Let’s Talk About Change

The New Year often brings about thoughts of making improvements in your life, changing old ways of doing things, establishing new ground rules for yourself, and getting things done. But it can be overwhelming. Where do we start? How do we get out of the patterns that, although not effective, are ever so comfortable? We can’t rid ourselves of the hope that things could be better, yet it is extremely hard to get started.

Change can be unsettling and even frightening. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, outside of your usual boundaries. Stepping into a new arena exposes us to a vulnerability that can feel uncomfortable and awkward. It may seem easier to carry on as we have for so long, and try not to hear that pesky, inner voice telling us that things could be better, if only we’d give it a try. We just need a big push, a burst of energy and then maybe….

Here are a few tips on making that plunge for whatever it is that has been in the back of your mind for a while. This could be your year to finally move forward in a very rewarding manner!

  1. Make a list and prioritize the items by their importance to you.
  2. Spend at least 5 minutes by yourself each morning before you truly begin your day. Reflect on what is a doable goal for that day. Focus on your breathing and remind yourself of what you are grateful for.
  3. Give yourself credit for each success, no matter how small you believe it to be. Rather than focusing on how far you have to go to achieve your goal, celebrate the steps that you are presently taking.
  4. Find humor in what is going on around you. Laughter can brighten your life and bring a sense of well being.
  5. Be kind to those around you, which in turn, can bring kindness back to yourself. What you put out there often comes back multifold. Absorb that good feeling of being the best that you can be in each moment.
  6. Allow yourself the satisfaction that you are making progress in the direction that you desire.
  7. Remember that when things do seem out of your control there are professionals with the ability to assist. Having a non-judgmental, supportive, and caring person in your corner, who has the knowledge of how to help, is invaluable.

Feeling Stressed About the Holidays?

Trying to cover the tension and stress that one may feel during this time of year can take a tremendous amount of energy. We have been led to believe that it is easy to create a “perfect” holiday with a fabulous meal and exactly the right gift, fastidiously wrapped, for everyone we know. In reality this season may bring a sense of dread and anxiety. Here are a few tips for coping, which could offer comfort and lower the expectations of perfection.

  1. Do something nice for yourself everyday. Often the simplest things can bring great pleasure; a short walk with the sun on your face, a quiet meditative time in the morning before starting your day, a cup of tea and 5 minutes of silence.
  2. Give the gift of thoughtfulness, rather than a monetary gift. Offer to do an errand for an elderly neighbor, visit a nursing home, lend a book that you enjoyed to a fellow reader, call someone you know would love to hear from you. The act of kindness can feel like a gift to yourself.
  3. One of my favorites: make a BINGO card of things that are annoying to you (your dog ran off, you forgot a key ingredient at the grocery store, your child announced he needs something essential that you don’t have for school the next day, etc.). Reward yourself with a treat when you get a “Bingo”.
  4. Remind yourself that it is okay for you to be feeling the way you are. Be kind to yourself, take time for yourself, slow down and look for the humor.
  5. Remember that there are professionals out there to help you with your struggles. No matter how wonderful your family and friends are, sometimes it takes a professional who is non-judgemental, supportive and offers confidentiality to help make sense of the dissatisfaction that you are feeling.