Mindful New Year

Happy New Year! I find it hard to believe another year is wrapped up and in the books. It feels as if the last few weeks of 2018 were so fleeting! My life has been full of welcome changes, both expected and unexpected, that have kept me on my toes and away from my laptop more than I liked. However, for today I’m back and I’d like to chat about reflections + resolutions that come with the New Year. How many of you take a few moments to reflect on the highs and lows of 2018 before gearing up to take on your New Year’s Resolutions to develop the “new & improved” you? I remember being in middle school and hating New Year’s Resolutions, but I don’t quite remember why. Nowadays, I don’t mind them so much, but I think that’s because of how I approach them.

Every year brings a certain amount of change and adventure, but 2018 was by far a game-changing kind of year for me. I recently reflected on the year, taking care to remain present and not lose myself to the memories so as to view the events from a new perspective, one that is disconnected from the emotions of the moment. What I found was that several events that had in the moment felt like life was handing me lemon after lemon, are now moments of learning and growth. At the start of 2018, I was feeling burned out, a little lost, and in doubt of my decision of pursuing grad school. I felt as though I had lost my passion for science. I was half-way through my 3rd year of PhD at the time and really couldn’t see a light at either end of the tunnel. However, with a dash of perseverance, sprinkle of self-honesty, and whole lotta encouragement from those who I admire, I made my way through those tough times. Along the way, I strengthened friendships and I found mindfulness. All in all, I have a very different perspective at the end of 2018 and it includes a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m excited looking ahead at 2019 because I get to apply and strengthen the “tools” (or self-care practices) I developed for myself in 2018. This means making time for coffee chats with my fellow PhD student best friends, fueling myself with nutritious meals and snacks, and fitting in plenty of movement and minutes of mindfulness. I’m not going to lay out explicit New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ll divulge a few big picture things. I want to spend more energy on trying my hardest & accepting the outcome for what it is; I don’t want to waste my energy and add stress from trying to achieve unrealistic perceptions of perfection. I want to add more moments of stillness & “digestion” before reacting to scenarios. Lastly, I want to embrace change and see something good in everything. Here’s to a bright and mindful New Year!