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Renewal and Connection for You and Your Family

Happy New Year! Transitioning to a new year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what you appreciate about your family over the last year and to think about the kinds of connections you want to nourish in the coming year; with yourself, with those you love and with your community. Different cultures celebrate the New Year at different times but often with similar rituals of reflection and looking forward. Here are some ideas for beginning this new calendar year:

Reflect on the past year as a family.

  • What are your children’s favorite memories? What are you proud of, or happy about?
  • Who are the people that made this year special for you?
  • Are there any mistakes that still need to be fixed? Make a phone call, write a card or have a conversation.
  • Make some notes or collect some pictures about 2016 in a small book, a family journal or a picture collage.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?

  • Who are the people who you want to spend more time with this coming year?
  • Set some small family goals about how you will stay connected. These might include regular family dinners, weekly family meetings, or a fun activity together once a week.iStock_000002042391Small
  • What would you like to do this year to connect or contribute to your friends, family or community? This might include plans to visit friends and relatives, volunteering or a community service project. What you do as a family when your children are young is a model for them as they grow into adulthood.

Take care of yourself.

  • Treat yourself with compassion and hang out with people who have kind hearts.
  • Relax more. Schedule time for weekly quiet time by yourself.
  • Make sure you and your family get enough sleep. New brain research shows that sleep is very important for “brain cleaning,” for learning and for preventing dementia long term.

Take small steps.

  • Keep your goals reasonable and achievable.
  • It is encouraging to have small goals you actually accomplish. They lead to bigger things later.
  • You don’t have to be perfect to be good enough.