Birthdays are the perfect time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the coming year. I’m sharing my (very personal) reflections and intentions for my 36th year.
Each year, on or around my birthday I like to take some time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the coming year.
It’s kind of like my own personal new year. A chance to celebrate all that the past year brought, reflect on the challenges that came up, and visualize the future.
My 35th year was full of amazing moments. I mean, I got married! Our destination wedding in Estes Park, Colorado was absolutely gorgeous and super fun. A week after we returned home from our Colorado wedding, my husband and I bought a home! So we started packing right away and spent about a week painting and cleaning our new house to get ready to move in. About six months later, we adopted our dog, Birdie. So many big milestones for us, and beautiful memories!
Photo by Deana Johnson Photography
There were many other memorable and meaningful moments throughout the year that I’m so grateful for.
But I also experienced a lot of stress throughout the year. About nine months before my 35th birthday, I lost my job. I decided not to pursue another full-time job, and instead teach yoga and Pilates reformer, build my health coaching business and grow my Young Living business.
While I totally love my flexible work hours, wearing yoga pants to work every day and doing the work that I do, my yearly income was cut in half. Transitioning from having a dependable salary to scrambling to pay my expenses each month has felt incredibly stressful. I’ve been in survival mode.
I’ve done a lot of spiritual, mental and emotional work around my relationship to money over the past few years, and the past year has broken all of that wide open. It’s so hard not to have negative energy and feelings about money when you don’t have enough.
In addition to the financial strain, I haven’t had health insurance in over a year. That means I didn’t go to the dentist, the eye doctor or the gynecologist at all during my 35th year. Not being able to take care of myself feels stressful and out of alignment with my priorities, values and my message.
I’ve definitely had moments of feeling like I should give up and I’ve frantically looked for a full-time job (which hasn’t been successful).
The financial stress felt and still feels overwhelming. A couple of month ago, after the most intense emotional breakdown I’ve ever had, I realized just how much my stress and overwhelm is impacting my mental health.
I feel a lot of shame about my age, my financial struggles and where I am in my career. I can’t even count the number of time friends of mine have joked that I don’t work or that I don’t have a job. While the work I’m doing right now isn’t hard or stressful, I work 30 hours a week at the gym where I teach yoga and Pilates, I often teach one or two yoga classes at a yoga studio or local community college, and I spend 10-15 hours working from home on health coaching and Young Living.
I realized that I’ve been experiencing so much self-doubt that it’s crippling. Sometimes I sit down to work at my computer and I don’t even know where to start. Or I start writing a blog post or a social media post, and I never share it. Or I make a plan to launch a new program, and I convince myself that no one will sign up so I keep putting it off. Or I don’t schedule classes or workshops because I’m afraid no one will come.
I have a lot of guilt about struggling so much with my mental health in the months after my wedding. I feel like this should be a time of abundant happiness and ease.
I feel grateful that I have the tools to be introspective, to listen to my intuition and to practice self-care. These are all things I teach my health coaching clients and I really do put them into practice myself…even when it feels really hard like it does now.
While I have had moments of hopelessness over the past year, deep down I believe I can get through this. I have a big vision for my life and what I want to create for others, and I’m currently in the muck. I know it won’t last forever, and I have a lot in my life to be grateful for.
Life can be both beautiful and happy AND challenging and a struggle. That’s really what I experienced in my 35th year. I feel hopeful that the coming year will bring more ease, joy and security.
My intentions for my 36th year are really focused on gratitude and connection – connecting more to myself and to others. I also want to focus more on taking care of myself by managing my stress, improving my confidence and cultivating more joy in my life.
What I manifest in my 36th year…
- I feel more content with what I have in this moment and I let go of feeling like my life is lacking.
- I spend more time in nature and feel inspired and more connected to myself.
- I reconnect with my spiritual practices, reconnect with visualization and feel more connected to myself.
- I share my struggles more.
- I nourish my mind, body and soul on a deeper level.
- I let go of self-doubt and become braver and bolder in chasing my dreams.
- I create a nourishing space for women to be supported in their journey to eat intuitively, respect their bodies more and shift their focus from weight to health.
- I feel more security financially.
- My husband and I get to explore together, have adventures and make fun memories.
It feels super uncomfortable to share all of this here in this public space, but I know there’s value in honesty and authenticity. I wrote most of this post through tears and a huge lump in my chest. But I’ve been holding all this in for a long time, and it felt like time to get it out. So even if you’re not struggling with the same things I am, I hope my words resonate with you in some way.
One final note: I haven’t sought help for my mental health struggles at this time because I don’t have health insurance and it’s not something I can fit into my budget at this time. But I know the value in talking to a professional when we feel like life is too much to handle. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, please reach out to someone for help.