Reflections for the End of the Year
The end of the year to me carries a weight of expectation – it can feel exciting because things are wrapped in twinkly lights and snow is still fresh and (mostly) fun. But that weight might feel heavy too, for any number of reasons, depending on where we may find ourselves in life now, or years past, and the meaning this season can hold. Our beliefs and traditions may take shape in so many different forms outside of the dominant representations played out in the media. Add to this the ending of another year, and the scale of everything feels bigger – it seems we can’t try to amplify joy this time of year without also making the harder things hit deeper. In a recent episode of the popular podcast, We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon Doyle reflected with her wife Abby Wambach and sister Amanda, on the idea that – maybe this isn’t always the “most wonderful time of the year”… maybe it’s just “the most”. If this resonates for you, here are a few ideas to shift perspective or support yourself in setting some things down this time of year:
- Be honest with yourself around expectations. Enjoy the Hallmark movies, but remind yourself that the snow is sprayed on and the storylines are not based in reality. Can you focus on one key theme or value to stay aligned with this year?
- Find small moments to be completely present to what you need in the moment. This could look like: taking a break when you feel the need during a workout even if you think you should keep pushing through, or peeling away from your phone at night when you can’t keep your eyes open. Practicing this ability to decipher and honor your own boundaries with yourself in small ways, can positively impact your ability to approach harder boundaries that may need to be set this time of year.
- Reflect on your year, and recognize meaningful ways that you are in a different place than you were a year ago. A free guided writing activity I like: https://yearcompass.com (and you have permission to not set goals for the year ahead if you don’t want to).
- Turn your focus outward and give back. If giving money is not accessible for you, can you give time or items you don’t need? Or can you take an opportunity to share about an important cause through social media or in conversation? A few local causes with opportunities this holiday season:
– Sharing and Caring Hands is taking Holiday Donations for the unhoused through December. For hours and information: https://sharingandcaringhands.org – Look up your local food shelf here: https://www.hungersolutions.org/find-help/ – Donate winter outerwear that still has some love in it to keep someone else warm: https://www.josephscoatmn.org or https://www.prismmpls.org