The start of the New Year is natural time to think about making changes to better our lives and our selves. Need some inspiration? Consider these ideas.
Play. Life is busy and parents are juggling many commitments and stressors. After a long day of working the last thing you might want to do is play. Play is such an important part of a child’s world. That is how they learn, grow, imagine, and connect. Try and set a goal for yourself to just get in there and have some fun with your kids. Start with something small and work your way up. Maybe it’s only 10 minutes and that is okay! For older kids, leave a fun note in their lunchbox every now and then or cut their sandwich with a cookie cutter!
Unplug. This is a tough one. Technology provides us with connection and fun. We can instantly access our friends, family, games, pictures, and so much more. But we often find ourselves mindlessly checking our phones over and over again. Set a goal to unplug for a bit everyday. Worried about your teenager being on the phone too much? Lead by example. If they see you on the phone all the time, they will do the same. Unplug together! It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your phone does not distract you!
Start a gratitude challenge or journal. When we start to appreciate and recognize all of the things that we have in life we start to realize what is really important. There are many different ways to get started. Use a journal or app on your phone to write down one thing every day for which you are grateful. Start a gratitude jar at home and have everyone in the family contribute by adding a note every time they are grateful for something another family member did. Feel like you have no time for this? Start even smaller. Think of your cup of coffee in the morning as a gift and take a moment to really appreciate it. We all have bad days. If you can’t find anything to feel grateful for today try and think about something you can look forward to in the future.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Your life is unique. There is no one else out there that has the same exact thoughts, feelings, and life circumstances. The fact of the matter is, your situation is different than everyone else’s, so stop comparing yourself to other people. This generally leads us down a path of feeling bad about ourselves. Try this instead. Compare yourself to your past self. What was I like at this time last year? How did I do this month on my goal compared to last month? Comparing yourself to yourself forces you leave out the excuses and just really examine and confront what is going on with you.
Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. We slip up from time to time – especially on our resolutions. Instead of beating yourself up and feeling like a failure – just pick yourself up and keep going. Life gets in the way of our ideal hopes – we get sick, we are tired, we have to work so we can’t get to the gym. Forgive yourself. You’re not a terrible person. It’s just what life handed you today. But tomorrow can be different. Make that be the new you.
Move! Exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel better! It’s the truth. Feeling down? Go for a walk, run up and down the stairs, do some jumping jacks, stretch! The idea of exercising can get very overwhelming and bigger than what is really is – we have to have the right clothes, have a gym membership, buy the right DVD. But the truth is – you just need to move. Once you start to incorporate small movements into your day you will feel the benefit and naturally want to do more. Involving your friends and family is another great way to get motivated. Getting other people involved will hold you accountable and help you stay on track. There are many challenges out there that are easily accessible and you can do them at home.
Live for the day, not the weekend. Our work lives are stressful and rigorous. When Sunday roles around the thought of another week looming ahead can be depressing and anxiety provoking. To combat this idea of going through the week like a zombie and finding enjoyment only on the weekends try and change our thought process about it. How can today be great? What can you celebrate? Give a night a theme like Taco Tuesday, Thursday Game Night, Monday Trivia Night, or a crossword puzzle competition. The goal is to break up the routine every now and then. Feels like too much? Try something smaller like using the special occasion dishes to serve dinner, bringing home a few balloons to create a cheerful atmosphere, say yes to grabbing dinner with a friend instead of spending another night in your sweatpants in front of the TV!
Good luck and Happy New Year!
By Kelly DiBenedetto
Boston Post Adoption Resources