In a recent study from the NY Times, 77% of respondents say they have a very hard time relaxing during the holidays and usually end up feeling more stressed and worn down than ever. After a year of highs and lows, we all need a break. In addition to helping you reset, restorative activities like spending time with family or going for walks can help you achieve your goals by giving you more clarity and focus. The end of the year is often when our goals start to solidify. This can be an opportunity to reflect on the past year and take stock of where things stand. If you’re looking to reach new heights in 2023, taking time to relax at the start of the new year can help set your intentions higher than ever before.
Benefits of Rest and Reflection – Clarity, Focus, Reset
When we rest, we give our brains a chance to process everything that has happened that day, week, or even year. This lets us come back with a fresh perspective and new ideas. When we take time to reflect, we’re able to look at all aspects of our lives and see where we can make changes or improvements. This can include how we spend our work hours, where we want to be in life, or what we want to do with our free time.
While you’re taking time off this Holiday season, make sure to keep a notebook nearby. You will have many moments where you realize there are things you want to change or new things you want to try in the coming year. Make a note of these. You can also use the notes app on your phone or send yourself emails or texts. Getting these ideas out of your head will allow you to continue relaxing, knowing that you can return to them later.
Examples of Restorative Activities – Family time, walking, yoga
When you’re trying to reset, you can do anything that will help you disconnect from the hectic world around you and focus on yourself. Some of the best ways to do this include spending time with loved ones or going on walks. Spending time with your family is a great way to take a break while creating lasting memories. When you’re relaxed, you can connect with people on a deeper level, discuss your goals and life aspirations, and have more meaningful conversations.
Activities you enjoy doing on your own, such as walking, yoga, or even taking a drive, can be wonderful restorative ideas as well. They allow you to disconnect from the constant barrage of emails and notifications and focus your energy inward. Often, our best ideas come to us when we are actively engaged in enjoyable, restful activities.
Goals for the New Year – Reflection on the past year, setting intentions
When reflecting on the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to change everything about yourself or your habits. Instead, you want to find what’s working for you and what isn’t. You want to create a roadmap for navigating the new year. You are setting intentions for how you want to see your life progress in the next 12 months. For example, you might want to spend more time exploring your passions, pursuing a side hustle, or reading more books. As you make a list of goals for the new year, you want to ensure you’re setting realistic and measurable goals. This way, you can track your progress and stay motivated when times get tough.
Making a Rest and Reflect Plan – Scheduling time, creating a ritual
As you’re planning for the coming year, make some time to rest and reflect more frequently. We all have busy lives, so it can be challenging to set aside time to clear your head. The best way to make this happen is to schedule time in your calendar and treat it like an appointment. If you struggle to set aside time for yourself, try creating a ritual to kick off your rest time. You can meditate, read a book, listen to music, or do anything else that will help you relax and let go of the stress of the day. One of the best ways to achieve this consistently is called habit stacking, where you attach your new activity to one you already do each day. For example: “After I shut down my computer at 5:30 each day, I will take 20 minutes to meditate.” Creating this set appointment with self-care can be a game-changer!
Resources For Reaching Your Goals – community, books, courses
When you’re trying to reach your goals, it can be helpful to find a community of like-minded people who are also working toward similar goals. No matter your line of work, stage of life, hobbies & interests, there is a community out there for you! Ask your friends and colleagues, they may have suggestions for communities in which they are involved. Cross Impact has a community for women leaders called The Collaborative, where we help women reach their goals and celebrate their wins. A quick internet search will find many more ways to connect virtually or in person.
If you aren’t interested in joining a community, look for books, podcasts, or courses that align with your goals. These can be great resources for motivation, ideas, and accountability.
Conclusion – Reaping the benefits of rest and reflection in December
As you enjoy some downtime at the end of the year and celebrate the Holiday season with friends and family, you will naturally begin to consider what’s in store for 2023. When things come to mind that you wish had gone differently, write them down and then let them go, these are things you will choose to avoid next year. Record your ideas and goals for the coming year and the steps you will take to work toward them. Make sure to work mental breaks into your new routine, daily if possible. Connect with others and find inspiration in whatever form suits you. Above all, focus on the things that bring you joy and spark motivation.