12 Small but Effective Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in 2017

Victoria Hoff

Over the past several months, we've noticed an undeniable, overarching shift in the realm of wellness. For starters, we've really begun to internalize the idea that true health is as much about the mind as it is the body—something underscored by the rise of meditation in the mainstream West, sure, but less obviously by the fact that mood-killing juice cleanses and never-ending treadmill sessions are, at long last, falling out of vogue.

But even though we applauded when meditation began to go mainstream a couple of years ago, the irony is that at first, it felt nearly as oppressive and unsustainable as a fad diet. We were told constantly that if we just sat down for a few minutes and turned our minds off, we could kiss many of our worldly problems goodbye—something easier said than done for those of us who are fidgety by nature. While exercising the mind in addition to the body is certainly an important notion, we were still being told to subscribe to one single strategy to find wellness nirvana. How does this make sense when we're all so fundamentally different?

But this fatal flaw has given way to a new dimension of wellness: In 2017, self-care will be the umbrella term to live by. If it seems ambiguous or abstract, that's kind of the point—self-care is whatever you want it to be. By definition, self-care recognizes that health is a highly personal endeavor, especially if we wish to sustain it. And that means exploring self-serving practices that make you feel happy and physically fit. Most importantly, self-care is all about the process—not some idealized goal.

The beauty of self-care's ascension into the mainstream is that our wellness-obsessed culture has already built an expansive bedrock of options to choose from. Beyond the vast array of quirky fitness classes for all moods and preferences (all accessible by ClassPass, no less), alternative healing methods ranging from Ayurveda to acupuncture have steadily migrated west. Sitting down quietly is no longer the only acceptable form of meditation. Adding pinches of Chinese herbs to our morning coffee is poised to become the new norm. Scrutinizing the ingredients of our beauty products is just as much a pursuit of health as eating a bowl of kale. In short, wellness is just as multifaceted as we are—leaving us to decide what to prioritize in accordance with our lifestyle and personal preferences.

Once you start nailing down the practices that work for you, the idea is that you'll actually want to stick with them—they'll be rituals to return to in times of mental or bodily stress. Throw out a couple of bad habits along the way, and you've completed the self-care equation:

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