Every once in a while we need the chance to reset. Maybe it’s after a difficult day, a difficult conversation, a bad mood, a health diagnosis, a fight with a loved one, a night of no sleep, the loss of a job, the death of a friend, or just a need to stop and restart. It can also be the opportunity to embrace joy.
I often think about the beginning of a new year in January, or right after my birthday in July as a chance to begin again, a time to reset. Sometimes it’s the time to take stock and see where I need to be and where I am, and see if I need to readjust my path, my time, my effort.
A reset doesn’t have to be a big redo, a big reassessment of life. It can also just be a moment to catch my breath, a moment to return to the now, a chance to feel my lungs, my feet, even the hair on my head.
A reset can be a quick walk around the block, or 10 seconds of deep breathing. Sometimes it means locking yourself in the stall of a public restroom to cry or wipe away your tears. There have been times where I couldn’t let myself into full emotions or deal with a situation until later. Maybe I was in the middle of a work shift and couldn’t let myself break down then. One of the best things I learned in therapy was to give myself time to deal with those moments, but also to prioritize and choose when and how I would take care of myself in those moments.
After years of burying things or not fully acknowledging situations, I learned that I didn’t have to feel all the feelings in the middle of the day, but that I could hit an emotional reset button and come back to those feelings and situations when I felt safe and ready to do so. Sometimes it means pausing a conversation and sometimes it means retreating to my house or room or the patio with a cup of tea or a glass of wine. In the mornings, when I need to confirm that reset of a new day, I start with a run (or waddle) and time for writing in my journal. Sometimes a reset can be helped along with a long phone call with a good friend or an in-person visit. I have often used my car and the shower for reset moments. I have also used a good run or a late night walk to breathe, reflect, and reset.
A reset can be a quick chance to breathe, but sometimes it can be a big life u-turn. A reset could mean a change in job, home, town, or major relationship.
A reset doesn’t have to be a burn-the-house-down restart, but sometimes you do have to let go of people and situations. There have been points in a relationship where I felt like I had to break off all contact with someone I once loved and then with time and some spiritual work, I forgave myself and the person from afar. Yet other times there has been a chance for reconciliation.
You don’t have to wait for a relationship to turn sour or for a situation to become impossible to reset. You don’t have to wait for a new month or a new year or a new day. You can take a breath, a break. You can write down your feelings of rage and sadness or happiness and disappointment in your precious journal, or the back of a junk mail envelope. You can keep the reflections or discard them in the recycling, or burn them in a safe manner to release them.
Give yourself the moments and the work for reset. Take deep breaths while you count to ten. Put the phone down and take a walk around your neighborhood. Take a shower and wash your emotional residue down the drain. Take a moment in between, between clients or between work and home life, whatever you need. Say a prayer, repeat a mantra. Drink the tea, sit in the dark. Go for a run and sweat out your moody toxins. Give yourself the chance to sit with it. A reset doesn’t mean chasing away the feelings. It can be the time to acknowledge what you’re feeling and experiencing.
A reset, a pause, a moment. We all need them from time to time.