Every new year, people tend to discuss their New Year's resolutions or goals to incorporate into their lives improving themselves from the past year. Our goals can typically be centered around achievements in different areas: school or work; and also centered around activities/events and relationships.
This year, I've heard from many people, how difficult and exhausting the thought of new goals are, due to the state of the world right now.
One thing I've highlighted for folks is that our goals, very rarely, have to do with our relationship with ourselves and how we can treat ourselves better. "You can't pour from an empty cup" is a phrase heard so often and most people brush it off. However, when we are pouring from an empty cup we typically notice a few symptoms of burn out: fatigue, irritability, depressive thoughts, difficulty with concentration and sleep etc.. This can lead us to frantically trying to do some self-care to feel rejuvenated but it doesn't always last long because we were already running on empty.
I would like to encourage you to take a look at how you treat yourself:
Do you speak nicely to and about yourself?
Do you have time for yourself?
Do you have an activity that is just yours to help you relax/reboot?
If your answers to these questions are "no", this is where we can start.
Change the way you speak to yourself
"I'm so dumb", "I can never do anything right", "I'm a failure" etc., if any of these thoughts occur throughout the day, notice them and try to readjust - going from negative to neutral and working toward positive can be a helpful step to speaking nicely about yourself which will allow some more self-compassion and self-confidence. Simply start to shift your words- like "hate" to "dislike" to "that's not for me." When you start to shift your words to more positive words, your mood will get better and you can start to make a habit of this.
Spend time alone to self-reflect
I know time alone can be difficult for many many reasons, however, it doesn't have to be huge blocks of time. Any time you can take a breather and do something for yourself, can help you go into that next meeting/playgroup/class, feeling a little lighter and more focused. If you can carve out even more time for yourself throughout the week - you can fill the time in whichever way you need to regroup.
Engage in an Activity that Brings you Joy
Is there a hobby or activity you like to do alone? Is there something new you want to learn? Maybe writing down your thoughts/blessings daily can be your activity to get into a feel good mode. This can be something to think about and to incorporate this year to give back to yourself. We all deserve the time and space to be us as individuals and not always working under the hat of parent, student, partner, employee.
Smile to Yourself
Everyday, when you wake up, start with a smile to yourself. Smiling will improve your mood, starts your day out positive and helps boost your immune system. Make it a practice to smile when you look into the mirror and observe how that makes your feel. We all can smile a bit bigger than we usually do! Try it right now. See what a difference it makes!
We tend to give a lot of energy to the people around us and never enough energy back to ourselves. This is a sign to spend some time on you - follow your bliss.
If counseling is one of the things you are thinking about as a way to give back to yourself, please reach out- that's the first step in the right direction...
Stephanie Polizzi, LMHC, specializes in working with clients struggling with eating disorders, anxiety, trauma, behavioral issues and more.