While the holiday season is wonderful for so many reasons, it also comes with its struggles. Holiday shopping, traveling and family reunions can take a physical and emotional toll on us. However, this time of year can serve as a touchstone that grounds us in the present moment. It prompts us to think about major changes in our lives, the past year, and what may lay ahead for us in the following one. Taking the time to reflect, relax, and reconnect can help to start the New Year on a positive note.
Here are some ideas for you to start 2018 more in Balance.
Gratitude. There are many versions of a gratitude journal that you can try out, but getting started is the most important thing. A simple entry can include three things you are thankful for and one positive experience in the last 24 hours. There are multiple benefits to doing this 5 minute exercise. By focusing the positive in your life, you can help shift your thinking if you are having a hard day and the journal will become a good tracker of what you find valuable in your life. Check out the many benefits of gratitude by Happier Human.
Goals. Every year, a lot of people make resolutions to improve health, self improvement, saving money, etc. Research results about New Year’s Resolutions reveal that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. Asking yourself why you want to make a change makes it more meaningful; splitting up goals into smaller steps, more achievable. If you are a visual person, you might want to read about the power of vision boards in mapping out what you desire.
Rest. Family changes/conflicts/separation, politics, societal pressures, inequality and racism. There are many reasons we need to take time to take care of ourselves and heal from individual as well as societal stressors. If you are thinking you are too busy to relax, schedule time in your calendar to wind down. It is not about finding time but choosing the time you have to rest. Go outside. Nature has incredible powers to heal. Read more about the great benefits on your brain in this National Geographic article.
Wellness. Physical, mental and emotional well-being is a never-ending commitment that we need to reconnect with every year. According to Richard Davidson from the UW Center of Investigating Healthy Minds, “well-being is a skill”. Finding practices that work for you and a support system to keep you going when motivation is lacking is crucial.
Taking an intentional pause to notice of where we are, how we got there and most importantly, who we are with can help re-energize ourselves every year. Furthermore, taking inventory of our wellness not only motivates ourselves but our community to live in happiness and health.