relaxation

How to make your resolutions work

The year is almost over!! To me, it isn’t really hard to say goodbye, it was a difficult year in many aspects, but also a year that taught me so much about myself! Who I am, what is really important to me, what I needed to change. And I found out on a very personal level that change isn't easy (wanted or unwanted). And it's even harder when you don't have the energy to experiment new things. 

What I also found is that real change can only come from within, supported by our deepest motivation. It all starts with a wish, a desire, a longing... but for what? I learned that having clarity on what I want, and more importantly, what I truly needed, was pivotal to turn things around.

So, I'll start the new year with much more clarity on the things I would like to accomplish, and what I want to bring into my life. That empowered mindset makes me much more confident that I will reach my goals.

I stated some powerful resolutions that are aligned with my heart, body, and Soul.

What are resolutions? Wishes and dreams, goals and plans. In short, resolutions are about changes we want to make.

Having navigated many changes in all areas of my own life, as well as supporting my patients in their journey after a diagnosis or illness when I was still in the medical field, and working as a project manager on implementing complex operational changes, I have seen up close what worked and what didn't work when it comes to change.

I would like to share some thoughts about resolutions with you, to explain why they usually fail and how to approach things differently.

When you ask people about their resolutions, you usually get 3 types of response. 

  1. Well, I should quit [X] so that's what I'm gonna try. Between the brackets are things like [smoking, drinking, shopping, spending, eating chocolate, overeating, ...].

  2. Well, I should start [Y] so I'm going to do that. Between the brackets are things like [moving, running, eating healthy, being there for my family, a project, ...].

  3. Resolutions? I don't have any because they don't work anyway.

The core feelings behind those responses are:

  1. guilt

  2. guilt

  3. cynicism, defeat

Not very positive. 

This is exactly why resolutions like this usually don't work. They are stated while we are in a restrictive or judgemental emotional state. We believe we are doing something wrong and we try to fix ourselves. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with ambition, setting goals and trying to be the better version of ourselves. But, it's important to know what that version is and whether it suits us.

Usually, the wish for change comes from a sense of urgency. Things go wrong, we don't like the results we are getting. And that leads to stress. Our systems are built to eliminate stress immediately. And the way we are wired, it leads to behavior that temporarily decreases stress -> eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, checking our phones, ... 

Oops. 

The things causing us stress, are the same things we go to as a temporary stress release. And we know it. That's where the guilt creeps in, the 'shoulds', the inner critical voice. We punish ourselves with restrictive measures (causing stress) and we call it a resolution - "I am going to be a better version of myself without this behavior. I should ... "

We humans have stress on a daily basis and we have needs on a daily basis. We want to feel safe, supported and loved. However, during our lifetimes we taught ourselves to get positive feelings through external things. Self-soothing is a lie... We don't self-soothe, we externally-look-for-soothing. We fall into the trap of feeling good for a short while though unwanted and destructive behavior, causing stress and in the long run, not giving us what we are longing for.

It's a vicious cycle. Or a downward spiral. See how this will never work?

How would it be when we were able to shift our perspective and look within to find what we need? To give the love, care, and support to ourselves? To break the cycle in a different, lasting way? To spiral up an up towards the things you truly want?

When you create change by adding restorative practices, you will decrease stress and enhance relaxation. This creates so much more space to invite new things into your life! 

To create lasting changes, you need space and clarity on your deepest motivation and your true needs.

To help you state powerful intentions that are aligned with your heart, body, and Soul, and the energies of the January New Moon, I created a 9-day online program, the WinterLight Wellness Week.

You can find more information about WinterLight HERE.

The productivity myth - why taking a break is vital for your health

The productivity myth - why taking a break is vital for your health

Rest and recovery is vital for our health. Why is taking a break so hard for us? This article gives you insight on the productivity myth, the way we are conditioned to always work and achieve to be successful, how rest is associated with doing nothing, and why that is a lie. We need down-time to prevent burnout, exhaustion, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, and other depletion syndromes.

Full Moon in Cancer - 1st January 2018

For the US and Canada, this Full Moon will be on January 1st, 2018, on a Monday (Moon Day!), such potent timing! For Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, this will be on January 2nd. 

The Full Moon is when the Sun and Moon are opposite to each other and the Moon reflects back the light of the Sun to the Earth. This is a time of harvesting and full bloom. Harvesting? This feels contradictory to the new beginnings of the year 2018, right? 

It is, and I will explain this in more detail below.

The Sun is in Capricorn, the sign of authority, hard work, perseverance and financial security and the Moon will be in Cancer, the sign of nurturing motherly love, and emotional security. 

These two ways of security can easily be mixed up and mixing an Earth sign (Capricorn) with a Water sign (Cancer) will give you... exactly, mud. Difficult territories to plow through, marshes to get lost in.

This confusing line-up makes you acutely aware where your insecurities and uncertainties are. Sun in Capricorn is how we show ourselves to the world. We act, make choices and set goals aligned with what we know others want from us (our parents, school systems, mentors, teachers, government systems, banking, social structures, churches). It is the way we are programmed to feel secure, safe and self-reliant because when we act in accordance with 'the rules', we are taught to be safe and guarded. It is the socially acceptable behavior we need to uphold to succeed in life.

The Moon in Cancer stirs our deepest emotions around emotional security. We want to be seen for who we really are, and unconditionally loved! But to show to the world who we really are is scary... we fear rejection, punishment, or the loss of jobs, bonuses, love, community... All leading to insecurity and confidence issues.

This creates so much tension! 

We want to be safe, but we also want to be authentic and loved.

However, as long as we are trying to externally validate ourselves, we will never be able to live authentic lives.

The challenge is to be your own authority. To love yourself unconditionally for who you are. To make choices for yourself that sustain YOU and create the life YOU want. To do the things that make you feel happy, relaxed, abundant, loved, healthy, special, open, effortless, alive, nourished... 

There is no authority but yourself.

You are in charge. You can choose whatever you want. You don't have to be afraid. This is what the Full Moon in Cancer wants to tell you, that is what you can access now. The harvest of your personal journey over the last few months shows you what is important to you and who you really are. The truth has surfaced and now you can make aligned choices.

You can create everything you are longing for when you know what you are longing for and what you truly need.

This year, resolutions stated at the beginning of the year are not as powerful as they could be. Ideally, intention setting is most powerful at the New Moon (just after Dark Moon).

During the next two weeks, now that the stressful busy holidays are over, take some time for yourself to think about and feel into your resolutions, plans and goals before you plunge yourself into the new year and burn out on restrictive resolutions (diets, sports regimes, socially 'acceptable' behaviour, not doing ...) that come from guilt, stress, fear, or 'shoulds'. 

The next New Moon will be on January 16/17th. To create intentions for this New Moon, aligned with your goals, your needs, and deepest motivation, you need clarity first. Only then your intentions and resolutions have transformative power. Make sure to add self-care rituals into your day as well.