Intentionally Transition Into 2023 And Become Your Most Empowered Self
A new year is a fresh start on the calendar, full of hope and potential but when you think back on this past lap around the sun, how would you characterise it? Was it successful? Was it surprising? Was it stressful? Was it spontaneous? Reflecting on the past twelve months gives us the opportunity to relish the last bit of one year, while we transition into a new year in a healthy and peaceful headspace. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of a few ideas that you can prioritise over the holidays in order to leave behind 2022 with gratitude and welcome 2023 with an open heart and mind.
BE KIND TO YOUR INNER CHILD
Show yourself compassion no matter what hurdles or experiences you navigated through this year, or are still currently experiencing. Treat yourself kindly, be warm and understanding of yourself when you reflect on or feel difficult emotions. Researcher Kristin Neff explains that self-compassion is based on an understanding of one’s issues or setbacks while allowing for mistakes, instead of striving for perfection. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional balance can be experienced (Self Compassion, 2022). If you feel like you have made a mistake, or you perceive a situation in a negative light, try to work towards letting it go. The beauty of life and evolving as humans means that one behavior, misstep or event does not determine or define who we are. Rather than dwelling on the pain of your problems and feeling stuck, try taking care of yourself and picking up the pieces in a gentle way that nurtures your soul rather than criticises it.
An exercise to help you practise self-compassion, as Dr. Neff points out, is to keep a self-compassion journal. Keeping a daily journal where you process the difficult events and circumstances of your day through a lens of self-compassion can enhance both mental and physical wellbeing. This exercise will help make self-kindness and mindfulness part of your daily life (Self Compassion, 2022). Why not make this part of your 2023 journey?
IMPLEMENT A NEW SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Studies from Kristin Neff have also shown that there is a positive relationship between self-care and wellbeing. Furthermore, higher levels of self-compassion have been associated with greater life satisfaction, emotional intelligence, social connectedness and learning goals (Self Compassion, Self Esteem, & Wellbeing, 20011). Of course, everyone’s approach or interests will be different, but self-care practices are typically geared towards self-reflection, exploring our own personal needs, and making a conscious effort to discover resources that contribute to our individual health and wellbeing. The important thing to note is, it doesn’t matter how small or unique it is, implementing a new activity for yourself can be nourishing and beneficial for your mind and body. Whether it be a monthly pedicure, going to see your favourite stand up comedian, or doing a mindful meditation at home, try to do something you have never done before, or something that truly brings you inner peace. If you normally take it slow with pilates or slower moments, why not give Muay Thai a go? Self-care does not mean that you have to follow a trend or swap from a morning espresso to Matcha; find out what works for you or what excites your soul - after all, life is about living.
MENTALLY CHECK OUT & TAKE TIME OFF
Life is demanding, and oftentimes, stressful. Can you imagine what a build up of 365 days of unhelpful emotions can have on your mind and body? Allow the holidays to be that time where you consciously slow down, relax, break away from the regular routine and tune into your thoughts and feelings. While you’re out shopping for your 2023 diary that will be filled with endless daily things-to-do, why not also pick out a nice matching notebook that you could look forward to writing a gratitude list in everyday? Immerse yourself in that book you’ve been looking forward to reading. and make time to curl up on the couch to get lost in your own world, or spring clean your cupboards so you can consciously let go of the old and make room for the new. Whatever you can do to slow down your mind and get connected to yourself, whatever is good for your soul: do that! Break your routine of binge-watching the latest series on Netflix to unwind and try meditating before bed.
No matter how busy, overwhelmed or stressed you feel this holiday season, self-care is always just one deep breath away. So take care of yourself as you prepare to transition into 2023 and, remember, you have a support network and multiple resources and at your fingertips that can help you get through.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a relaxing holiday break!
Self Compassion (https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/)
Self Compassion, Self Esteem, and Wellbeing (https://self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/SC.SE_.Well-being.pdf)