Updated: Jan 19
The new year is here and just like the beginning of every new year, the pressures of New Year's resolutions and becoming “the new you” is also prevalent. Here’s the thing though - our New Year falls in the middle of winter and winter is the time for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation. Forcing a pattern of ‘doing’ during this time goes against our natural state, the nature of our being, of our human being, and as the beginning of 2023 unfolds it’s important to not only be aware of this but to also hold intention and allow ourselves grace in these first few months of the year.
Just as a bear hibernates in the winter, as trees lose their leaves and go into a dormant state, our bodies also follow a natural circadian rhythm. These rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral; affecting our hormones, sleep patterns, digestion, energy, mood, and even body temperature. Seasons also affect our circadian rhythm as does light from our phones. Trying to start something new in a period of rest and healing is going to feel more burdensome, heavy and harder to complete than if started in a time of peak energy that is in sync with nature, i.e. Spring when the trees and flowers bloom, when life flourishes once again.
Even the history of the calendar itself gives clues to why some of us feel so off during these first couple of months of each year - or at least until the Spring Equinox in March. If you look at September, October, November and December - septem in Latin means seven, oct is eight (octagon, ocho means eight in Spanish), nove, nov, nueve, mean nine, and dec means ten. So why are these the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th months of the year instead of the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th? In 153 BCE the Roman Senate changed the calendar to include twelve months instead of ten, adding January and February to the beginning of the year. This means prior to that the new year actually started in March - which would make more sense for our circadian rhythm to have a new beginning in March when Spring is here and nature begins its new year as well (at least in the northern half of the world).
The Gregorian calendar we use today was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and is based on the solar year, or how long it takes Earth to complete a full rotation around the sun. The lunar calendar is based on 12 full cycles of the moon but doesn’t stay aligned with the seasons and is 354 days compared to the 365-day solar calendar. What’s extremely interesting here is that many of the world’s major religions use a calendar based at least in part, if not solely on the lunar calendar. Even the Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar falling on the first New Moon, this year being the 22nd of January. (It’s also called the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival). Celebrations last up to 16 days with preparations starting 7 days prior and a Lantern Festival being held 5 days after. That’s a total of 28 days welcoming in the New Year and celebrating the arrival of Spring as compared to our 2-day celebration of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to which we throw ourselves into the pressures of doing, progressing, and changing right after that. All this to say - if you haven’t decided what your New Year’s resolution is, what your word of the year is, or even what you’re looking forward to this year - that’s completely okay - and is actually very natural.
Some fun facts about 2023:
Numerology for 2023 is a 7, meaning this is a year of magnetism, personal growth, and spiritual reflection. While 2022 was a 6 and focused on your relationships with others, this year is about going inwards, breaking patterns, and your relationship with yourself.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, predicted to be a year of hope as the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.
The color of 2023, according to numerology, is violet or lilac. Violet is directly related to the number 7 and, according to color therapy, is associated with calmness, harmony, tranquility, protection, and self-knowledge.
How can I make the most of these first few months of 2023 with the intention of gentle progress?
Rest - It’s important to remember in this phase that rest and stillness is not necessarily static. Your periods of rest can still include activity but these activities should fill you, not drain you. It’s rest for your soul. Rest from the cortisol and stress you put yourself through when living in survival mode. Rest can absolutely include sleep too - it’s a quiet time for you to connect with you, whatever that may look like.
Reflect - How are you doing? How are you feeling? Take a moment and close your eyes. Connect to your breath. Try box breathing for a few minutes (inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4. Repeat.) Grab a fresh journal and just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. How was 2022 for you? What do YOU want for you? What makes you happy? …Not others, what feeds your soul and are you making time for that? If you feel like you don’t have enough time to focus on you, try this: make a list of everything you do in a week and be honest. Don’t leave anything out. Next, rate each item 1-10, 1 being the lowest amount of joy you get out of that item and 10 being the most joy that item gives you. Now, look at all the items you rated a 5 or below. Can you delegate those items this year? Can you cut them out of your routine? If they have to be done, can you consolidate them into one day a week, focus and just knock them out? This is a great exercise to do about every 6 months to help keep a pulse on your self-care.
Prepare - Create a vision board. Put images to what you wrote down during reflection that you want more of, that you want to add, or that maybe you want to bring into your field of being. Use emotion during this process and don’t rush it. Vision boards can take weeks to complete. Put some music on and feel into what you are bringing into your reality this year. Create it from a place of being, of already having the elements included on your board instead of a place of lack or wanting. When complete, hang your vision board up where you see it every day.
Another fun idea to try this year: create a jar and place a small pad of paper next to it. Write down any moment you feel excited, proud, or happy.. This could be finishing a book, getting a promotion, getting 8 hrs of sleep, seeing a friend you haven’t in a while - just any moment you felt joy. Write it down, fold the paper up and place it in the jar. In December (or the beginning of next year) empty the jar out and read all your moments of joy during reflection.
From all of us at Rivvly, we hope you have a gentle, joyous, and abundant 2023!