It’s hard to imagine that this time last year, border closures were still in place and Christmas trips were precarious to plan. For the first time in three years we approach what’s likely to be a ‘break’, uninterrupted by Health Policy and travel restrictions.
What will you do with your leave this year? How can you make the most of a couple (or even a few) weeks off? How can you deliberately ‘gear down’ from another ‘busy’ year and carve out some space for deliberate reflective practice? This article is designed as an accelerant to your wind down from 2022. Why not grab a warm cup of tea and begin your wind down reflection now?
Reflection 1 – The Attitude of Gratitude
What are you most grateful for from the year that’s past? Take a few moments to look back and remind yourself of the new learnings, the new people, the achievements, the times you passed through and reflect on how these have enriched your sense of self and life. Don’t rush this exercise. Instead, we invite you to indulge yourself and go deep. You might even flick through your calendar to remind yourself of all of the territory you have covered. Well done you! Write these down and you might be surprised at the length of your list. For those things you’re really grateful for, why not pick up the phone and pass your thanks on to the person or people involved. This is the true spirit of the season.
Reflection 2 – Get Back to Body Basics!
If we’re talking wellbeing, then our physical health matters. How well do you feel after the year that was? How well have you been nourishing your body with nutritious food, plenty of water and movement? How have you been doing with your sleep? It’s OK if you’re wincing a little as we tune you into these questions, and if you are, why not confront rather than ignore your concerns and begin gearing up for some new ways of taking care of yourself in the coming weeks. The Festive Season can be a good catalyst to a new wellbeing pattern and a routine of self-care. You might decide to focus on more nutritious food, drinking less, moving more or really creating conditions over the summer break to develop good sleeping patterns. Imagine starting 2023 with your patterns for the year established. Rather than feeling sluggish, imagine feeling fabulous after your holiday?
Reflection 3 – Where Do You Feel Belonging?
There are all kinds of social connections we make in the course of our lives and in the course of a year – not all of them are equal. Which are the relationships you most prize in your life right now? Who was really there for you this year? Which friends and family members gave you a sense of belonging and confidence that had you stand prouder in the world? How much time and energy do you devote to the people that make you feel like you matter? Is it time for a network tune up – that is, choosing to spend more with friends and family that are your network of supporters and with whom you have a sense of affinity and belonging? How might you invest more time with your natural cheer squad over the festive season and in to 2023?
Reflection 4 – Prudence Pays
If you’re paying attention to the press, you will have heard predictions of a constrained economic outlook. Therefore, it may not be the time to be overly lavish with gifts and festive spending. Perhaps time to be a little more conservative, balance savings and spending and be mindful about commitments that have you feel stressed around money. Times of prudence can be beautiful, reflective and ‘energetically’ bountiful. We can find new ways to have fun together – ways that do not cost money. It can be time to reflect on spending habits and identify what we are happy to go without in order to reduce the financial pressures we feel. We can find ways to share more, receive more and give more. If abundance is an attitude, how can you express more of this over the holidays without breaking the bank?
Reflection 5 – Invest in Interests and Play
During the past couple of years many of us had to wind back our extra-curricula activity – we were quite simply not permitted to play! Since then, have you re-balanced the lockdown ledger and re-invested in those activities, hobbies and interests that you love doing? If you have not, the coming weeks offer a chance to think about those activities and interests that give you a sense of joy and satisfaction. What do you LOVE to do when you’re not working? What activities truly enrich your life and have you feel relaxed, creative and free? When you’re doing more of those things what’s different about your life? How do you feel? Have you got your balance right yet and if not, what will you begin cultivating for 2023?
Reflection 6 – Work with Meaning
There’s nothing greater than the joy of loving your day job. There’s also nothing more soul destroying than feeling dread at the start of each day if you find yourself in the ‘I hate my job’ rut. If you’re there, change it. If you find yourself identifying all of the excuses to ‘not change’ then pay very careful attention to your inner victim. In our busy lives it is all too easy to find all the reasons we cannot take action to change our lives. An economy with the lowest unemployment rate in history is reason enough to think about change. NOW, for those of you who love your job, our challenge for you is to deepen this and connect more deliberately with your sense of purpose. How can you be of service to more people in your role? What would a more satisfying 2023 look like in terms of your impact?
Reflection 7 – Cultivate Optimism
Optimism for the future is something we cultivate. We do this through the narratives that we invest in every day, about ourselves, others and the world we live in. What do you feel optimistic about? There is a relationship between optimism and the actions that we take as a human being to be a contribution to a better future. Our social connections, the conversations we have, the news stories we invest in all influence how we feel about ourselves in the world, and these are all within our sphere of control. What are the narratives you want to cultivate and which serve you? What is it that you feel passionate about for the future and what action can you take to invest your time and energy in being a positive force for change around this?
Reflection 8 – Own Your Agency in the World
Personal agency describes our capacity to influence outcomes in our life. It is a combination of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-enactment. It implies that we explore options and make choices and do this consciously when we reflect and reframe regularly to make sense of ourselves in the world. To what extent have you been taking time out to reflect and make sense like this? This kind of reflection encourages us to have an understanding or an alignment with our personal values and the willingness and courage to take a stand where we need to in a way that’s aligned with the person that we know ourselves to be. If this expression of self is unfamiliar to you then we encourage you to take some time to reflect on the values that drive you and the choices you would wish to make that reflect what matters most to you.
In our work, we have come to understand that most of us under-estimate the range of choices available to us each and every day and how powerful we are to shape our destiny. Key to this ‘shaping’ is the capacity to take mindful moments to reflect and consciously choose the direction of our lives – our thinking and our moods powerfully shape our destiny.
We encourage you to take some time in coming weeks – even ahead of your scheduled break to invest in reflective practice and to find time for mindful reflection.
You are the most powerful generator of your reality.