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Adulting: Anchors for 2021...

I’m stepping into 2021 a little more confidently because of the personal anchors in my life.

Loosely defined, “anchors” are behaviors that help stabilize us during the storms of life. The term is by no means new, but I’ve only just started to research it for personal reasons. I never really pictured myself as a boat (figuratively, of course) until I first read about beneficial anchors in an article by writer/designer Joanna Gaines titled, “A Note from Jo on Rhythm”:

The anchors of our life can be significant things like faith, prayer, meditation, but they can also be seemingly small and mundane like cooking, reading, running. The magical thing is that they somehow offer a place of refuge in the ever-changing landscapes of our lives.

I think the year 2020 revealed to many of us our most valuable, personal anchors; we sought refuge in them as the year became rocky, uncertain, and at times incredibly miserable. For Gaines, one of her anchors was cooking in her kitchen. She describes it as “a safe place for me to think and process the rapidly changing world.” One of my own anchors was (and is) prepping and drinking tea. The certainty of tea calms my mind, and the rhythm of the process is known, comfortable, and soothing.

When I make tea, the sound of the kettle heating up signals that something warm and uplifting is coming my way: I find myself doing a sort of mental, happy sigh. I choose my own tea flavor, and honestly, it feels good to have that bit of control. Then, once the hot water is poured, I hug the mug with my hands. The subtle tea scent changes the air around me and therefore my atmosphere. I’m smelling, tasting, and feeling the beauty that is tea. And that beauty is an anchor in my day.

I’m concerned for the upcoming days of 2021, and I know I’m not alone. But life coach Brian Gorman reminds us, “When people feel that their world is being turned upside down and inside out by change, calling out the anchors that remain untouched helps to restore a sense of stability, reducing the overall impact of the change.” He wisely urges us to recognize all our helpful anchors. And what better time as we face a new year?

Of course, like real anchors, our most helpful anchors won’t fix everything. They can’t calm the waves around us, keep us from springing a leak, or stop any storms. But they can bring stability, ground us, and offer the familiar. Oh, how these very things can keep us going! Especially after a hard year, and especially as we stand to face the new one.

(Article originally created for and published on Nati's Health.)


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