New Year, New You

Certain times of the year can prompt us to review our lives. It may be a new year, an anniversary, a significant birthday that motivates us to pause awhile and reflect on where we are, on what we’ve done with our lives and what we’d like our next steps to be. For some this could be a pleasurable few moments of reflection. We’ve achieved much of what we aimed for, have good relationships, lovely children, a successful career, good quality of life and we can smile, feeling proud and content.

But for others this reflection can result in an, ‘is this it?’ response, followed by perhaps feeling stuck in a rut, trapped by circumstances and unsure what next steps might be available. A variety of constraints and limitations, fear of rocking the boat and the potential impact of changes may immediately stop further thoughts. Daily life often means we have too much on with work, balancing our finances, the responsibilities of children and family as well as maybe religious concerns to prompt further investigation.

Postponing any changes for several years may seem to be the only possible course of action, but dedicating time to thoroughly considering our situation may raise other possibilities, rather than simply becoming resigned to saying, ‘I’ll wait till the children are older’, or suchlike.   

A new year can bring a new you who assesses life by not only acknowledging what’s happening as well as what’s not happening and then reviews ways to improve the situation. Taking ownership, exploring possible steps, how to move on, where to start can be a valuable outcome from a break or retreat.

Everyday life rarely allows enough time to devote to serious ‘meaning of life’ considerations. There’s scarcely time to breathe, let alone explore different options, decide it’s time to leave an unsatisfactory relationship, walk away from a well-paying job or move to the countryside and become self-sufficient! Any musings will frequently be interrupted because the laundry basket needs attention, it’s time to log onto the laptop or go and collect the children.

So creating an opportunity and booking a few days away for a weekend break or retreat can be an important commitment to yourself. Setting aside time to grieve, recover from a breakup, heal after a change in circumstances or have some space after a hectic time or period of illness provides an interlude for reflection. Are we at a crossroads, what direction should we now head in? Finding answers to these questions can be a valuable investment of a few days on a retreat.

Simply providing yourself with an opportunity for reflection on possible changes and adjustments can help to improve your perspective and doesn’t automatically necessitate major upheaval. Afterwards you may find you return to your day-to-day life with a calmer, healthier attitude, feeling settled and in a better place. A retreat can offer space for you to positively readjust your viewpoint and become more flexible and tolerant. Gaining insights helps you feel better able to introduce minor changes that make life more pleasant for everyone.

An individual retreat often gives you time to dedicate to your physical and mental health and wellbeing, to focus on specific issues and concerns, perhaps through individual sessions which address nutrition, health and wellbeing. Personalised yoga, massage, fitness classes as well as counselling, hypnotherapy and coaching are all available.

A group retreat dedicates time to discussions and workshops, exploring with others ways to handle wider-reaching concerns, like stress, post-divorce, assertiveness, as each attendee is invited to share their coping strategies. It can be a positive start to discover that other people have similar problems in their lives.

Taking that first step is often the most significant decision of all. Determining that something needs to change and finding ways to implement some or even all can be a wonderful start to a great new year and a new you.



Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

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