You heard it here first, 2018 is the year of wellness. It is never too late in the year to set goals, so a main goal for your 2018 should be self-care. Self-care is an important tool for happiness and does not have to be considered a resolution because it is not optional, it is essential.

Make it your goal to have a healthier relationship with yourself in order to have a healthier relationship with the people around you. Here are 18 proven tactics you can use in 2018 to increase your positive energy and help you fulfill your resolutions by creating a more mindful and cheerful you. 

1. Aromatherapy

I recently purchased a DōTERRA diffuser, which I swear by. You fill it with water and then concoct your own personal recipe of essential oils to diffuse inside. Essential oils can induce sleep, ease anxiety, increase positive energy, and aid with digestion. Also, they just smell really good. I recommend 4 drops of lavender, 2 drops of frankincense, 2 drops of peppermint for a happy blend.

2. Yoga 

Yoga may be considered a form of exercise, but it has psychological benefits as well. Since it is a combination of movement, meditation, and a focus on breath, yoga can assist with mental calmness, increased metabolism, and improved energy levels. Yoga is a great way for beginners to get moving since all of the poses have simpler modifications. Self-care and a workout combined, how about that.

3. Go Outside

According to Psychological Science 2008 and the Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013, going outdoors can increase your short-term memory and help with stress relief. Levels of cortisol, which is the hormone associated with the body's stress responses, were shown to decrease when people were walking outside. 

4. Buy Something for Yourself (Every Once in a While)

We all know the saying, "money can't buy happiness", and this is definitely true. However, we are allowed to be selfish every now and again. Guilt is an emotional response that can have a negative impact on our lives. Don't succumb to guilt when you get something for YOU every once in a while. You deserve to practice self-care in the form of retail therapy.

5. Organize Your Life

The best way to decrease anxiety, especially when it comes to college classes, is to organize your calendar so you know what to expect. I use the Calendar app on my computer (or a planner can be helpful) and I input all of my homework, meetings, tests, social events, etc. on there together. This allows me to figure out how I can best manage my time the weekend before a busy week. Knowing what to expect will decrease stress associated with the unknown, especially stress related to challenging college classes

6. Sleep

College students may say getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is impossible, but it is not. Certain things, such as not drinking caffeine close to bedtime or not eating two hours before bed, can help you get a better night's sleep. Another helpful tip would be to avoid taking longer than 1 hour naps, as you risk waking up even more tired. You deserve to feel refreshed every day. 

7. Be Still for at Least Two Minutes a Day

Take two minutes out of your day to put down the phone and block out any distractions. For these two minutes, breathe in and out and focus on your breath or meditate on the things that you are thankful for. Self-care really does not have to take a long time, it is this simple.

8. Use a Face Mask

There is nothing more refreshing than the smooth, clean feeling after you remove a face mask. Take the opportunity a few times per week to apply a face mask that works with your skin type. This "you time" will be beneficial to your happiness.

9. See a Therapist

Seeing a therapist sometimes has a negative stigma surrounding it, but it shouldn't. Therapy is a great way to talk about your past week with someone unbiased and to vocalize some thoughts you've been keeping to yourself. Seeing a therapist can increase your self-esteem and ease anxiety about any topic you are dealing with.

10. Eat Balanced Meals

Portion your food intake and make sure you get the essentials (fruits, veggies, etc.). This will make you feel healthy and energized and ready to take on the day and night. Remember, you always deserve some dessert too. 

Portion your food intake and make sure you get the essentials (fruits, veggies, etc.). This will help you feel healthy, energized, and ready to take on the day and night. Remember, you always deserve some dessert too. A balance between food that nourishes the body and food that nourishes the soul is what self-care is all about. 

11. Drink Water

H2O helps with your physical, emotional, and mental health. When you hydrate yourself it improves mood, since there is an increase in blood flow circulating in the brain. Also, your skin looks better and you feel more prepared to exercise when you drink water.

My goal this year is to drink half a gallon a day, which is 8 glasses of water ( about 8 fluid ounces) a day. I feel this is a sufficient amount for me, but do whatever works best for you.

12. Play with Pets

Studies show that when humans play with dogs, cats, etc. it results in the release of the "feel good" hormones, such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. Let's be honest, who doesn't feel happy when they're playing with a cute animal. Go to a local shelter and play with the animals there. Trust me, it'll benefit you and them as well. 

13. Move On

Remember, if it's not going to bother you in one year, don't waste one more minute stressing over it. Enough said.

14. Take Breaks from Social Media 

No news is good news, and no one is ever as happy as they appear on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Take time out of your day to stop obsessing over everyone else's life in photos and be thankful and content with your own. It will be very refreshing, I promise you. Note that self-care doesn't mean you can't mindlessly scroll through Instagram sometimes. It simply means recognizing when it isn't serving your mental well-being. 

15. Take a Multi-Vitamin

Taking a multi-vitamin provides you with essential nutrients that your food intake may be lacking. Vitamins have also been proven to improve your immune system and decrease stress levels. Plus, some of the gummy ones taste just like candy.

16. Track Your Steps

If you have an iPhone, the Health app actually tracks your steps everyday for free. If you track your steps, you will make small efforts to walk around more and get moving. This burns calories and gets you outside, helping you to feel healthier and happier. Set fun goals for yourself to increase your step count and challenge your friends to see who can get the most steps in throughout the day. 

17. Workout Because You Love Your Body, Not Because You Hate It

With Valentine's Day around the corner, love is in the air. Start strong by loving yourself. Carve out time during the day to exercise because you love yourself and because you want to feel healthy and happy, not because you think negative thoughts about certain areas of your body. Working out boosts self-esteem and eases anxiety.

Keep in mind that sometimes the best form of self-care is not exercising when you aren't feeling up to it. That is okay too.

18. Smile

Even if you are having what seems like the hardest day ever, smile. If you force yourself to smile even when you're upset, it actually results in feelings of genuine happiness due to your body chemistry. Your body can't tell the difference between a smile as a reflex and a purposeful one. Basically, the simple act of smiling reduces stress and makes you feel more joyful. What's not to love about this simple self-care practice?

Continue to have a great 2018, and remember to love yourself.