where you’re honest about your feelings, write a list of “feeling words” to describe your feelings or sing along to the songs that best express your emotions.

2. Improve Your Relationships 

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that you don’t set aside time for friends and family. But, studies show that spending time with loved ones is critical to your emotional well-being. 

Wherever you’re at and whatever relational needs you may have at the beginning of this year, keep seeking out connection and friendships. 

Life is astounding and a beautiful journey, but it can often be lonely. 

As Maya Angelou so brilliantly put it, 

“We need each other as we need the earth we share.”

3. Develop A Positive Perspective

Having a positive outlook can help you as you tune in to your emotions and actively care for yourself. 

Start your day with a positive affirmation. Although it may feel weird at first, starting your day with affirmations can help shape your mindset for the day. 

It also helps train your brain to think positively and boosts your self-confidence. 

Or instead of saying affirmations, start each day by writing three things you’re grateful for. Because even if things look tough for a day or the next few months, we can always find something to feel very thankful for in our lives. 

Stop and take a moment to list some good things in your life, and then thank the Lord for them.

 

4. Intentionally Create Quiet Time  

Life is full of emotional chaos, and we need moments of peace to be able to rest and rebalance our emotions. 

Whether you draw a hot bubble bath, go for a walk, or sit down to paint, take some time to feel refreshed and recharged. 

During this quiet time, silence your phone and learn to enjoy your own company and your thoughts. Let your thoughts roam free, and process all those suppressed and built-up emotions that cross your mind.

Infusing periods of quiet time into your everyday life can bring feelings of calm, patience, and rest and help restore your emotional health.

 

5. Heal Emotional Pain

Life dishes up so many hardships: heartbreak, illness, injury, death, abandonment. And sometimes we try to bear the burden of emotional pain and stop short of facing the sources of the pain. 

But pain is an invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. 

We can go straight to the heart of the problem with a biblical solution. “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray” (James 5:13). No matter how vast our pain, prayer is big enough to fill us with the realization of His presence like nothing else. 

And James 4:8 says, 

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” 

 

This verse reminds us that when we draw near to Him, God will draw near to us. 

When we invite Him close, He always accepts our invitation. If we ask Him to help in the darkness of our hurt today, He will open wide the door to a much brighter tomorrow.

 

Here’s to a healthier, happier, and more hopeful you in 2020!