This week needs to be about easing ourselves in.
We get a lot of messages coming our way at this time of year about what we should be doing/not doing which can be stressful and overwhelming. So I invite you to take a breath, take a moment and consider the following...
"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me, and I'm feeling good" - Feeling Good by Michael Bublé
How are you feeling?
Maybe, unlike, Mr Bublé, you're not feeling so good. That's OK. Whatever you're feeling you need to meet yourself where you're at and have realistic expectations of yourself. Your feelings will change and there's plenty you can do to improve your mood, however, if you're not feeling on top of the world then you can't force yourself to feel super motivated instantly, so don't demand that of yourself.
You can use the Feelings Wheel below to help you identify what emotions are around for you today:
It's still winter!
January is actually a pretty bad time for New Year, if we're wanting it to be a time for new beginnings. Whilst the idea of a new start - and a new diary - is appealing and we can make of that what we want, midwinter is not a time for bursting forth into action. Just take a look at nature - is it 'smashing it' in the gym? Or restricting food? Or waking up at 5am to make green juice? It is not. It is resting, taking things slowly, eating, preparing, getting ready for Spring.
Let me remind you that you are nature.
We don't need to be in full hibernation mode, for many that's simply not practical, but asking our bodies and minds to do things that are out of sync with the seasons usually isn't sustainable. As always, it's about balance. Use the hours of daylight to spend your energy wisely, doing things that serve you, and make sure you make time for downtime and making mindful plans for the rest of the year.
For more on Winter Wellbeing, check out my on-demand workshop.
A tree in winter: absorbing any light it can, growth on pause, patiently waiting to bloom
If you've been sitting on the sofa for a week, eating cheese and watching telly, then it's quite natural that you'd now feel the need to move your body and eat vegetables. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to sign up to a weight loss program or an unrealistic workout schedule. Yes, by all means, eat better and move more - in fact I encourage it - but let's have less of the kneejerk reaction to a week or so of stillness and indulgence and be a bit more sustainable and kind in our actions. Swinging from extremes never works or feels good long term, so instead think about how you'd like to feel, accept that it will take a bit of time to cultivate that, and start taking small and consistent steps. Maybe it starts with drinking more water. Or a short walk every day. Or upping the amount of veggies you eat by a couple of portions. The easier, more realistic and achievable your goals the more likely you are to meet them and then you can build things up from there, building confidence in yourself as you go.
Sorry love it's water, not a G&T, but I promise you'll feel better for it!
Alternatives to resolutions
We all know that resolutions are often doomed to fail. This can be for many reasons, some I've mentioned above.
If you like the idea of goal or intention setting this time of year but don't want to set yourself up to fail, here's a few suggestions for how to be more mindful and gentle about it:
Choose a word for the year (or even just for the season) to help guide you. In the past I've chosen: Space, Growth, Acceptance. My word for this year is Embrace. Think about what you need, what challenges you and the lessons you've learned recently.
Make a moodboard - ideally a physical one using cut outs from magazines etc, but an online version on Pinterest or similar could work too. Fill it with images and phrases/words that align with how you want 2022 to look and feel. Think about what is important to you and any changes you want to make. Dream and challenge yourself but also make it realistic by thinking about how you can make these things happen, or at least start to.
Get organised - put important dates in your diary, make a (flexible) schedule so you know what the plan is each day, set some achievable goals for the week or month ahead.
Get creative with a moodboard for 2022 and keep it where you can see it every day. Use it to reconnect to your intentions regularly to keep you on your own path.
One day at a time
Thinking about a whole year at once is pretty overwhelming. The question "what are your plans for 2022?" is a bit stressful to me - that's 365 days, 8760 hours, 525, 600 minutes you're asking me to have mapped out?
Personally, a combination of having some ideas of things I'd like to do and allowing things to unfold as we go works for me.
Whether you're full of dreams and feeling very motivated or struggling and feeling stuck my advice is the same: one day at a time. And if that feels too much, one hour at a time. And if that's a lot too, then this moment, just this moment.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Chinese proverb
I hope 2022 is kind to you. Look after yourself, others and our planet.