The New Year is a great time to make changes in your life that help you to move in the direction of your personal goals. Individuals who are in relationships with narcissists and addicts can use this time to create positive and sustainable self-care plans.
Often those in relationships with addicts and narcissists struggle with being able to focus on themselves and their personal needs. Instead, they focus excessively and almost exclusively on the partner’s care and well-being and rely on the relationship with the narcissist or addict to create a sense of self-worth, identity, and even a sense of belonging in the world. This sets up a cycle of continual let-down and not meeting your expectations. In turn, this creates anxiety, stress, and a lack of attention to your own emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical health and well-being.
In 2020, making a change and turning that focus from outward to inward and from others to self is an amazing gift you can give to yourself. It is also not an easy transition, and moving towards thinking of yourself first can be something that is challenging and difficult.
The first step in putting yourself first is in learning new behaviors and new ways of thinking about who you are as an individual. Putting yourself in new, positive situations and centering your goals around what you want to do is going to be uncomfortable. However, implementing self-care is a positive way to replace old, negative, and destructive behaviors and move from relying on others for your sense of self to becoming autonomous and comfortable in your independence.
Self-Care Tips for the New Year
The most crucial acknowledgment is to recognize that this is not going to be easy. Seeking help and support from trusted friends and family members, as well as from a therapist or counselor, is highly recommended. This provides you with the emotional support and strategies you may need to address past issues that have contributed to your decreased sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
In addition, self-care strategies can also include the following:
- Make a dream come true. Think of one thing you have always wanted to do just for yourself. This is not a dream about a relationship or finding the perfect partner or spouse, but about something you want to accomplish on your own. Write it down, and break down achieving that dream into mini-steps along the way. Commit to realistic dates for achieving those mini-steps as well as the big goal and share it with someone who is supportive, positive, and can provide you with accountability in working towards achieving your dream.
- Talk about your feelings. You may have learned to ignore or hide your personal feelings. One essential part of self-care is to become comfortable in expressing your feelings and personal needs with safe, loving, and supportive people in your life.
- Downtime for you. Make time every day to spend time in your own company focused on you and your needs. This could be done through 10-12 minutes of journaling, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness exercises. These are powerful ways to change your focus from external relationships to your relationship with yourself.
Self-care also means caring for yourself physically. This type of self-care includes regular exercise, healthy eating, and finding things to do that make you happy and build up your sense of independence, self-worth, and enjoyment in being you.