Approaching the holidays always brings two trains of thought. The first is, how relieved we are to have a break, spend time with family, and eat delicious food. The other train of thought is thinking about the things that were not completed, what needs to be done in the new year, and how although time off is nice, there is always work to be done. The never-ending tale of two sides. However, this year it might be time to try something new. Step back and step away to reset, reflect, and refresh.
Take a Moment to Reflect
How was your 2022? Not from a business standpoint, but how was your year as an individual? So often we think about our achievements as an employee and overlook what we did as an individual. Take a moment to reflect on YOUR wins and accomplishments and bask in them. Which highs do you want to carry into the new year? Were there significant achievements that you would love to continue to build on? Were there any significant life changes that made you love life even more?
Write down your significant milestones and reflect on which you would like to continue to build on, which you could do without, and which you would like to improve on that did not go your way. Take a moment to breathe and reflect on the past year with this list. It will most likely be much longer than you anticipated. Do not forget, it is the little victories that always add up!
Ways to Go About Reflecting
- Did you think positively or negatively when adversity arose? Mistakes happen, but did you learn from them and create a pathway forward, or, did you get down on yourself? Pick yourself up and always find a way to grow from mistakes. Reflect on what you did right or could have done differently rather than reflecting on the negative aspects.
- How did you express your gratitude to others? When someone helped you, did you express your gratitude to them or did you simply say thanks and move on? A thoughtful email, handwritten letter, or phone call goes a long way in showing others how grateful and appreciative you are.
- When stressful situations arose, did you remain calm under pressure or did you let frustration envelop you? Expressing frustration from time to time happens, but always know that cooler heads prevail. Staying calm under pressure is not easy. Find a healthy way to manage stressful situations and exert negative energy. This may help:
Hit Your Reset Button
If only it were as easy as hitting a 'reset' button to forget about our troubles. By hitting your reset button, clear your mind, get rid of unnecessary burdens, and lighten your load. Take all of the things you did not or could not accomplish this year and take one of the following three approaches.
- Let it go. Just forget about it. If it was not important enough to get to this year, it is not important enough to get to next year. Let it go.
- Get it done now. Start the new year fresh and get what you could not get done now so it does not follow you into the new year. You can properly reset and move on.
- Push it into the new year and make it a priority. Put it to the top of your new year's list so you can get it out of the way first.
Ways to Help You Reset
- Those social media accounts or email subscriptions that you continually overlook and delete, just unsubscribe and move on. No need to keep looking at them. Especially if seeing them angers you.
- Have bad habits or commitments that create stress or dread? Work on finding a way to say no or kick your bad habits.
- Declutter and make things simple. That cluttered email inbox or closet filled with clothes that can be donated, clear them out. Looking at clutter can make us feel overwhelmed and continues the cycle of "I'll get to it." When we have fewer decisions to make and less to think about, the less stress we allow to enter our lives.
- Reclaim your time. We rush here and rush there. Give yourself a few extra minutes so you are not rushing. You can relax and reduce stress levels by taking the extra time not to save more later. If you leave an extra five minutes early for work, would that save you an extra 10-15 minutes on your commute?
This will allow you to take the things that did not matter and remove them from your plate. Why worry about something that is no longer relevant? Let that negative energy go!
Refresh Yourself - Treat Yo Self
After you have reflected and reset yourself, the next course of action is to refresh and prepare for what is to come. How does one refresh you ask? Well, one of the simplest ways is to just breathe. Take a few deep breaths, hold it for a few seconds, and slowly exhale. Repeat this a few times and it can feel like your troubles float away. Or, you could go to a day spa and really treat yourself.
Refreshing is about letting the little things go and focusing on what is in front of you. When you carry over stress from the previous day, it continues to build and build and brings you closer to your breaking point. The same thing happens throughout the year. What did not get done yesterday can turn into a week, into a month, and into a year.
If you happen to have time off for the holidays, you most likely do, relax. Take time for yourself and enjoy. If something was not finished before the holidays, it can most likely wait until after. There is no need to scramble and use your time away from work to continue working. When our mind is constantly going, we never give ourselves the opportunity to relax and pause. Take a moment, breathe, relax, and let your mind wander. Get back to your favorite hobby, read, or do something you normally would not.
- Set goals for yourself. Start off your year by listing small goals and then building them out based on time. What goals can you set for yourself each day, week, month, the first six months, and at the end of the year, to help you accomplish your long-term goals?
- Create a daily checklist, not a routine. If you have a routine that is time sensitive, what happens if something runs long or is missed? It can throw the entire rest of your day out of whack. Having a checklist ensures that in no specific order, you can still accomplish everything you want to for that day.
- Set values for yourself. If someone were to describe you in five words, are those words ones that you would expect to hear or would they surprise you? More importantly, is that how you would want to be known?
- Plan. If you know that after the first quarter there is some downtime before things ramp up, take a break. Take a long weekend or a week off to refresh and get your mind right. Unfortunately, I cannot approve your time off though. 😄
We live in a time where it is hard to find an off switch. Our phones are always within arms reach, TVs are the size of our walls, and stimulation is everywhere. Taking time to reflect, reset, and refresh can go a long way in helping your mind and health. I use an app called Habit Tracker. It is a free app and helps me take a few minutes each day to accomplish something small. I have a daily goal to go to the gym, stretch, and read. I set a timer for each task and the app only marks the task as 'completed' once the timer runs out. It also records progress so you can see how many days in a row you hit your goals. A small way that helps remind me that taking a few minutes each day to do something so simple can go a long way.