New Year: Rest, Reflection, Maybe Resolutions : Kate Murphy Therapy
Kate Murphy, LCSW specializes in working with people suffering from anxiety and depression, and provides couples therapy including premarital counseling in the Atlanta metro area of Norcross, GA at the Pathway Center for Psychotherapy.
premarital counseling, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger, control issues, career issues, stress, lack of balance, individual therapy, couples therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, Atlanta GA, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Norcross GA.
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New Year: Rest, Reflection, Maybe Resolutions

New Year

New Year: Rest, Reflection, Maybe Resolutions

New Year: Rest, Reflection, and Maybe Resolutions

A new year and the end of the holiday intensity has arrived. For decades, I worked in retail so January holds a special place in my heart. Less crowds, no more holiday music, and spring merchandise flooding into stores pushing out all the tired, markdown sweaters and Santas. Even after all these years, January feels like spring. Refreshing and hopeful.

New YearsThat’s me this year, it is equally valid to feel fatigued and depressed or any other combination of emotions you find yourself feeling this month. Listen to what your mind and body say.

Growing up, my family set New Year’s resolutions over a meal of good luck black-eyed peas with cornbread on the first of January. So, yes, I love the peas and New Year’s resolutions.

I know many cringe at the idea of resolutions. I admit, social media is a bit overwhelming and annoying with words of the year and ads for weight loss apps. Whatever your relationship is to goal setting, there is always value in rest and reflection.

Rest

January can certainly be a time of some fatigue and depression. The heavy mood could be a result of family dynamics or feeling isolated during the holidays or perhaps the cold, gray days. The desire to rest and do the bare minimum deserves attention. I have had hibernation Januarys even with a natural inclination to enjoy this time of year.

It is an act of self-compassion to accept and get curious about despair, fatigue, and/or grief. Sleep more and put off big projects, if possible. Essentially, embrace the pause knowing the energy will return in time.

Potentional reasons for January fatigue:

    • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    • Recovering from flu, RSV, COVID
    • Death in the familyDeath in the family
    • Alzheimer’s or other chronic disease in the family
    • Anniversary of a family member’s death during the holidays
    • Loneliness
    • Traumatic childhood holiday memories
    • US & global news
    • Overdoing it in November and December
      • Feeling unappreciated
      • Financial stress/buyer’s remorse
      • Feeling lethargic/bloated
      • Lack of sleep
      • Overstimulated

 

Reflections

Reflect back on what happened last year. What was challenging, exciting, painful, and successful? Give yourself credit and grace for making it through hard times. Celebrate the small wins. Hopefully, the big wins get your attention more easily. Without looking back, we can forget how far we have come emotionally, behaviorally, and relationally.

When I read over last year’s journal, I realized that I had spent 3 months with an aging parent due to various falls and surgeries. I often descend into guilt about not doing enough as a daughter of an aging parent. But, three months? It surpised me and finally felt like enough. This reflection allowed me time to experience tremendous gratitude as well for flexible clients that agreed to online sessions when they prefer in person.

Personally and professionally, I have heard people talk about the experience of creating their year-end reel on social media. The gathering of photos spark memories that were forgotten or dimmed in the busyness of everyday life. The word “glimmers” comes to mind; positive triggers. Little hits of accomplishment and evidence of a meaningful life. Times when life worked.

Tools to aid year end reflection:

    • Search and reunionJournal
    • Photos
    • Social media feeds
    • Calendar/Planner
    • Talk with friends & family
    • Review year with therapist
    • Performance review

 

Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions often focus on a list of things to change – rules. Ugh. To begin, I am issuing an invitation to leave your outward appearance out of the resolution equation all together. The person in the mirror or on the scale probably needs a break from the inner critic.

Think about the verb “resolve” defined as to solve or to decide; to find a solution to a problem and make a decision with determination. There is energy in a resolution. When the mind is ready, resolve can begin forward motion. An antidote to fatigue once rested. Then reflection allows us to see what is working in our life and what needs adjustment.

ResolutionsWe can resolve to do more of those behaviors and activities that worked last year. Such as, resolve to have dinner with friends once a month.

Conversely, we can resolve or find solutions to issues that are connected to pain points. It may be something simple like, “I resolve to turn off notifications on my phone to reduce distraction.” Or it may be time for a more serious resolution to solve a more complex problem. For example, “I resolve to find a couples counselor in the next two months to help decide if my marriage can last another year.”

Questions to consider when making New Year’s resolutions: 

    • What brought joy, purpose, pain in 2023 and why?
    • What needs to increase and why?
    • What needs to decrease and why?
    • What needs an overhaul and why?
    • What is a solution to bring more, less, or no more into life?
    • Short-term or long-term decison?
    • Can resolution be quantified?
    • How will it feel if resolve fails?
    • Is the resolution achievable? If not, why are you setting yourself up for failure?

 

The resolutions that work are generally clear, quantifiable, and meaningful to personal values. The resolve to have dinner with friends once a month is mine. I know the friends, the meal, and the timeframe which is clear. Together, we resolved to have dinner once a month for a year which is quantifiable. Friendship is a personal value. The decision is motivated by a realization that last year we all became too isolated due to family illnesses and deaths. The why is that we hope to increase joy, connection, and healing this year.

What about you?

I wish you a year of rest, reflection, and resolve to nurture your unique needs and desires.

 

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