New Year Self-Reflection
with Ashley Mowrey
Happy New Year, friends! We made it to 2021! While most of us (myself included) are eager to leave 2020 and all its grief and turmoil behind, I’m going to invite us to pause and look back before jumping into the new year.
It may sound discouraging to spend any more time in the chaos that was 2020. However, self-reflection is a vital part of our mental health and wellbeing. Self-reflection creates a safe space for us to process, practice self-awareness, and see our experiences with neutrality and perspective.
For this exercise, find your favorite cozy spot and grab a notebook and pen. I’ve divided this reflection into 5 sections: mind, body, spirit, environment, and relationships. For each question, try to keep pen to paper and be open to whatever comes. I encourage you to approach this with so much grace and respect for yourself...this isn’t the time to be critical. If you find that your inner critic is coming up, check out my article here for some tools to quiet it.
Note before we get started: this doesn’t have to be the time for “silver lining”. Don’t feel like you have to find positivity, meaning, or hope in every question (If you do, great! Write about it and celebrate! But it’s not the goal here). In fact, sometimes trying to find the silver lining can be harmful and make us feel even worse when what we really need is a whole lotta compassion and patience from ourselves. It’s okay if your behaviors and what you learned about yourself aren’t seeping with growth and positivity. It’s okay if this year sucked.
- What was your biggest mental or emotional struggle during 2020?
- When did you feel most mentally or emotionally stable?
- What coping skills or behaviors did you use during this past year, both helpful and harmful? Which would you like to let go of in 2021? Which would you like to do more of in 2021?
- What did you learn about yourself from these experiences?
- What is one word to describe how you want to feel mentally/emotionally in 2021?
- What was your biggest physical struggle during 2020?
- When did you feel physically best?
- Did any old habits return or new unhelpful habits form due to the pandemic? Explore these as an observer without judgement.
- What did you learn about yourself through these experiences?
- What is one word to describe how you want to feel physically in 2021?
- When was your spirit the lowest in 2020?
- When did you experience joy or gratitude in 2020? It’s okay if there aren’t many.
- Are there any spiritual/religious/faith based routines or resources that helped you during this year?
- What spiritual practices would you like to incorporate in 2021? Examples: journaling, meditating, connecting with others, prayer, being in nature, virtual religious or spiritual groups or gatherings.
- What is one word to describe how you want your spirit to feel in 2021?
- What did you learn about your physical environment this year?
- What are things in your environment that bring you joy?
- What are things in your environment that bring you stress?
- What changes or adjustments would you like to make to your environment for 2021?
- What is one word to describe how you want your environment to be in 2021?
- How was your relationship with yourself this year? What did you learn?
- How was your relationship with your family and friends this year? What were the highs and lows of social distancing and isolation during the ongoing pandemic?
- When did you feel most connected to yourself this year? Least connected?
- When did you feel most connected to your friends and family this year? What things helped you feel more connected? Are there any relationships you need to let go of or make adjustments to in 2021?
- What is one word to describe how you want your relationship with yourself to be in 2021?
After, you can either keep your reflection to refer back to later or “release” it by tearing it up, throwing it away, or any other form of destruction that feels cleansing to you. This is all about releasing the old to welcome the new, whatever that looks like for you.
2020 was a hard year, but we’re here. And I’m so proud of you. Together, as a dance community, we will get through this. If you want more inspiration and tools for the New Year, join me and Dr. Chelsea Pierotti for our free workshop with Doctors for Dancers on Thursday, January 21st at 10am PST. We will explore how to show up in 2021, our relationship with praise and criticism, and how to set goals and intentions from a place of peace. Register at doctorsfordancers.com.
Chat soon and Happy New Year!
Ashley Mowrey is a Mindset Coach and Educator for dancers. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, is a Certified Professional Coach and Whole Person Certified Coach through Coach Training World, a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Leadership Program for Women, a specialist for Doctors for Dancers, and a blog contributor for Apolla Performance. Ashley has recently joined the faculty for the upcoming Embody Dance Conference, coming Summer 2021 in Connecticut where she will lead workshops for all ages, including parents and teachers, on mindset tools. She is also a Team Member of Dancer, 360 and will be a contributor to their upcoming book. Ashley trained as a competitive dancer out of Dallas, TX before teaching and eventually directing a company and dance studio in Fayetteville, AR. It was during those years that she felt drawn towards the dancer’s mindset and the need for training and tools in the dance community to foster mental health and wellbeing. She sees clients in person and via Skype/Zoom all over the country as well as travels (mostly digitally these days) to studios for customized group workshops. Ashley has also been featured on Dance Studio Amplified Podcast, (Ep. 14), Dance Boss University Mastermind guest presenter, and episode 58 of Dance Boss Podcast. Head to her website for more information, or her Instagram for free tools and resources to help you build a healthy mindset to navigate the dance world at your best.