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'New year, new you!' is how the saying goes. But let’s face it, this new year was meant to be better than the last, and it’s already shaping up to be, well, just a bit challenging. Thanks, Omicron!
With everything the world has been through over the past 2 years, some may think it’s best to stay on high alert. But there is a way you can learn from the lessons of 2021 and embrace the year’s challenges with optimism and hope.
Prioritise self care
Mental Health Expert and AIA Vitality Ambassador, Dr Jaime Lee, says we need to prioritise our mental health and self care by taking responsibility for ourselves, developing deeper self-awareness and caring for ourselves, which supports us in coping with all the constant changes and stress.
“When you care for your own needs first, you have more capacity to respond, rather than react,” Dr Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “And then from this place you can give more to others.”
The lines between work and home life have blurred over the last two years, and we are still navigating this transition.
Dr Lee invites us to reflect on what has worked for us over the last two years, and what has not worked, and bring that into 2022. Connecting with others is also valuable (even over Zoom!).
"Humans are social creatures and we need connection, we yearn to belong. And so, invest time in connecting with those people who are special to you. Often we spend all day on Zoom in work calls, but not with those we truly care about and love. So when we spend time with those special people and share our gratitude and presence with them, we will feel seen, heard, connected, our stress levels drop and our overall health improves."
A Positive Outlook
Looking ahead and wanting to be prepared for the worst doesn’t mean you have to have a trepidatious outlook.
Dr Lee explains that if the past two years have proven anything, it's that we are a strong nation.
"So know that we can endure. We are strong, we are resilient, especially when we connect with each other from a place of love and humanity, rather than from a place of fear. I trust in the goodness of people. And when we trust others, and they feel trusted by us, there's more collective psychological safety.
"Be present with life and the reality of your experiences now, in your body, in the moment. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of news or the rapid and constant change. So if you bring your attention to the here and now, in this body, in this space, at this time, it all becomes a lot more easeful.”
Be Joyful and Kind
2021 was a difficult year for everyone. And during such tough times, when we feel alone, unsafe, fearing for our health, uncertain about our future, what we really need is more kindness, humanity and generosity of spirit. Joy can be found in the smallest of acts and in unexpected places.
And it's infectious! So when you share a smile with a stranger or that small moment of joy, you will light up someone else's day.
Top tips to remain calm during challenging times
Breathe - Long, slow exhales. Taking 10 deep breaths with long, slow exhales calms our nervous system down and allows us to feel safe
Prioritise rest and give yourself more grace and kindness. Focus on the small acts that you can do and that are in your control.
Find humour amidst the challenge, and look for the gold.
“I often like to look for the cosmic joke when I'm faced with a difficult situation,” Dr Lee explains.
“And when I can laugh at it, it relaxes my body and gives me the clarity for the next step. With every experience we meet, we can find gold from it or we can blame others for that experience and play the victim. We reclaim our power and build resiliency when we learn from our challenges.”
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