Happy New Year!
I hope you had an incredible New Year’s weekend! Now that the festivities are over, how are you feeling? Are you excited for 2017? A bit anxious? If you’re like most people, new beginnings create a mixture of emotions. It can be fun to start a new year yet we can also feel the burden of things unfinished from the previous year. We often need to let go of certain things in our lives in order to make room for what we desire.
This will be my third consecutive year choosing not to drink for the month of January. I see it as a way to reset my system after over a month of holiday eating and drinking. It also forces me to be more mindful. Often drinking can become something we don’t think about. We drink to celebrate, we drink to mourn, we drink to stave off anxiety or loneliness, and often we drink as a way to distract ourselves from ourselves. It’s the ultimate self-medication. Feeling uneasy, upset, sad, angry, anxious, tired, uncomfortable? Here, have a drink! We don’t often stop to acknowledge what we are feeling or why. We don’t pause to contemplate what would help ease the tension (maybe a run, or a martial arts class, or a massage, or a cup of tea), we usually, almost unconsciously, reach for a drink (or food, or the credit card, or some other drug that has become our preferred method of self-medication).
When we consciously choose to cut something out of our lives for a designated period of time, it is like throwing away the crutch that we’ve been using to limp along throughout the year. Without the crutch, we have to learn to stand on our own two feet. This often means learning to sit through different emotional states without trying to mask it. No matter what we are going through, the only way over it is through it. When we remove our default distraction, we are left to deal with ourselves. This can be uncomfortable for many of us.
My first year doing Drynuary, I also gave up caffeine and sugar. It was challenging. It made me realize how much I relied on these substances. It also taught me to sit with my emotions. When I did that, I noticed they actually passed much more quickly than when I tried to use a substance to deal with them. Removing the crutch gives you your power back. You are not at the whims of your emotions and you do not need to numb yourself from them. By simply acknowledging them and being willing to honor the lesson inherent in them, we become more confident – we know we will be ok whatever emotion gets stirred up.
Maybe alcohol isn’t your thing. What is your preferred method of distracting yourself? It could be social media. Maybe giving up social media for January is what you need to reset your system. I encourage you to consider giving up something this month – something that is a bit challenging for you to give up because it is so ingrained in how you do life. Taking some time off from these distractions allows us a fresh perspective. We get to see ourselves and our lives in a new way. That, to me, is a great way to start the new year.
I encourage you to join me in giving up something this month. When we give up something, we often end up adding something new to our lives. This could be a clearer mind, better health, better relationships, more productivity, better sleep, better sex, better finances.
I’ll be posting in my FB group, The Courageous Life, each day to share my 30-day experience. I’d love to have you there as well. There is power in not doing this alone. Being a part of a supportive community helps us stay on the path, especially when it gets challenging (like day 4! ha!) Share what you are letting go of this month and updates on how you progress on your journey. I’ll be there rooting for you!
To an incredible 2017,