Walking into a New Year with Gratitude
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
This year broke our spirits in many ways, but we are putting ourselves back together. I find there are many ways to decompress and recenter to ground ourselves, especially in these unnerving times. Let’s try to create a new start with what we have!
Starting a gratitude log or journal gives you time to reflect on the good parts of your life. Maybe you played video games today and it brought you joy! Maybe you had an especially good sandwich! Maybe you’ll get out of bed and brush your teeth, and that’s fantastic! It’s important to make time to focus on the good, especially now that it is easy to have access to the negativity these days. You deserve a mental break from the news, even taking five minutes each morning or night to write down something positive can make a huge difference.
Writing an affirmation for yourself each morning could be a great addition to your routine, even if you aren’t a morning person! I love having a controlled routine each morning, and making the time for some positivity is so worthwhile. It can be as simple as “I can do it!” or any type of positive message to yourself to start off each day on the right foot.
Hobbies to Help
Some of my favorite hobbies to keep myself mindful and grateful for the purpose of staying grounded in difficult situations include journaling and yoga!
I find that giving myself time to vent on a page, reflect on my day, or even just write a list of the good things that happened on a particular day really helps me to refocus and relax. Reading back on my old entries, even the negative ones, makes me feel grateful for getting this far to this point in my life. Anyone can journal, and you do not need fancy stationery or even aesthetically pleasing handwriting. All it takes is a pen and paper.
Yoga has been a great help for me as well because I can give myself time to be active and get in touch with my body’s needs. I recommend following along with a YouTube yoga flow, my favorite is Yoga With Adriene! She even has five minute flows for busy days if you can’t allot too much time to getting active. You will feel refreshed and reset after yoga, even if you aren’t necessarily super flexible. I know that I’m not, but it still helps a lot to stretch and push myself to feel more awake and centered.
MEDITATE! Even if you don’t have any apps like Calm or Headspace, you can take five minutes from your day to close your eyes and take some deep breaths. This really helps me when I feel stressed about school or the world. You can even find links to guided meditations on YouTube like this one, this one, or this one.
Be kind and patient with yourself. You are allowed to mess up, to forget things, and to not follow your daily schedule to a tee. You are allowed to experience your emotions and let them wave over you. You are allowed to take breaks and lay down to rest if it will bring you joy or clarity. This is easier said than done, but it takes practice and time to be comfortable with yourself and get in tune with what you need from yourself.
Make lists. If you are the type of person who gets overwhelmed easily by tasks, you can make lists to keep yourself accountable. Being mindful of your tasks will help you to feel fulfilled, even if that list has just a few things on it, like studying or reading.
At the same time, remember that productivity isn’t everything and you do not need to be upset if you do not finish everything. Overexerting yourself is worse than taking breaks when you need one to stay mindful and aware of yourself. If you made an effort toward any task, small progress is still progress. Your lists will keep you aware of what you need to do to avoid feeling scattered. They are not there to be a strict guideline or standard for your day.