In this new year and new decade, self-care will shift from being a buzzword to becoming a movement. It seems like we spent the 2010’s coming to the realization that self-care is not just about bubble baths, massages, and relaxation. This was an important insight for us to collectively grasp in order to begin to shift outdated beliefs and patterns, create safe spaces for acceptance and compassion, and create cultures of self-care.
A self-care revolution is gaining momentum, and this revolution is not just about taking better care of ourselves. This is also about redefining what self-care means for us.
Changing the way we think about self-care can change the way we practice self-care. In 2020 and the decade to come, self-care will not just be a means to prevent burnout, manage stress, or survive career demands, but will be a key part of success and fulfillment in our work, in our relationships, and in our lives.
As you think about what self-care might mean for you in the new year, consider what your true purpose of self-care might be. Your true purpose of self-care is a reason for self-care that goes beyond burnout prevention and beyond stress management. Self-care is necessary to prevent burnout and to manage stress, but this is only part of how self-care can support you.
Your true purpose of self-care is related to what you really want to experience in life such as happiness, love, joy, and connection.
This can also be about feeling awake and present in your own life, spending quality time with loved ones, contributing to your community, or using the full potential of your innate gifts. What is your true purpose of self-care? This purpose can guide your motivation and approach to self-care.
This month, your true purpose of self-care can also guide any resolutions you choose to make for the new year. Resolutions can be a great way to create intention and reflect on what you want for your life. However, a year-long resolution can be difficult to maintain, and many resolutions become forgotten about or pushed aside. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t create resolutions, but this does mean that it might help to approach resolutions differently than you did in the past.
Here are three considerations for making resolutions for the new year within a new paradigm of self-care:
1. Doing vs. Being.
Resolutions are often focused on doing things and taking action on something. It’s just as important to focus on being. For example, being kind to yourself – what could this specifically look like for you? Instead of thinking just about what you want to do, think about what, how, and who you need to be to honor your true purpose of self-care.
2. Consider what you want to stop doing, let go of, or say no to this year.
Identifying what you don’t want can be equally powerful as identifying what you do want. Thinking about what brought you stress or caused negative emotions last year can help you consider what you might want to say no to, let go of, or stop doing this year.
3. Consider what your true wants and needs are instead of what you should want or need.
What does your wise voice within want for this year and for this new decade? Maybe it’s reaching that milestone in your career or in your personal life. Maybe it’s packing your bags and traveling somewhere new. Maybe it’s getting up and doing that thing you’ve been scared to do. Maybe it’s setting some boundaries with your inner critic. Maybe it’s asking for help. Maybe it’s changing your mind. Maybe it’s finding something healthier to eat for breakfast. Maybe it’s giving yourself permission for something. Maybe it’s putting down something heavy you’ve been carrying around. Or, maybe it’s simply being nicer to yourself and allowing yourself to be an imperfect, beautiful, and worthy human being.
Whatever your true wants and needs may be, and whatever your true purpose of self-care is – keep listening. Let these truths guide your own personal revolutions this year. As this self-care movement unfolds, the music therapy profession will also see its own rise in the new year and new decade. Your own self-care efforts will contribute to the strength of your career, the quality of care for your clients, and the growth of the music therapy profession. This is an exciting time to be a music therapist. Let’s ride this trajectory of expansion together.
Ami Kunimura, MA, MT-BC is the Founder of The Self-Care Institute and author of Resilience Over Burnout: A Self-Care Guide for Music Therapists. Ami also facilitates a 31 CMTE credit online course, Resilience Over Burnout: A Self-Care Program. Ami has been a board-certified music therapist since 2006 specializing in mental health, trauma, and addictions treatment. This month, Ami is hosting Closure & Clarity: A Year End and New Year Workshop to find clarity, confidence, and compassion for 2020.