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  • Writer's pictureSarah Wheeler

Digesting This Year & New Yearing Your Way

Do you get reflective at this time of year? Perhaps you take time to ponder what has occurred, to celebrate yourself for the big and small wins, even down to the most mundane. Or do you lean full steam ahead into the January pull of “New Year, New You” with serious goals on your mind?

Me? I like to incorporate soupçons of these end of year/new years approaches, but I can tell you I won’t be springing into post-Christmas January-slayin’ action particularly quickly! Not because I cannot be bothered, or I’m uninspired, or unenthusiastic for 2023, plus it would be super legit to feel all those ways because the last few years have been eerr, A LOT. (as if you needed me to point that out). But because I feel so called to be in the fallow void that winter provides, rather than pushing into the pressure of perpetual activity and harvest. Incidentally, women are not designed to always be in go mode, we need rest and digest mode more than society would have us believe.

It's media spin and societal conditioning which seeks to keep us going at breakneck speed into everything we do, thanks for that patriarchy, another one of your gems! This conditioning reinforces a myriad of mind f*ck ways in which are encouraged to tackle January:

Dry January Be fully sober for a month after a whole December, being encouraged by supermarket advertising to fall into an oblivion of Baileys and party snack infused excess. Does that sound like balance to you? Or does that sound like swinging from one opposing extreme to another? This ex-party girl knows how to do extreme indulgence and extreme abstaining and I am familiar with the feels that arise with spaces of excess and abstention.

If we are giving up alcohol, we need to give ourselves space and support to notice and process what emotions arise in any period of sobriety.

Hit The Gym Hard! The ‘go hard or go home’ old skool PE Teacher attitude raises its head each new year. After a good couple of weeks in close relationship with our sofas, the harder, stronger, faster training method is not a fabulous way to get back into our movement groove post Crimbo. Plus, don’t get me started on how physically detrimental harder, stronger, faster exercise can be for us girls who are due our period. If like me you are due your bleed in the first couple of weeks of January, consider yoga and long walks in the days before your bleed.

Food I’m not going to spend much time on this one, but does it sound familiar that this is the time of year we are supposed to quit 'junk food' forever? Maybe before going cold turkey it would be compassionate to ponder what has us pick up those foods, noticing the beliefs that drive our behaviours around food.

Extremes are peddled to us at this time of year. Plus, we are exposed to the reductionist approach to health which sees people separate the needs of mind and body, rather than a holistic approach to being healthy and kind to ourselves.

Whole-istic is how I like to relate to that word. Wholeism lets us view and experience our existence as a symphony of systems all working together for our health. A holistic approach is when we acknowledge the inextricable connection of mind and body- the oneness of who we are.

What would a whole-istic approach to end of year/new year look like? I think you probably already have ideas. These are my whole-istic riffings…

Choosing new, new year activities that you ACTUALLY want to do, not because your mate wants you to go with her, not because that wellness influencer does it, not because any sense of guilt or shame says you should be doing it. If that means quitting hot yoga in favour of slow flow in an average temperature room, go for it! Or maybe it means trying out hot yoga; you do you!

Notice if guilt, pressure, overwhelm or shame are colouring your choices of anything from how to celebrate (or not) new years, or saying yes when you really mean Hell No, or keeping the real shiny you dimmed down to make other people comfortable. Do your choice of activities and general approach to life stem from a need to prove you are enough, or prove you are not too much?

Sign your self-written permission slip to stay in the winter void. Perhaps try some Yoga Nidrā to support dropping into liminal space. Have a peek at Yoga Nidra on my Yoga website.

Spend some time to note down or explore your top 3 2022 moments/achievements/ progresses and give yourself a Hell Yeah for the journey you are on. Here’s a Hell Yeah from me too!

Reflection is digestion. Digestion allows us to make space for the things we want next. Our physical digestion is SO influenced by how we digest and assimilate experiences, emotions and memory, as well as food. In Reiki, the belly as the seat of digestion, is called The Golden Stove-know that pausing to digest life helps to stoke the glowing belly coals.

Back to pressure, guilt, overwhelm and shame. If you recognise these 4 horsemen are having undue influence on your life, this is a sign that healing is yours for the taking. Find a therapist who can help you heal and digest these patterns. Psst, Reiki and yoga practice help a whole lot with digestion.

Enjoy your time in the Winter cocoon. Wishing you a WHOLE lot of whole-istic health for 2023. xx

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