Your most valuable parenting skill is learning to manage yourself first.
-Dr. Laura Markham
Happy 2021! I hope your year is off to a great start! In our family, typically in lieu of resolutions (although I do sometimes give in and do these too, either on my birthday or for the new year), we like to focus on a word of the year for each of us.
Last year, ironically, my word was SIMPLIFY, and many areas of my life did indeed simplify, many quite naturally without much effort because of the pandemic and the inherent life changes that went along with it. What I didn’t see coming last year (and many of my clients spoke about this topic in their therapy sessions last year as well) was that when life quieted down and simplified, some deeper issues ending up rising to the surface. So, “simplify” often equaled “complicate” in some areas of life. Was this your experience last year as well? But, this concept usually did bring about a positive effect on life overall, as working through our deeper issues often does- not just for ourselves, but for our spouses, our kids, our extended family, our friends, and many more people whose lives we touch and whose lives touch our own.
This year, my word is CALM. Have you chosen your word of the year yet?
Why calm? I want to continue to work on being less reactive to the world around me. To bring my calm into any storm that shows up in my life on any given day. When the kids are arguing. When I’m feeling triggered by something my husband did. When my feelings are hurt by something said by an extended family member. When I’m feeling lonely and disconnected from friends (insert global pandemic and most of 2020 here).
And, how do I plan on accomplishing this feat, and how can you do it too? With a lot of effort to be intentional and stay the course, and a lot of self-compassion and self-love for the inevitable defaults back into emotional reactivity from time to time.
Some other options that tend to help fall into the self-care realm (I know, I know, but they really do make a difference, especially when you’re able to focus on them daily): A good night’s sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercise, journaling, meditation, reading, emotionally connecting with loved ones, to name a few. Plus, a shiny new mantra for a shiny new year, “bring your calm!”
May this New Year bring you love, hope and joy!