I had a rough year in 2023. Toughest one of my 62 years. I’m doing better but this year could turn out to be challenging as well. You never know. That’s the nature of life. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
If You’re Doing Well
- If you’re doing well, be grateful. Try your hand at a “Gratitude” journal where you write down one thing you’re grateful for each day. Be grateful that you’re doing well because that won’t always be the case.
- Be aware of others who are challenged – particularly during the holidays – and offer your support. You can best do this by simply texting them regularly. And occasionally ask them, “what can I do to support you?”
- Don’t assume you are being supportive of those not doing well by simply offering them to come visit you – or you visit them. When you’re down and out, you often don’t want to travel. You don’t want to host. You’re not yourself. I spent Thanksgiving and my birthday by myself because I needed to. And that was okay to do. The best thing is to ask “what can I do to support?” and let them tell you what that may be.
If You’re Not Doing Well
- If you’re one of the many who suffer – particularly during the holidays – take time to be kind and compassionate to yourself. The inner critic is so brutal to all of us (I’m using the workbook by Andrew Lang entitled “Unmasking the Inner Critic” to tackle that one). Take time to just breathe. When I need to breathe and “monkey mind” is preventing me from relaxing, I listen to this Wim Hof instructional video for 10 minutes and just breathe.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping or with anxiety, try listening to this 18-minute audio file while laying down. Do NOT listen to this audio while driving. [This audio file is on my mindfulness blog – I didn’t blog much on it last year due to my challenges but there is plenty of good stuff there if you peruse the collection.]
- Find the kindness in strangers. One way to find strangers is to attend a support group of people facing similar issues – there seems to be support groups available for just about anything. A number of people I didn’t know before really helped me pull through the year. That’s because I reached out in my moments of need. You may be surprised by how many humans are willing to help even though you don’t have a relationship. Reach out to me as one of those strangers if need be.
- Try activities to build resilience. My survival mode kicked in and I started taking cold showers (another Wim Hof method). This is no greater universal fear than cold showers. And with each one I took, I felt like I could do anything. Cold showers are a great way to boost your immune system too…