I used to think that the New Year was the only time to start over. While it can be a good time to make a major change in your life, it is not the only time you can choose to be a better you. Each new month or even new week can be a time to restart. We need more than one time a year to recharge and rechannel our energy. New Year’s resolutions often fail in January and become a distant thought by March. We end up disappointed if we did not lose a certain number of pounds or follow through with a gym membership, finish a diet, repair a particular relationship, learn a new skill, save more money, get the new job etc. I’m tired of beating myself up for not achieving every single one of my resolutions. This year, I am choosing to be aware of what I do have and focus on gratitude instead. I like who I’m becoming and want to be more aware of my blessings this up coming year. I challenge you to do the same. By being consciously aware of all that you have in your life, you can improve almost every situation you’re in. Don’t think of it as a new you, but an improved you.
With a new decade comes even more pressure to have even bigger and better resolutions. I want to assure you that gratitude and developing/using affirmations are the best changes you can add to your routine for an improved life. Choose to be thankful for one thing each day or up to ten things each day, whatever makes the most sense to you. Maybe choose to make a list at the end of the week or month. I was gifted a New Year’s gratitude journal a few years ago and didn’t fill out more than two pages. Even that was too much pressure. However, this year (and decade) I am taking that pressure away. Even if I just say to myself what I am thankful for each day, tell someone close to me, or write it on a sticky note, that will be enough. The feeling I get when telling a friend ‘I’m so happy we’re catching up and having dinner together’, outweighs anything negative that happened to me that week. As silly as it sounds, even stress from school is a privilege. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to college or graduate school, so stressing over exams isn’t the worst thing you could stress about.
As a nurse (or any healthcare provider), we have the privilege of taking care of people in their most fragile state. For the most part, our health is intact and we have a job that pays well. No matter how tired, we get to come home to our families after work. Our patients on the other hand, may spend the night in the hospital without their parents, parents may wonder how they will pay for the hospital bills, some may be newly diagnosed with a chronic illness, and some may be at the end stage of their illness. We are likely seeing them during the most difficult part of their lives. This is especially hopefully true for our littlest ones. I don’t say this to compare yourself to people in crisis or serious situations, but to be thankful for all you do have; most importantly, your health. If there is no other change you make in the New Year, make it a priority to remember all that you were given.
10 things I am grateful for in 2019:
- Reuniting with old friends. I took the leap and reached out to friends who I lost contact with years ago. I am extremely glad these women are back in my life and couldn’t imagine my life going forward without them.
- Starting yoga again. I stopped after undergrad and am glad to have found such a welcoming, inclusive, inspiring, and impressive studio. It’s DYL!!
- Whale watching with my mom in Mexico. Enough said.
- Seeing Hamilton. It was on my bucket list and it lived up to absolutely everything said about it!
- Spending my birthday in Traverse City. I went to my favorite wineries with my favorite people and parasailed for the first time since I was 18.
- Going to Sicily with my uncle and cousins. I am reminded why I am grateful for my uncle almost every day, but these trips make me just even more grateful to be alive. The boat rides and swimming with Mount Etna in the background made up for my jellyfish sting on our 1st day haha.
- Purchasing a car. I’ve driven a lease jeep since I was 16 so it was a huge accomplishment to finally buy one of my own (also shout out to my dad for guiding me through the whole process).
- Surviving my 1st acute care clinical. I was in a pediatric ED and pleased with the confidence I gained and all that I learned.
- The health of myself, friends, and family.
- Starting my blog. I was hesitant about writing again and making my posts public for everyone to judge. However, I’m so glad I overcame this fear and here we are 😊
I encourage you to create a similar list of ten (or more) things you are grateful for in 2019. Share it on Facebook or read it aloud to your family and friends. Make a list together or keep it private. Let’s also share positive new stories that show the good around the world and in other people. Start your New Year and new decade with a grateful heart and peaceful mind!
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life,” -Rumi.