Reflections on an Old Year
Another year ending. Another year beginning.
This year has been incredibly tough for me. The end of 2016 saw me through a Graves flare that left me starting 2017 bouncing around between highs and lows, a Hashimotos confirmation, an uncomfortable and demoralizing weight gain, and severe depression.
I have been reeling in the aftermath the whole rest of this year. Though I am now feeling a little more “settled”, I was definitely left shaken, afraid, and frankly a little lost. After the “Winter from Hell”, I was determined to take charge of myself. I took a semester off, and with help from a lovely mentor, I somehow managed to manifest a job, and a new apartment. Instead of only writing out my sorrows, I started writing down what I was grateful for and what I felt was needed to get back to myself. I got rid of a bunch of clothes that I’d been waiting to fit back into for too long – instead of bemoaning my weight, I started trying to work with it instead (not easy, I have to admit). I got out in nature as much as I could, and soaked up all the sunshine, vitamin D and vitamin “sea”. It all helped tremendously, and each new goal helped me gain a little part of myself back from the shadows.
I still have a lot of work to do to get my feet firmly planted beneath me again – my thyroid levels are still low, I’m on two medications, my energy is hit or miss, I have made only partial peace with my new weight, and my chocolate-cravings are other-worldly haha! But I am on my way, and I realize that every time life trips me up, it is so that I can learn some lessons and gain trust in myself and my own abilities. It is true that you can be over-confident, and it is also true that you can be over-cautious!
Reflections are important to see the bigger picture. Despite the hellish beginning and aftermath, it really was not a horrible year all round: I got to visit home for a month (after 2 years away) and saw my family, friends, and visited some old haunts. I took the difficult step to rekindle a lost friendship. I participated in some awesome projects with the outstanding AIP blogging community (keep an eye out in 2018 for more!). I moved us out of our dingy little apartment and into a beautiful bright one, and I got a job with one of the loveliest teams of amazing people ever. I got in lots of nature time with my soul sister, and completed my first independent clinic of my Holistic Nutrition degree, which felt amazing.
You can always find the light in the shadows if you throw a little reflection at it…
If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s that I truly can survive this disease and these tough times, and I am going to do everything in my power to do so with gratefulness and intention. I am a strong-ass lady who has made it thus far, and can only become wiser and stronger! Bring it on, 2018!
Intentions for a New Year
I don’t often go in on setting intentions at New Years, but after this year was such a struggle, I think a reset is necessary! In order to make sure 2018 doesn’t kick my butt quite so hard, and because you can never be too prepared, here is what I will be doing to ensure I can get through whatever lies ahead. My intentions for 2018 include: cultivating independence, garnering grace, and raising my current potential to a new level of joy and contentment.
Breathe — This is my top trick for getting through tough moments. Intentional breath work has been shown to instantly reset the brain, calm anxiety, lend new focus, and ground the body’s energy. This means that no matter how high up in your head you get, you can always land back on your feet with a simple deep breath or two. There are many techniques for this; my favourite being an adaptation of this.
Walk it Out — Time in nature has been proven a thousand times over to benefit the human body in every possible way. Mental clarity, energy, appetite, depression and mood are all improved with a little nature experience. Interestingly, I feel less alone when I walk alone in the woods or simply sit by the ocean. The world goes on turning despite my problems, and that is incredibly comforting for me. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start! What do you experience when you’re in nature?
Call a Friend — Living 5000km away from friends and family can make life a little lonely sometimes. Why does it seem so hard to write or call? I always feel lighter after having a good chinwag with a dear friend, and I don’t feel so far away either. Connection may seem like a lot of work sometimes, but I can guarantee it is worth it! I am setting an intention that when I feel lonely or lost or frustrated, to simply call a loved one to set myself back on a lighter path right away. No point digging a hole if I don’t have to, right?
Try Something New — This may seem like a cliche, but I have found that changing a spiralling thought pattern can be as simple as doing something new. This can be as simple as getting off the couch and dancing in your underwear or cooking a new vegetable, or as challenging as taking a class in rock climbing or learning a new language. You set your own pace, and have fun with whatever you choose!
Nourish — As Louise Hay put it: “Nourishing myself is a joyful experience, and I am worth the time spent on my healing”. This doesn’t just mean nourishing with food (although we all know how important a nourishing meal can be when we’re having a rough day!). It also means nourishing through experiences, the people you keep close to you, and the energy you give out to the world. To be nourished is to feel absolutely content and satisfied, or to create that feeling in someone else. For me, this intention involves things like: meal prep, mindful eating, mindful breathing, sharing with those around me (like all of you!), bare feet on the earth, sunshine, gratefulness for the good as well as for the wisdom gained from the bad, standing up for my health, and putting my faith in ME.
With all that said, I now feel ready to say farewell to 2017, and to welcome 2018 with hope, contentment, and a steady focus. Here we go!
Happy New Year to all of you – I wish you the absolute best year yet, with excellent health, good cheer, grace and strength. You’ve got this!