Recap of 2021
As we enter 2022, let’s reflect on what it was to close the curtains on 2021 as the noise was loud. A new COVID-19 variant cancelled travel/family/work plans and collective grief and uncertainty. We also saw the greatest rise in entrepreneurship, creative home offices – think standing desks with treadmills to shift the ‘Rona weight’ and we saw the most unassuming of people get on to TikTok shake their buts and become world stars.
We saw social media turn into a wild place with plenty of opportunities to learn and awaken and wow did we go down the rabbit hole questioning our reality (if you know, you know).
And, here we are, still standing ready for an uncertain but promising 2022.
Why New Years resolutions don’t work
Many of us look to the colourful explosions of fireworks to usher in the new year, we like the idea of starting with a bang and the excitement of what it means for us. But how many of your new year goals are as a result of reflection and careful consideration of what did and didn’t work in the year that just ended?
The truth is without this it becomes very likely we will repeat patterns of behaviours from the past that may not be serving us because its emotional awareness that then leads to emotional regulation. This is why most resolutions don’t last because we default to old behaviour by nature – we start ‘doing the thing’ and all of sudden we come face to face with the uncomfortable emotions that naturally come with change but are ill-equipped to deal with them as we simply haven’t thought it through.
It’s like somebody who has an addiction to alcohol who remains in denial (lacks the emotional awareness around their addiction) however when they accept they have an addiction this is where they are then able to engage in support and manage their emotional triggers that lead them to drink (emotional regulation).
Fortunately, building your emotional awareness is like any other skill, with practise it becomes easier
The 3 areas to reflect on to start 2022 with less overwhelm
Notebook and pen (or digital notes)
You can listen to the free ‘breathing to release anxiety’ meditation we have for you, it’s only 5 minutes and will help to calm your nervous system down
The intention behind these questions is to activate your emotional awareness skills. We suggest going to a quiet place. Let people around you know you need to be alone for 30 minutes or more. Switch off your phone notifications. Grab a pen and notebook. Pour yourself a cup of your favourite beverage. Light a candle if you have one or have something in your space that you love.
Breath in. Breath out.
Release the tension in your body. Relax your muscles. Bring your mind to the present moment, don’t grapple with a ‘perfect’ way of doing this.
There is no perfect way of doing this, give up being perfect for being authentic instead – this can sometimes mean that things don’t go as you hope or plan and that’s OK! There’s nothing like the ‘messy middle’ it’s how we learn and grow.
Let’s dive in and reflect on three key areas that are the foundation of our wellbeing. The questions act as pointers to what you should really think about. This exercise will not only show us where we’ve been in 2021 but also provide a lighthouse for 2022. Now is the time to gather your thoughts.
This encompasses how you think and process emotions to create a meaningful life. Mental health is not just about the absence of an illness like depression and anxiety. It’s so much more about the quality of your life and how resilient you were in tough times. 2021 was the second year we were living in a pandemic so we were still adjusting to the new normal way of doing things. Here are three pertinent questions to assess your mental health.
Before diving deep a quick heads up pick just one thing if the ‘overwhelm bunny’ shows up as we like to say. Keep it simple.
- What were my most common stressors? (Answers could be job loss, divorce, death of loved ones, work, family, parenthood, illness, school, etc.)
- How did I cope/deal with my stressors? (Answers could be journaling, seeking help, ignoring the problem, abusing drugs, etc.
- Moving forward, how can I better take care of my mental health? (Answers could be therapy, exercise, meditating, journaling, healthy eating, hiking, etc.)
This is how well your body and its organs are functioning. It incorporates physical activity, nutrition and diet, rest, sleep, and medical self-care. Just like mental health, physical health is not merely the absence of an illness but it could revolve around managing a chronic or persistent illness or pain. Also, think of your physical health as how confident you feel in your body. Here are three pertinent questions to assess your physical health.
- What illnesses or body strains did I experience? (Answers could be diseases e.g., COVID-19, chronic illnesses e.g., diabetes, and discomforts like headaches, stomachaches, etc.)
- Did I seek the professional or holistic help I needed when I got sick and how did my body respond to treatment?(Part a is either yes or no……….and answers for part b could either be body didn’t respond or body responded very well)
- What lifestyle changes can I make to ensure I remain physically healthy? (Answers could be to drink more water, start exercising, eat healthy foods, spend more time outdoors, etc.)
This covers your connections with your significant other, children, extended family, friends, colleagues, mentors, bosses, supervisors, the community around you, and yourself. All these interactions contribute majorly to how happy and healthy you are because we are inherently social beings. A relationship with self is also paramount because it sets the tone for your external relationships. If you learn to extend compassion, grace, love, kindness, and forgiveness to yourself, it becomes very easy to plant those virtues in your other relationships. There are three pertinent questions to assess your relationship with self, at work, and with loved ones.
Relationship with self
- How did I treat myself when I made mistakes, didn’t have a good day, or didn’t achieve what I wanted? (Answers could be negative self-talk, positive self-talk/affirmations, slowed down, self-sabotage, etc.)
- What negative traits did I notice in myself or did anyone point out? (Answers could be procrastination, laziness, avoidant behavior, quick temper, selfishness, jealousy, etc.)
- How can I improve the relationship I have with myself? (Answers could be saying affirmations, slowing down, listening to what I need, spending time alone, buying myself nice things, therapy, etc.)
- How were my interactions with my colleagues? (Answers could be healthy, toxic, mutually beneficial, boundaries were crossed, they became personal, etc.)
- Did I demonstrate emotional intelligence at work? (Answer is yes or no based on how well you were aware of your feelings and those of others enough to respect them and respond accordingly)
- Which relationships at work can be better and how can I improve them? (Answers for part a could be relationships with your bosses, peers, or subordinates. Part b could be applying more empathy, helping with projects, going the extra mile, listening more, asking for feedback, etc.)
Family and friends relationships
- Can I say with certainty that I tried to be a better partner, parent, and friend? (Answer is yes or no)
- Did I feel accepted, supported, encouraged, and loved by people I consider dearest to me? And did I do the same for them? (Answer is yes or no)
- How can I improve my personal relationships? (Answers could be to spend more time with them, buy gifts, encourage and affirm them, be there for them, plan activities with them, meet and visit them often, etc.)
Take time with each of the above. Be as honest as you can. The reason for self-reflection is to trace where we’ve been, learn our patterns, and how we can improve on them. If you uncover some uncomfortable truths about yourself or your relationships, make room in your heart to forgive yourself for those times you’ve fallen short.
Notice which action steps feels the most desirable and do-able for you right now and go with those, even if it’s just one thing you feel you can do right now.
May 2022 be your best and most reflective year yet. May you accomplish your heart’s desires and may all your plans come to fruition. We always like to close the space with a meditation offering, please enjoy.
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