TIME TO THRIVE BLOG
3 steps to starting the new year with more energy
How can we start the new year with more energy after yet another strange year of living through a global pandemic and difficult experiences?
“But you didn’t land in hospital”. “It could have been much worse”. “Imagine how it would have been if you were a single mum and had more children”.
The external voices of comparison were louder than my own inner voice of acceptance. I know that friends meant well and were just trying to cheer me up, but I didn’t need cheerleaders, nor did I need to hear about how it could have been worse.
I had caught the virus which I had tried to avoid for 1,5 years. I wasn’t well. The only thing I needed (except from my husband bringing me lots of tea and Pho Bo soup) was to hear these words:
“I hear you.”
Of course 2021 could have been worse. Knowing that doesn’t make our experiences less difficult.
It’s that time again when I look back and reflect on the past year. Normally I would celebrate the extraordinary things I learned, my successes and accomplishments. But it has been another strange year and I have decided to end it differently.
Not because there hasn’t been a lot of learnings and successes, but because I see the necessity more than ever to honour the uncomfortable emotions and the things that didn’t go as planned.
The not-so-flattering emotions are as worthy of acknowledgement and deserve to be felt just as much as all the socially accepted ones.
Do you agree?
We can, of course, look back on the past year and only focus on the successes and try to forget the unpleasant and messy truths. In our “quick-fix” culture there is a lot of money-making that happens around bypassing the truth.
We can choose to say, “I’m fine, I survived”, “Soon it’s a new year with new opportunities”, and smile.
I’m convinced that when we focus on the good things in life, all the goodness grows, but when we only do that and don’t take ownership of our hardships, it can lead to exhaustion.
Let’s not rush things. That’s what we do all day long. When something feels uncomfortable, we tend to ignore it and move on.
In a culture where we praise positive emotions like happiness and fulfilment more than the negative ones like sadness and anger, it takes a lot of courage to say, “I’m not fine”.
We don’t want anyone to see that we’re broken, that we can’t hold everything together. Our naked truth. So, we show up at dinner parties and on social media with all our mess hidden behind a fake smile. We post photos of our children and fancy holidays to say “look, I’m fine!”
What is it we’re not showing?
What are we afraid would happen if we showed the messy truth?
I have learned that the single most important behaviour for bringing more energy into our lives is:
Don’t bypass heavy emotions, but also don’t obsess about them.
What is not examined and expressed usually grows.
It grows inside of us until the day when we have difficulty breathing and our bodies are hard like metal. All the holding together requires A LOT of energy.
I know because I have been there.
In the past I was an expert in putting on a suit of armour to present an imaginary persona.
I was an expert in adding things to my to-do list just to show I was as productive and busy as everyone else, even when I was depleted. I have seen lately how many of my clients do the same.
No doubt that we are constantly triggered to DO MORE when we hear phrases like “create the future you”, “reinvent yourself”, “change your life” and “find your purpose”.
Before I look at my successes and learnings this year, I will make a list of the things that didn’t go as planned. I’m inviting you to do the same. Meet a friend or a whole group of friends and share your list.
Ask them to just listen. No advice giving. No cheerleading. No fixing. Just listen.
This is the most valuable gift you can give to someone.
Here is mine (the official version ;))
Things that didn’t go as planned:
- I postponed the launch of my website twice.
- I miscalculated and was confronted with a huge tax bill at the end of the year.
- My au pair unexpectedly packed her bag and left while I was in the shower in the middle of the pandemic when I was vulnerable and needed help the most.
- I got sick with Covid even though I was vaccinated, washed my hands, wore a mask, maintained distance, and cancelled most social events this year.
- My daughter, who was called “very sociable” at the age of 3 and always had many friends, was suddenly having problems with friends at school.
- Someone had a car accident with my car.
- I didn’t manage to work out like I wanted to.
- I wasn’t as patient as I thought I would be while home-schooling my daughter.
- I had two different virtual assistants resign within a period of 3 months.
- I had promised to take Fridays off and not work with more than 12 clients a week, and didn’t keep either promise.
When you have made your list, go through each point and ask yourself how each thing made you feel. Give yourself permission to feel disappointed, angry or sad.
The key is to feel the feelings but not obsess over what happened.
3 steps to starting the new year with more energy:
- Let go.
- Move on.
I don’t know about you, but this process makes me feel human.
It’s okay not to feel okay at times.
It’s okay not to hold everything together.
It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself even though there are people who have it worse than you.
One week after I had recovered from Covid, I was getting ready to drive my daughter to school. I was still internally battling how I had been too reactive with my family while I was sick.
As if my daughter could read my mind, she turned to me and said: Mum, you know why I love you? Because you are you.
I looked back at my 9-year-old, who already holds so much wisdom, and I was speechless.
Imagine if everyone was thinking like her, then the world would be a better place.
Wishing you all a relaxing ending of 2021.
It’s all okay.
Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.
Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.
I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.
I’m happy you’re here!