As we move further into 2020, we come to the end of a metaphorical chapter. A time for new beginnings, healthy routines and dare I say it – New Year Resolutions.
We all know that age-old tale: We make a resolution. We conquer said resolution for the first few weeks of January. We soon give up and the hopeful wishes of self-improvement become but a distant dream. This year it is not about a ‘new you’, it is the same you with a few more tools at your disposal. Self-parenting is the perfect combination of all things self-love and discipline, that are sure to get you achieving the promises you’re making to yourself this new year.
So, what is self-parenting? As an adult it is our responsibility to essentially raise ourselves. We must learn to meet all of our own needs, needs that may or may not have been met in childhood. From comforting ourselves in moments of difficulty to reassuring our more fragile and anxious self; we can use one part of our mind to speak to the other. A robust and measured counterweight to our bruised and childlike side. Though childhood is a one-off event in time, we know all too well that its effects endlessly reoccur throughout our life. Have you ever noticed your inner child coming forward most when you are feeling triggered? The 7-year-old us is still in there and we can learn to talk to it in a way to strengthen and mature it. Insufficient parenting can often weaken our ability to have healthy relationships, confidence, and the skill of extending nurture to ourselves. Reparenting is a very powerful tool and who better to parent ourselves than the expert in our own needs – us.
SELF DISCIPLINE & NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
While the metaphorical arm-around-the-shoulder side of self-parenting is very attractive, this skill is all about balance. Playing disciplinarian is absolutely crucial for keeping us on track when achieving our goals. With New Year’s Resolutions comes ritual development. Some of us were not taught simple and healthy rituals in childhood, so as we try to develop a consistent gym routine or early-wake up time for example, it is likely that we will be met with mental resistance. Change can be very overwhelming, so adopting ‘promises to self’ can be a great way to make this more manageable. Make one small promise each and every day to do something, despite what your mind says. Just watch how you develop discipline and go on to practice new rituals consistently.
SELF CARE, SELF LOVE
Promises to self do not have to be grand or spectacular, sometimes it really is about going back to basics. Show yourself love, by giving your mind and body the solid foundations and physical balance that it needs. These simple things can often be the most overlooked:
Sleep: Sleep is extremely healing and necessary for brain function and emotional wellness. It is a chance to recover from the mental and physical excursions faced in everyday waking life. Sleep disturbances are often one of the first signs of emotional distress. Good sleep hygiene is essential - put the screens down, avoid stimulants like caffeine and keep a regular sleep-and-wake schedule. Aromatherapy can be a great way to naturally relax. Our sense of smell can be powerful in realigning our nervous and endocrine systems, rendering the mind ready for a relaxing experience. Perfect pre-sleep.
Physical Activity: Regular physical activity is an investment in your mind and body. From increased self-esteem to the natural endorphin filled high, easing physical ailments to feeling mentally sharper, the benefits are endless. Simply meeting small exercise goals can create increased levels of self-worth and sense of achievement. Ultimately it serves as a great distraction in breaking the cycle of the negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
Nutrient-Dense Foods: You really are what you eat. Eating a nutrient-rich diet will positively influence your body’s auto regulating systems and help to control stress.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR EMOTIONS
Our thinking mind and thoughts contribute to a lot of our emotional experiences. Meditation allows us to develop a healthier relationship with our thinking, providing a strong base where we are able to navigate the inevitable highs and lows of life. If we can learn to separate ourselves from our thoughts, we can build confidence and control when choosing where to place our attention. Think of your thoughts as cars driving by your house on a busy road. You do not have to go outside and stop the traffic, you can simply observe the cars from a safe and quiet spot. Being observational with your thoughts but not being reactive, allows you to discover where you are lost in your mind and redirect your attention to where you choose.
Wherever you decide to focus your attention this new year if you are making promises to yourself that are rich in self-compassion and awareness, you are on track to an empathetic, disciplined and growth fuelled 2020.
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