This year has been so unlike any other!

On some level, we’ve gotten used to our new world, including “expecting the unexpected”!

This past spring (which felt like a long winter), I kept thinking about the polar bears at the zoo.

Did you know the zookeepers have to keep those poor bears super challenged?

They place fresh fish in ice chests, tie them shut, then throw them in the water for the polar bears to open up.

It gives the polar bears something to focus on besides how dang small their world is.

Sound familiar??

When we were buried in our homes this past summer thanks to the toxic smoke outside, I know many of you who are also here on the west coast experienced what I did: a form of PTSD. Feeling a bit too much like the polar bears in their too-small runs, and like this pandemic is going on too long.

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about the importance of resilience, not to mention the need to be prepared and the benefits of having a good project.

We are not unlike the polar bears: smart and in need of a focus. If we don’t have a positive, creative, challenging focus for our attention, we will suffer increased stress, burnout, and poor health. And what does that mean for us and for our world?

When our mental and emotional health suffers, we suffer. As individuals, families, and as a world community.

What do you need to put in place now to keep your MIND focused as we enter a new year? What do your kids need for themselves? What do they need you to demonstrate for them?

Here are a few tips:

1. Do or learn something NEW.
2. To keep your mind sharper, choose something that brings you JOY.
3. Positivity research shows that engage in work that has meaning, and lifts our mood and health.

I have a few polar bear projects left over from last spring… Along with writing a book and undertaking a personal cooking challenge to learn new flavor profiles, I am embracing my desire for a more just world. I am learning how to be an advocate, rather than just a bystander, in the fight against inequality and injustice. I know this is a long-haul project that I could easily turn away from, and that it may be painful and hard to do, as it means I need to change—but isn’t change what we want?

What is on your list?? What are your kids doing? Maybe your family wants to contribute in a whole new way to the world? Or maybe start a band? Is there a college course you WISH you had taken? You can do it now! Online education is so much more accessible today.

In times of change, the potential for growth is HUGE. This is your time to break free of old patterns and bring more of what you want into your life. There is a lot of energy around us right now, its time to embrace the roller coaster and use the new year to focus on really digging in and choosing what will serve us now and into the future. We have the winter—what do you want to do with it?

My suggestion: Have fun and find something that gives you a deeper sense of meaning in your life.

Blessings and in good health to you,

~ Dr Jenny Tufenkian ND

photo credit: Hans Jurgen Mager/Unsplash

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