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Start Your New Year With a Day of Being

What is your New Year’s day tradition?

Do you sleep half of it away? Clean the house? Watch football? How about  shaking things up? Start a new tradition with a day of being.

What is a day of being? It’s a day to feel your feelings, hear your thoughts, be present and enjoy reality just as it is.

What you can’t do:

T.V. is out. While it may be a great way to zone out and de-stress, that is not what this day is about. It’s about being alive and present.

No texting, emailing, social networking or interneting. You want face-to-face interaction, not virtual interaction.

No video games. Many people say they don’t have time to do things that they want to do or things they need to do to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. If you turn off the video games, you may find that it wasn’t an issue of time after all.

What you can do:

Indulge in something sensuous like a hot bath, a heavenly cup of hot chocolate, a good meal, a massage, or wearing silk pajamas long into the morning. Do a little self-pampering.

Read. We listen to audio books during our commute. We watch movies. We read articles on the internet, but when is the last time you actually read a good book? Books are windows into new worlds. Expand your mind with a good story.

Cook. This may seem like a mundane, every day thing that doesn’t deserve to be included on a day that is supposed to be something special. So, don’t make it an every day experience. Cook something savory. Cook it with love. Invite friends over to share it. Make it a love fest of food.

Play. The word “play” is something that is reserved for kids, but why? Since when are adults not allowed to have fun? Playing is the act of doing something just because it’s pleasing. There is no agenda except to have fun. What makes you laugh? Do that. Fly a kite. Color. Play with some Play-Doh. Go skating. Go dancing. Make love.

Take a walk. What brought you to your neighborhood? There must have been something about it that made you choose that spot above all else. When’s the last time you saw it or enjoyed it? How about now? Take a walk, but don’t just walk. Experience why you like living where you do. Really see the architecture, the wildlife, or whatever there is to see. If you see things you don’t like, notice what there is to appreciate about it. There is always something grand for those with the eyes to see it.

Engage with people. When someone asks you how are you doing, how often do you go for the default answer? How often do you listen to what they are saying? Spend some time talking to people you care about and really listen to what they are saying. Talk to a stranger. They often have really fascinating ways of seeing the world. Connection doesn’t happen when someone is interested in you. It happens when both sides are invested in each other. Invest a little of your time in others.

Be a tourist in your own city. How often do we go out of town to see amazing things, but completely neglect the things in our own backyard? One way to connect with your community is to be a tourist in your own town. Appreciate its history, see its museums, and discover secret hideaways.

Let the start of the new year be just that. Start with a day of being and you may just decide to make that your new tradition.

Laura Giles, LCSW, is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.