Renew your spirit with the start of the New Year

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The start of the New Year marks the ability to set the reset button on your life. We can “press the reset button” anytime, but there is something about the end of one year and beginning of a new year that just makes setting goals and evaluating our lives feel…so right.

Lately, I’ve been pushing a concept in my practice of renewing your spirit and reconnecting with self. Your spirit being that intangible part of yourself-the parts of you that make up your character, your emotions, your soul.  And yourself being, well who you are, who you used to be, and who you WANT to be.

Over time, our spirit can become a bit withered with negative life events and hurtful relationships. Our sense of self can become so foggy underneath the roles we have to assume in life that we feel unsure of who we are anymore.

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We can become so busy with life that we forget to take care of ourselves and as a result, we lose sight of who we are and forget to nurture ourselves. Women, by nature, are nurturers. We are the glue that holds a family together! Where do you think the phrase, “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” came from?

I give you permission to recognize that “holding it all together” and multitasking til the cows come home DOES come at a price—our emotional well-being. It can become so easy to think that we should be doing more and not give ourselves permission to say “I don’t feel happy!”

As women, we are certainly allowed to feel discontent but the important thing to remember is that we also hold our own key to feeling more empowered and self-aware of what we need at any given time. The process to becoming more self-aware just takes practice, especially if you have pushed emotions so deep down that you’re not even sure where they are at this point!

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So how do we renew our spirits and reconnect with who we are?

1.       Ask for help. At some point, we have to realize we do not have to keep all the tops spinning. You are allowed to ask for help from your husband, your colleagues, even your kids. Be clear in your communication of what you need, verbally naming what you need out loud. You need a hug? Name it. “I’m telling you that right now, I just need a hug”. You need your significant other to pick up the milk? Name it. “I need you to go to the store and pick up A, B, and C”. I know that most of us know we can ask for help, but I also know that women intrinsically start to take on more and more and before we know it, we feel overloaded and overburdened. So get into the practice of naming what you need before reaching the point of anger and emotional burnout.

2.       Practice self-care. Now I realize “self-care” has become a “trendy” concept over the years but taking care of you is of utmost priority in order to be the best version of yourself. Like I tell my clients, self-care is doing anything—no matter how big or small—that honors WHO you are and WHAT you need. Something as seemingly simple as lighting a candle, taking a bath, painting your nails, or listening to your favorite Pandora station can yield excellent benefits to your mental health and happiness because you are going back to fulfilling an important duty—taking care of you. These activities are not trivial despite what people may say! Little things add up to be big results. Do you appreciate beauty in your life? Then make your home office or kitchen an oasis for you. Wherever you are spending the majority of your time should have something in it that brings you joy. Sounds simple but honoring yourself is something we must actively choose, not passively hope will happen.

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Do it. Light the candles. Take a bath. Do one thing no matter how big or small that helps you feel calm and taken care of.

3.       Get in touch with your emotions. I see this time and time again. Women get married, have children, move up the ladder at work and all of a sudden, they wake up and realize “I don’t even know why I’m so upset these days, I just feel worn out!” Cue my therapy plug here— helping you get in touch with your emotions is what I do! If you are not at a place to call a counselor, then consciously identify what the biggest stressors are in your life. Ask yourself what purpose negative thoughts are serving you and then choose to consciously let them go. Family background can paint the picture for how we handle emotions so think about how your own parents handled stress and anger. The beauty of therapy is that you have a place to just be you. To have your outlet because everyone needs one! I encourage you to find a counselor that fits your style, where you feel complete acceptance, positive regard, and support.

4.       Consider who you are and who you want to be. Years of pacifying everyone else can cause a person to lose sight of goals and expectations of self. Use this new year as a way to start a journey of self-exploration. Whether you have always wanted to try yoga, attend a church group, or try you hand at painting, engaging in activities that bring us joy are keys to finding our life balance. Realize, however, that in order for reconnection with self and renewal of spirit to occur, we have to actively take charge and make these goals a priority.

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So what will be your focus this new year? What is an area in your life where you want to “let the top stop spinning” and focus on your growth and reconnection with self?

If you have been programmed over the years of thinking that you have to do it all, this post may seem unrealistic. Yet I will tell you with 100% confidence that reconnecting with yourself and renewing your spirit CAN BE DONE because I help women do this everyday! You are not alone in feeling overburdened and drained by life. Start small. Tiny steps everyday where you actively do something that honors who you are and what you need—I know I’m being repetitive now, but this point is SO important for feeling and living a healthy life, both physically and mentally.

You are your own best expert, so consider what needs to change or be done differently to make 2018 a year of reconnection and renewal of self.

Set that reset button and make those healthy changes you’ve been wanting to, but have let sit on the back burner.

Wishing you a health and happiness today and everyday,

Rachel Ann

Humanitas Counseling and Consulting, LLC

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816 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 209

Chesapeake, VA 23320