Dr. Colleen Reichmann here! I wanted to pop by the ‘ol blog to talk about new years resolutions. I’ll be super transparent- I’m feeling a little scattered heading into 2024. In some ways, I feel like I am holding so much hope for this coming year. Last year at this time, I was running on fumes with a one year old and a two year old. Now they are two and three (almost four!) things have *finally* started to feel what one might call- manageable. (Survivable?) Still exhausting, but not “I’m crying as I make this pot of coffee and I am scared to drive” exhausting, you know?
But in other ways, I feel more unsure and uncertain of all of the things than I ever have. The world feels truly terrifying right now. I was reminded of my all-consuming climate change anxiety when I walked outside to another rainy 55-degree-late-December-day-in-Pennsylvania early this morning. And a quick scroll through social media brings ups gut wrenching truths about the undeniable horrors that are occurring in the world right now. It just feels like a uniquely scary time to be alive, and I know so many of you share in my experience of holding of both grief and joy in this season. It feels hard to be sure of anything right now.
Resolution Season is Upon Us All (SOS)
One thing that I am sure of? New years resolution season tends to bring up a lot for folks. After an already emotional holiday season, we are now being bombarded with messaging about green juice cleanses, weight loss goals, and movement intentions for the new year. It’s the same exhausting thing every damn year.
As per usual, my goal is to reject this messaging while leaning into gentle intentions for this coming year. My own three intentions for 2024 are to nurture relationships with chosen family (especially with the divine women and femmes in my life), lean into rejecting standard (neuronormative) views around parenting and tap into my own mothering intuition, and work to embrace complexity and duality (holding joy and grief, rest and moving forward, incredible fear and relentless hope.)
AND- while I don’t know much for sure about this year, but I can say one thing with certainty: The last thing we need right now is pressure from diet culture to start this year off with weight loss. SO, with this in mind, here are five counter culture resolutions! (Drum roll please…..)
5 New Year’s Resolutions That Have Nothing to Do With Your Weight-2024 Edition
- Call a friend at least once a week-yes call! Pick up the phone. And talk for at least 8 minutes. An article in the New York Times heralded the importance of the 8 minute call- not enough time to overwhelm us, but just enough to feel connected. Also, phone calls are emotionally regulating (vs texts, which have not been shown to provide any regulatory effects.)
- Begin to unpack your fat phobia. A tough one, I know. But if you want to heal your relationship with your body and food, you will need to understand and unpack your biases. Don’t beat yourself up about being fat-phobic-if you were raised in this culture, you have internalized fat phobia. It is that insidious, so it is that simple-we all have it. The real work starts when you acknowledge that, and then ask “now what?” You’ll also need to acknowledge the role that thin privilege may be playing/has played in your life. You’ll need to constantly ask yourself, where did these thoughts come from? Who profits off of them? Ultimately, this is an important step towards joining the social justice movement against fat oppression
- Find a new hobby-always been interested in knitting? Buy the needles. Get that yarn. Give it a go. Hobbies are important to our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Find something to lose yourself in.
- Keep a gratitude journal. One thing you are grateful for at the end of each day-one sentence. That’s all this takes. The life-changing benefits of gratitude are pretty well documented, so it’s worth a try!
- Develop a night time ritual. Night time routines have been shown to positively impact our quality of sleep and overall mood. Once 8pm hits, light the lavender candle and crack open the non-educational book. Or turn on the soothing music and rub some essential oil on your neck. OR turn off the phones and engage in some reflective listening/cuddling with your partner. Your optimal routine/ritual is going to be completely individualized and unique. It just needs to work for YOU. Aim for 8 hours of sleep (research shows that women actually optimally function at around 9, so keep that in mind.)
There ‘ya have it. Five resolutions that revolve around emotional health and inner growth. What a relief it will be to shift our focus onto these higher-purpose goals. Remember, as Glennon Doyle told us, your body is not your masterpiece. It is the paintbrush that you will use to create your masterpiece. These goals-these are parts of your masterpiece. Now go use your paintbrush and get to working on your unique works of art. Cheers to 2024, friends.
By: Colleen Reichmann, clinical psychologist, founder of Wildflower Therapy
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Other Mental Health Services Provided by Wildflower Therapy, Philadelphia, PA
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