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5 Tips to Start the New Year Off Right!

Two days after we ring in the New Year, I get to continue festivities as I celebrate my birthday a few short days after. This year, it’s a big one. The big 3-0! As I leave my 20s and look into 2022, I thought I would share some of my insights, mistakes, words of wisdom, and keys to resilience that have kept me going. A seasoned 29 year old, rider, therapist, daughter, sister, friend, I speak only from personal experience (and maybe a hint of professionalism). Take what you will!

Here are my 5 things you should carry with you into 2022!

1. Less hand.

Stop pulling! Yes I hear this all of the time from my trainer, but let’s talk about what I really mean. When riding we pull on the horses’ mouth as a form of a braking system. When you are not sure where you are to a jump (unsure of the distance), some riders go to their hand. I, personally, pull as if my life depends on it. I am VERY good at pulling! When we don’t know where we are, we need to stop pulling. Stop, stopping the forward momentum. If you do not know where you are in your life journey, what the next step should be or you are just unsure what to do next (i.e. you can’t see a distance), keep going. Do not stop the forward momentum, even if you don’t know where you are. Just keep going forward.

2. Say no.

Though I appreciate the “good vibes only” mentality, it is somewhat unrealistic. To perpetuate a continuous good mood or positive attitude is unrealistic to the human experience. We are humans and we feel every emotion. One thing you have the most control over in your existence as a human, is your behavior. Make choices in your behavior that suit you. Say no! Say, yes! With good intentions, an understanding of your own actions, beliefs and values make decisions that make YOU feel good on the inside. You cannot control how others around you act or what they say. But you can control what you do. So, do more! Or do less, whatever makes you feel good that day.

3. Ditch diet culture.

Your weight is the least interesting thing about you. I promise you that. Ditch diet culture and dive into intuitive eating. Read the book, listen to the podcast, chat with a professional and learn more about what it means to eat intuitively. As always, seek professional medical advice from your doctor or a dietitian before making any drastic changes to your diet. Starting with the mentality of nourishing your body, not depriving it, is a great first step. These body image positive influencers and mental health advocates are some of my favorites to follow on social media! Check them out!

Victoria Garrick (@victoriagarrick)

Tiffany Ima (@tiffanyima)

Shana Minei Spence (@thenutritiontea)

Mary Jelkovsky (@maryscupoftea)

Danyele Wilson (@danyelewilson)

4. Stop trying to prove yourself.

When therapists, psychologists, athletes, and coaches alike tell you to “get into the right mindset”, they are often referring to a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset. Challenging yourself to have a growth mindset in school, work, sports, etc. will enhance your performance and increase your resilience. So many benefits! One of my favorite concepts of the growth mindset is to think improve vs. prove. When you change your mindset to improve your self vs proving yourself, you allow for self-compassion and generate focus points of specific things you want to get better at, rather than having a perfectionist mentality.

5. Breathe.

There is a reason people continuously say “breathe” to calm down, why meditation has been around for as long as it has, and the practice of mindfulness. Because it works! There is no moment in anyone's life where you all of a sudden have it all figured out. You do not wake up one day and become at peace with the past and assured that you have the future 110% figured out. The only thing we have control over at any given moment is the present. Practice your ability to be in the present moment. This moment right now, is what you are guaranteed. Focus on your breath, bring in all of your senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, audio), and practice gratitude. Two of my favorite apps are Calm and Headspace, give them a try! You can do a minute of mindfulness or practice a 30 second breathing exercise. Trust me, it’s worth it!

See you at the ring!

~ Jenny

Jenny Swanson, LICSW

Phone: 508-494-1555

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