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Why reflection is crucial, especially in 2021

There is no denying that it has been a big year for us all. Many of us have experienced significant changes to our daily routine, our relationships and our health. Due to this, many of us have been left grieving things that we have lost from our pre-covid life or future experiences we didn’t get to experience, or we have been able to reflect on new things in our life that we love. With any loss, or just simply change, there is a strong element of grief.

 

Many of us have not realised that what we are experiencing is in fact grief and is therefore creating a transition in our lives that is not in our control or potentially wanted. Many of us have mentally struggled through this year due to the loss of many things that defined our identity – our time with friends, our work, our exercise, our routines and more. This alone can leave us feeling out of touch with ourselves and our day to day and leave us unsure of how to move forward.

 

During these times of transition, taking time to reflect on how things are moving along and check in with whether we are moving into the direction that we want to be going is difficult. This could be due to a lack of time, an urgency to make quick decisions, hesitancy or scepticism of the benefit of reflecting or it simply not feeling like a priority. Many of us do, however, do this sort of reflection in the form of new year’s resolutions. However, there is incredible benefit to doing it more frequently or when it is intrinsically motivated by us and not externally with the novelty of resolutions.

 

A beneficial psychological therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy looks at what we call a Choice Point. These choice points are more easily navigated through being clear on how we want to be moving to our values and morals. Simply asking ourselves whether something will move us closer or further from where we want to be, helps us feel clear and confident in our decisions, habits, and behaviours.

 

So, as we start to progress towards the end of the year, the following prompts are some great ways focus on how we are moving forward to our Choice Points.

 

Reflection Prompts

  1. What aspects of the following areas do you want to carry from 2021 to next year? For example:
    • Relationships: being a support to friends, being present with my partner.
    • Physical Health: consistency with training routine, eating well.
    • Work: personal progression, flexibility.
    • Mental and Emotional Health: stress management.
  2. What is one way that you can manage this in the new year daily or weekly, even on a bad day/week? For example:
    • Relationships: text one friend every day saying “hope you are having a good week”.
    • Physical Health: move my body in some way (e.g., walking, exercise) every day, have convenient meals available.
    • Work: continue to work from home where possible, enrol in PD once a month.
    • Mental and Emotional Health: set time for self every week, even 15 minutes.
  3. What do you believe is no longer serving you? For example:
    • Relationships: friendships, needs not being met.
    • Physical Health: development of undesirable eating or training behaviours for yourself.
    • Work: over-working, stress.
    • Mental and Emotional Health: neglecting needs and engaging in things that take energy instead of building it.
  4. How can you appropriately move away from this? For example:
    • Relationships: set boundaries.
    • Physical Health: engage in supports, give yourself time and space to explore the deeper reasoning.
    • Work: integrate more stress management during the day, boundaries.
    • Mental and Emotional Health: take note of what situations/people are zapping energy from you and who builds it up.

 

Using Affirmations

When we have a go at implementing some of these changes, feelings of guilt may present. This may come up as we set boundaries at work, maybe pull away from certain types of training and prioritise more time for ourselves. In these initial stages, we look to developing our tools for distress tolerance e.g., meditation, reading, baking etc. Another way may be with affirmations (No, not the classic Instagram “I am strong, I am beautiful types”). Affirmations that resonate with us personally.

  • How my life feels is more important than how it looks
  • Doing my best will look different every day
  • Rest is productive
  • It is okay to be uncomfortable

 

Looking into how we actually go about implementing these things is very individualised work. In order to set boundaries, explore what emotionally serves us and what doesn’t, determine how we personally best implement habits we want to and how to be assertive in our communication is all very dependent on the person and their circumstances.

 

If you would like individualised support in these areas, get in contact with our Wellness Consultant Emma at emma@scienceoffitness.com.au and book in a chat.

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