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My one word: January check-in

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

My word of the year for 2022 is:

nourish

You can find out more about how and why I chose it here.

It seems appropriate to split my focus into seven areas that I want to nourish, which I might add to later if necessary. These are body, mind, soul, environment, relationships, time, and creativity.

For body, the focus will be on sleep/rest, healthy food, hydration, exercise, and style.

For mind: challenges, learning/development, letting go of negative thoughts, meditation, and decluttering.

For soul: activities that feed and inspire, such as art, literature and nature.

For environment: home, garden, and mental environment.

For relationships: family, friends, and myself.

For time: slowing down, planning and scheduling, setting seasonal intentions, thinking before committing, and using it wisely.

For creativity: writing, creative journalling, art, dancing, knitting, sewing, and crafts.

These aren’t discrete areas though; there is copious overlap. Take dancing, which I have placed under creativity but which really embraces all categories: it is exercise, learning figures challenges my mind, the experience feeds my soul, I am working within a specific environment that I need to be mindful of, it is a social activity that depends on working with others, it is a way of nourishing my time, and it requires creativity. So although I thought I might focus on a specific area each month, I soon realised it wasn’t as straightforward as that.

In what ways did I nourish my life in January.

I’ve had many days when I have eliminated sugar from my diet and I’ve also cut down on alcohol. For 18 months, I cut out sugar completely and felt much more ‘balanced’ so I know this is a worthwhile goal to pursue, which gets easier with time. I haven’t managed to exclude this completely this month but I have made some inroads. Last year from 1st January I went for 133 days without alcohol. Again, after a while, I didn’t miss it. I’m not going for a total ban but instead want to be more mindful about when I drink. I’ve also reverted to my habit of starting the day with a herbal tea instead of a coffee and have been generally increasing the amount of water I drink. I have a well-established near daily yoga practice, which has become an essential part of my life and now that places are opening up again, I have returned to modern jive, ballroom and Latin dancing. I’m also doing zumba but have dropped the line dancing as I wasn’t enjoying the music (too much country and not enough pop for me) – making this decision was guided by nourishing my time. In the past, I would have been tempted to continue despite not being entirely satisfied; now, I know there are other more fulfilling ways of spending this time.

I’ve also worked on freeing up my mind of its mental clutter by listing all those niggling admin tasks that I’ve been putting off for a long, long time and working through them. I’ve cancelled some subscriptions I no longer wanted, submitted my tax return, organised cheaper broadband, and am noting in my planner tasks I need to do, calls to make, and items I need to follow up on. I want to keep on top of things and free up my mind by not leaving them until the last minute. So far this has made a huge impact and is a burden relieved. It is also a way of nourishing my time because when these chores are under control, I am free to focus on more pleasurable activities without that constant nagging at the back of mind that something else requires attention.

As another way of nourishing my time, I am slowing down and delving deeper into my reading, looking at analyses and watching videos of writers talking about their novels. I’m not racing to finish one book and start the next, and where I have something to read by a certain date, I’m allowing plenty of time to complete it without the pressure of having to rush.

It’s been a lovely start to the year with the birth of my first grandchild on 10th January. My daughter has recently moved 30 miles away and so I’m setting aside time to visit them every couple of weeks and enjoy this special time. I read somewhere that having a grandchild is like having your own child over again but without the birth process – and somewhat unbelievably I’ve found that it’s true! I feel the same bond with him as I felt when I had my own children!

I feel happy with the way I have been nourishing my life in January. It hasn’t been perfect: I’ve had a few chocolate binges and sleep-disturbed nights; I haven’t done much art journalling or any creative writing. But when I feel myself getting cranky and veering off-track, I stop, take stock and ask myself what I need to do to nourish myself and my life.

And this has given me a far better start to the year than I would usually have.

My word for 2022

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

For the past couple of years, I have chosen a word of the year, one that will act as a guide as I pass through the months. But most of the time, that’s about as far as I got. Last year I delved a little deeper into my word but I still didn’t approach this with enough understanding of how I could use it to greater benefit. In 2022, with this help of this site, I plan to be more intentional about how I allow my word to guide my actions and my life.

After much deliberation, and a few false starts, I finally decided on my word for 2022:

nourish

Definition

Nourish is defined in the dictionary as “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition”, which sounds slightly cold and uninspiring at first glance and I have to admit to feeling discouraged by my choice. However, when I considered this more deeply, I realised that I do want both myself and my life to grow and be both in good health and good condition, and that this can be achieved by food and other ‘substances’. But I still didn’t feel sure: was it the right word?

Synonyms

To help with the decision, I turned to its synonyms, and here things became more promising: cherish, cultivate, sustain, tend, attend, comfort, encourage, foster, furnish, maintain, nurse, nurture, promote, provide, supply, support. (I’d already considered the words ‘cultivate’ and ‘nurture’ so it was good to see them as synonyms.)

Antonyms

My research, inspired by my love of language and curiosity, wouldn’t have been complete without a foray into its opposites: abandon, ignore, neglect, condemn, deprive, discourage, hurt, starve. This was a very powerful moment and seemed to sum up my journey of the past two years (which for obvious reasons have been difficult). I realised I had been compounding the situation by abandoning myself; I felt discouraged; I had been deprived of the things I needed to sustain and nourish me.

Serendipity

I sat on my word for a week, thinking about what it would mean for me and how I could use it. And that’s when strange things started to happen. My word seemed to show up everywhere: in the book I was reading, in my yoga practice, in podcasts.

And so my word has been chosen.

nourish

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