The start of a new year has always signalled fresh beginnings. Whether it’s about breaking bad habits, starting new projects, or just resolving to take better care of ourselves, January 1st can be just the push we need.

In the past, I’ve used New Years as an impetus to stop biting my nails, make more time for self-care and more. As Moms, we go through so many physical, emotional and lifestyle changes that it’s easy to lose sight of our true selves. While change is inevitable (and good!), it doesn’t mean that we leave our interests, passions and needs behind.  However, that’s often easier said than done!

So, in the spirit of New Year renewal, here is a list of things that can help you refresh, recharge and get back to being you.

1. Make a standing appointment with your hairstylist
This seems like a simple thing to do, but so often we forgo these little pick-me-ups because we can’t find time for them in our busy schedules. But, if they’re pre-booked, there’s no excuse not to go.

2. Spend time each week (or whatever your schedule allows) to take care of your hands and nails
As a woman who used to bite her nails, I can tell you that having nice hands makes a big difference. I used to be self-conscious of my ratty nails, but deciding to quit and, instead, take care of my nails has been a big confidence booster. While going to get a professional manicure might not be in your budget, you can give yourself a great at-home manicure with just a little practice and the right tools. In fact, I have built up quite a collection of professional beauty tools for free! I earn drugstore loyalty points when buying things I need, then redeem points to buy these tools.

3. Set aside one day a month for you
This does NOT include any form of grocery shopping or errand-running! If it doesn’t fall into the category of “me” time, it’s not allowed. J This is the day to meet your girlfriends for brunch, catch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, go to a museum or get a massage… whatever will help make you a better partner and wife when you return home. If you’re a solo parent, arrange with another Mom to trade babysitting duty one day a month so you can both take some time for yourselves.

4. Don’t forget to schedule Date Night
Connecting with our partners is just as important as having alone time. Try to schedule date nights in advance; if it’s in your calendar, you’re more likely to do it!

5. Get organized
I’m not the most organized person by nature, but people think I am. The reason why? I use a LOT of tools to help me! Having a digital calendar that is synched to include my home, business, personal and kids’ calendars (yes, they each have their own!) helps me juggle the household and every family member’s activities with relative ease. And, at this time of year, seasonal apps (like “Christmas Gift List”) help me manage my shopping list and budget. There is an app out there for pretty much anything you can imagine, and many are free (or very inexpensive), so use them to your advantage.

6. Ditch the yoga pants
This was a big one for me. As a work-at-home-Mom, I would often find myself staying up late at night to fulfill client deadlines, then getting up early with my little ones. Many days I’d walk my daughter to school wearing yoga pants and whatever shirt was cleanest in my clothing pile. It definitely affected me… I never truly felt “ready to take on the day”. But, over the past year, I have made a conscious decision to limit the yoga pants and take a few moments to dress nicely in the morning. I’m not talking anything fancy… a simple top and pair of jeans or khakis with a scarf or complementary jewellery is enough to make me feel put-together. It helps put me in the right mindset for the day.

I’ll admit that doing these things isn’t always easy… there are infant feeding schedules to accommodate, work deadlines and unexpected commitments that crop up. Believe me, I get it.  But realizing that taking time to renew your mind, body and spirit IS important is the first step to reconnecting with yourself and feeling good again. My youngest child is now 3.5 years old, and I only started feeling like my old self over the past 8 months. It takes time, but it can be done.

Here’s to a wonderful 2014! Wishing you a year filled with health, happiness and fun!

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