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Finding Renewed Rhythms in 2021 Author: Sue Melaragno, M.Ed., LPC

For many of us, 2020 couldn’t have ended soon enough! There is something inviting about turning the page to a new year. For me, it’s another opportunity to pause and reset. Year after year around this time, I find myself asking those same questions: What’s working? What’s not working? Where do I need to change so that I can live a life more connected to the things I value most? Where am I stuck and what can I do differently? I GET TO start over in a sense and that feels exciting, liberating, and hopeful.

In the book, Rhythms of Renewal, Rebekah Lyons outlines four specific ways to “trade stress and anxiety for a life of peace and purpose.” These rhythms include: REST, RESTORE, CONNECT, and CREATE.

According to Lyons, “we are in the throes of a collective panic attack. We pursue anxiety- inducing careers, security, and keeping up We’re afraid we’re not doing enough. We worry about health, politics, or other things we can’t control. That’s when discouragement sets in. Mental and emotional fatigue takes over. Fear and anxiety overcome. Finally, despair prevails.” Can anyone relate to this? These words resonated with me. I have a hunch I’m not alone and maybe they resonate with you too.

So, what can we DO? We can become more intentional and take back our lives, even if in the smallest ways. Rest and Restore are what Lyons calls “input rhythms.” These rhythms fill us up and build our capacity to handle what life brings our way. Connect and Create are the “output rhythms” — once filled up, we can engage more effectively in the world.

Let’s take a look at each of these four rhythms. When I first became familiar with each one, I asked myself where I have “opportunities" to be more intentional (another way of saying, where could I make some changes?). I invite you to do the same!

Lyons describes the Rest Rhythm as a time to deliberately slow down. As she reminds us, we weren’t created for this nonstop pace and without regular rest, we may experience frequent burnout. This rhythm includes:

• Having a solid routine for deep sleep (so important for mental health)

• Taking a break from work

• Cultivating a morning routine — maybe one that includes time for personal reflection,

journaling, prayer, meditation, reading

• “Detoxing” from technology (yes, our brains definitely need this more than we know).

• Allowing ourselves to be quiet, listen, and dig deep