New Year – New You!
The New Year is a great time to take inventories, and while considering where we are in our lives and what directions we want to go, let’s also take a little time to consider how we can better care for the bodies that help us do all these things. Perhaps this new year can bring a new you that simply feels better. New Year – new you.
While considering this, here are a few ideas:
- Notice, notice, notice. You can’t fix what you don’t notice. Your body can give you a lot of information about what could use some fixing. Where do you feel pain or tension? Do you feel it all the time or just when moving in certain ways? Is it worse when you do some things? Is is better when you do some things?
- While you are noticing, take a little stock of how you stand, sit, and lay down. Do you notice tension patterns or imbalances you may be causing by the way you habitually do these things?
- Notice how you walk.
- Do you use your whole foot as you stride forward striking the heel, moving through the outside edge of the foot and utilizing the strength of all your toes?
- Are your knees in alignment with your foot and hip?
- Does the hip move freely in its socket?
- Does the pelvis feel aligned and strong?
- Do you feel lifted in the ribcage and supported in the core?
- Are your shoulders over that lifted ribcage, and does the head sit effortlessly on top?
- What do you see as you walk?
- If you are always seeing the ground, you can know that nothing is stacking in a happy way. There is a whole world out there. If we lift our rib cages and look up, its amazing what we can see!
- Notice your face and jaw. A lot of what is going on inside can be revealed in our faces and jaws and even tongue. Do you notice patterns of tension there? Do they directly relate to other tension you may be feeling, and can you release one by releasing the other?
- Are you enjoying the wonderful gift of sensation? Smell? Taste? Sight? Hearing? Touch? Someone I know well was just diagnosed with anhedonia. I had to look it up. It is the inability to experience pleasure. To some degree many of us experience this same inability from time to time. Notice that, too.
- Notice how and what you are eating. Do you feel good when you are through eating? Do you feel satisfied and energetic? Fuel should help us feel that way. If not, make some small changes and notice if that helps you feel better. When trying to find out if some foods do not work well for our systems, it is best to eliminate one food at a time in order to be more clear about what foods help and what foods may be causing us problems.
- Notice when you are eating. Are you eating when you are not hungry? If so, check inside and see what may be really driving you to eat—because if you are not hungry, it is not your body. Noticing that we are eating when we are not hungry is an important indicator that something else needs to be tended to.
- How are you sleeping? Do you wake up feeling refreshed and rested? If not, why not? Is it due to lack of sleep or restless sleep? Are you purposely cutting yourself short on sleep in order to meet other priorities? This may be alright for the short term, but long term it will take a huge toll on your body and health. Can priorities be shifted in order to better meet your need for sleep? If you are trying to sleep but can’t, this may be a good reason to seek professional help. Tackling any problem is easier when rested. Someone once told me that soldiers lose in battle when they are fatigued, and so they do. We all have our battles. We all need sleep.
- What about the good things we want to feel inside—happiness, peace, joy, love, hope—that kind of stuff. Notice if you are getting ample doses of these important things. If not, are there some small changes you could make that might facilitate this? (Perhaps a New Year’s Resolution?)
- What other things might your body be trying to tell you about what it needs, about what YOU need?
Noticing can be very difficult. Perhaps that is because if we stop and notice we may need to change, and change is hard. I worked with a woman once—only once—who made this very clear to me. She was having a lot of pain in her head, shoulder, arm, and wrist. She was extremely high strung. I started by suggesting that she take some deep breaths and try to relax a little. She replied, “You want me to slow down, relax, and get in touch with my feelings, but why on earth would I want to do that? I go at this pace precisely so I WON’T have to do that!” I knew she was being honest with me. I did not see her again. Last I heard, she had had surgery.
Noticing and listening requires that we quiet ourselves and the world around us, at least for a little while. Is there some time that could be carved out of our busy lives in order to do this? If not, it would be important to notice that, too!
Too often New Year’s Resolutions or goals are focused on things that are “out there”—more money, less debt, travel plans, etc. Or they may feel like terrible task masters beating us into submission—losing weight comes to mind.
I am suggesting that we look at the New Year with more gentleness, especially with ourselves. I hope 2016 will be full of wonderful new discoveries obtained by noticing and listening. This can be the beginning of moving better, feeling better, and truly having a very Happy New Year!