Methods in Reflection for the New Year

Yom Kippur affords us the opportunity to reflect on the past year. Whether this is done within the walls of a synagogue or your own home, it is the time to pause and contemplate where we have been this past year and where we want to go in the next. No matter how you choose to observe Yom Kippur,  here are five methods for personal reflection that you can use to help you reflect inward. These methods can also be used throughout the year to stop, pause and and re-center.

  1. Digital Detox: It’s no secret that we live in a completely plugged in world. Whether your device of choice is the television, tablet, iPhone or FitBit, being constantly attached to something electronic can distract the best of us. Taking small breaks from our digital devices allows us to refocus on ourselves, our priorities and the people around us. So commit to taking an hour, a day or an entire weekend away from your devices and re-connect with the world around you.
  2. Guided Meditation: One of the easiest and fastest ways to direct your focus back to yourself is through guided meditation. We like apps like Calm (which is free) that have a variety of nature sounds that set the background for timed meditations as short as five minutes. Think of this as a great way to transition from work to home. And while we know this technically is using your phone, we think it’s okay as long as you don’t end up checking Facebook afterwards!
  3. Step Outside: It’s been proven that a connection with nature makes us happier and healthier. For those who spend the majority of their time at a desk and behind a computer (we’re right there with you!), take just 10 minutes a day to step away, leave your phone behind, and walk around your neighborhood. Extra points if you can take in your surroundings, breath the fresh air and feel truly present. You might consider a longer outing to really sink into the quiet that nature affords.
  4. Art Therapy: Do you reminiscence about elementary school art class and wish you could take a break from your day to go back in time? With the introduction of adult coloring books (yes we’re serious) you can! Books like these were created to facilitate putting your effort into art where you can both lose yourself and disconnect from the stresses around you. So break out the colored pencils and get to it!
  5. Set “Real” Resolutions: Making resolutions is a traditional part of the New Year. We encourage setting small, yet achievable goals instead of making difficult resolutions that are hard to attain and can leave you feeling disappointed. Take a moment to think of ways that you can stretch yourself for the better today, this month or in the next year. Whether it’s reading a new book, enrolling in that class or calling your family more often, little things can make a big difference.

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