Welcoming Change Into the New Year

A guide to a more mindful way of living.

Words and photographs
by Alexandra Côté-Durrer

Change can be unsettling, even if it's small, like the change to a new year. As much as it can be unsettling, it can be good.

Photograph by: Alexandra Côté-Durrer

As I’m writing this, I’m on the train heading home from the holidays. I’m also in the midst of a bit of an anxiety attack, maybe because of my extra cup of coffee. Who knows, for me, this is part of my day-to-day struggles.


We are the 31st of December, and we are about to embark on a new year. It’s that sweet moment of letting go of the old and welcoming the new.


We all deal with the new year differently. For me, I go through some kind of depression. I think it has to do with the fact that I struggle with change.


Change can be unsettling, even if it’s small, like the change to a new year. As much as it can be unsettling, it can be good.

As humans, we are born to live routinely: eat, work, sleep, repeat! When something goes unexpectedly, we can easily feel our bodies tense up as we adjust to the events that unfold.


Learning to understand these patterns will help us welcome change with more openness and be more comfortable. For those who are a little like me, why don’t we use the new year as an opportunity to explore our patterns and be open to this change?


It starts by being more mindful about how we are physically as well as mentally. When changes arise, take a minute to do a mental scan of your body. You can do this exercise whenever you feel triggered about something as well. What tensions are there? Maybe in this moment, you feel a lot of tension towards your upper back, shoulders. 

What kind of pain are you feeling? Is it muscular, or perhaps it’s indigestion.

Now, shift your awareness towards your mind. What thoughts are passing through? Sadness, jealousy, maybe anger? Instead of trying to change your thoughts or relieve your tension, simply notice them.

Too often we try to change our thoughts when we go through hard emotional moments. It’s a good way to cover up as it acts like a band-aid, but does not necessarily help in the long run.

Learning how to simply notice our thoughts and what our bodies feel when those negative moments arise, as well as letting them go once they pass, is the key to a more calm and mindful way of life.

If you’re someone who struggles with this, no worries, it’s a learning process, and the more you practice, the better you get. Meditation and yoga are such great ways to practice this.

I’ve learned to incorporate meditation with running, and it taught me to be more mindful while in movement. I will do two meditation runs a week to help ground myself more.

I’ve found doing that has allowed me to appreciate running even more and be thankful to have found this beautiful sport.

I hope this article has helped put perspective on the way we view change or moments of stress. Writing this helped me surely calm down during my journey back home.

For those who are looking into meditation means, I have an article out in the journal about how to incorporate it into your life. I’ve also started a podcast called Brain Run Club that shares guided meditation runs as well as mindfulness talks about mental health.

Wishing you all such a wonderful start to your new year!

With love, Alex

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