A few months ago, I stumbled upon what I believed to be my word. It was only November when the genius idea popped into my brain. I was thrilled that for 2022 my word would emphatically be BREATHE. I sounded amazing, it resonated. I was sold.
And then, around a table in Sedona at a retreat, I began to tell my story to a group of beautiful women. I told them about my past two years. I described how sometimes even things that are “fun” feel like another to-do… and I shared with them that all I really wanted most of anything in 2022 was to BREATHE.
Across the table, a kind soul shared that it sounded like I’d been breathing okay. She doubled down and said “Maybe your word is actually EXHALE.”
In that moment, I felt my shoulders drop and let out a sigh of relief and a few tears. And just like that, exhale became my word for the new year.
As I’m writing about this word, I cannot help but notice my breath and smile just thinking about this word. We’re not talking about that quick inhale of breath that comes with anxiety and apprehension, we’re talking about that glorious outpouring of breath that comes with feeling safe, feeling fulfilled, and letting go.
I typically choose a word that has a million different meanings and interpretations. Not this year apparently. In 2022, I chose simplicity.
Exhale (verb): to breathe out
It’s that simple. We biologically are required to breathe in and out every single day. Studies show that we actually breath an incredible 20,000 times a day. Feel free to count yours and validate it.
With the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the globe, human connection feeling more distant than ever before, and natural disasters popping up out of nowhere, my breathing patterns haven’t been consistent since 2019. If I’m honest, I feel like I’ve actually been holding my breath for the past two years. I’m completely ready to EXHALE, y’all.
I always like to share a few ways that I might embody my word in the year ahead, and it also gets me planning for how exactly I might do this.
Grant myself permission
I picked a red background for the word this year because I almost feel like it’s a code red. It’s BEYOND time to exhale. I also associate the color red with the root chakra, which is foundational and primal.
I truly know that there is nothing I need more, nor deserve more than to peacefully exhale.
Develop a meditation practice
I joined a tremendous company back in 2020 that places a huge emphasis on employee mental health and well being. As part of working here, I have access to phenomenal mental health care (which I use!) and also have a daily reminder on my calendar to take a break. We have a company-wide block on our calendar from 1pm-2pm MT every single day. This time is dedicated to your well-being. You can use the time to take your dog for a walk, eat lunch, or watch your favorite show. Whatever you’d like, that hour is for you and we’re encouraged not to schedule things during that hour with others.
I have not used this time well since I joined the company 15 months ago. Intermittently, I’ll go for a walk if the weather is nice; however, most days, I just work through the hour… including snoozing the reminder I’ve placed on the calendar. I literally have a reminder at 1:10 every single day to meditate. I’ve never done it (not even on one occasion) since I added it to my calendar.
In 2022, I’d like to use that time. It’s booked. It’s mine. I need it.
Boundaries are not something I’ve traditionally excelled at establishing. Saying no can be challenging for me. Letting someone else down is the worst. Do you know what’s even worst? Letting myself down.
I’ve learned in 2021 that human design studies show that I’m a generator. With that, I have a tremendous amount of sparkly energy that is truly magical when I’m doing what makes me happy. Every time I choose to do something I dread, that I don’t have energy for, or that doesn’t align with my goals, that beautiful energy drains from my body completely – – leaving me with a shell of who I am, and worse, a shell of who I want to be.
Having boundaries is healthy, and I plan to explore what mine need to be.
Sell my condo, move into my new home, and LOVE THAT LIFE
I’m going to share more about my new home journey soon, but simply stated: it’s ALL HAPPENING in less than a month and there’s a whole lotta newness coming up.
Interestingly when I’m thinking about all of what I have to do to get there, I’m stressed, but when I’m in my new space: I’m CALM. I’m PEACEFUL.
Channel some classic Whitney Houston
I miss my friends.
Because I’ve been holding my breath, because there’s been caution around travel, because everyone has really gone inward more than ever, we just don’t get together nearly enough any more. Getting together doesn’t have to be a physical meetup and it doesn’t even have to be scheduled, it could just be a phone call, a quick text, and in every sense, a connection.
In recent weeks, I’ve been working to schedule at least one thing with friends each week. It could be a coffee (because we all know I love coffee) or a walk or a glass of wine; it’s just something. Every single time I do it, my shoulders drop and I exhale…
Truth: I’m not looking for a swarm of invitations because going 0-60 MPH seems beyond overwhelming. What I do know is that my regular visits with people I adore makes me feel great… and I’d like more of that in 2022.
What the heck does this have to do with Whitney Houston, you ask? Maybe you know this song…
Sometimes you’ll laugh
Sometimes you’ll cry
Life never tells us, the when’s or why’s
When you’ve got friends, to wish you well
You’ll find your point when
You will exhale
Let’s make this 2022 better than we ever could have imagined, friends.
Check out my word(s) of the year for previous years via the links below.