Better Self-Care for the New Year

Although self-care matters all year long, the start of a new year can be a consistent time for us to check in and see how well we're taking care of ourselves. If you're a woman, you may have been specifically trained to put everyone else's needs first. And if you're constantly on the run with work, school, family, friends, exercise, and all of life, you may not be slowing down and reflecting on what helps you feel nourished and grounded. 

I was interviewed for this article on 20 Self-Care Resolutions You Should Make in 2017. Two suggestions I made were about booking a date with your partner or yourself at least twice a month, and also for women to explore meditative masturbation! I've included the excerpts of my two suggestions for self-care in 2017 below, but I do suggest reading the entire article if you're interested in some new ideas. 

In a relationship, it's easy to get comfortable, look up, and realize you haven't left the house for more than a romantic Whole Foods run in ages. Make a list of three activities or places that bring joy to you and your S.O.—hiking nearby, wine tasting, going to the dog park. Then, vow to tackle one every other week, at least. "Be intentional about making time for activities that you know feed and nurture your relationship, so that you're continuing to actively appreciate each other," advises Jenn Gunsaullus, Ph.D., a San Diego–based relationship and intimacy relationship counselor. "The more joy and appreciation you have in your life, the more you're likely to take care of yourself and make healthy choices."

Single ladies, you're not off the hook. "When we follow our joy, it brings vitality and energy to our lives, whether alone or with others," Gunsaullus adds. "What do you enjoying doing that you would normally only do with a partner? Are there ways that you could still do them, with a friend or alone? It's important to always be tapping into our sources of joy and passion, and making time for them."

We all touch ourselves. But how many of us are really in the moment, with the feeling? Gunsaullus recommends all women practice "meditative masturbation," an intentional self-pleasuring time with mindfulness at the forefront and just as much effort put in as you would to create a romantic atmosphere for your man. Try it: Create a cozy environment—candles, music, and mindful presence—to slowly explore what feels good to you in new ways, whether with toys, lube, mirrors, or otherwise. "For some women, the first step here is knowing that you are worth this kind of intimate exploration time, and the next step is giving yourself permission to self-nurture," she explains. "Plus you score the positive neurochemicals from an orgasm, the new learnings about how your body works, and the mental and emotional commitment to knowing that you're worth it."

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker