The holidays are drawing to a close for this year, and another year is about to begin. The last few weeks have been full of gatherings and gifting, festivities and ice skating, lights and music — and I, for one, am ready for a couple of days to unwind, slow down and set some intentions for the coming year.
A dear friend of mine is implementing some new, intentional habits for staying grounded in the present for 2024, including following seasonal shifts. I love this so much, partly because of the awareness it requires of Nature’s changes through the months.
This kind of intentionality also speaks to me because of the innate positivity it requires to continually be pulling the mind back to the present. Rather than dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future, being grounded in the present requires focusing on the here and now — regardless of past regrets, and before worries over the future develop. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it like this:
“[T]omorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day … is too dear with its hopes and invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.”
He was really into something with this, too. Research shows that intentionally starting your day with something positive — gratitude, a walk, music, or whatever brings you joy — sets the tone for the rest of your day. This can be harder than we think, though, with the relentless cycle of news that we can’t escape constantly accosting us on our phones, laptops, and radios. I really want to be intentional, though, so I have started planning some new-to-me ways to ground myself in the present, including:
• Creating playlists of positive music
• Gathering journaling and sketching supplies
• Making a charging station outside of my bedroom so I don’t immediately look at a screen when I wake up
• Planning coffee dates with friends so I have them to look forward to
• Curating cozy spaces in our home for reading and creating
• Organizing my TBR (To Be Read) pile to include positive reads
To kick off the new year, I usually enjoy putting away the holiday decorations, and resetting our home for the new semester, but I am worn out this year. I saw a meme the other day that mentioned the lull between the holidays and this resetting as “Nestimas”, or a day of rest to focus on being home. I love this, so this weekend will be my “Nestimas” observance before I dive into resetting our home and schedules for next semester. Then, I will ground myself with some intentional practices — and enjoy the excuses they will provide for acquiring new pens and books and for staring out of windows.
Tabitha Bozeman lives in Gadsden with her family and teaches English at Gadsden State Community College, where she is the editor-in-chief of the Cardinal Arts Journal. The opinions expressed in this column are her own. Tabitha may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.