I turned another page on the calendar hanging on the wall. June, it now read. How had half a year passed already, quick as a breath. The house was in a state of rare silence. I savoured the moment and walked to my favourite chair in the house. The sun was at just the right spot in the day sky, its rays reaching for me through the glass doors, the softest touch of warmth against my skin.

Content, I turned inward, reflecting on the last few months, how far I’d come. I pondered over the ways I had incorporated my word-for-the-year into my day-to-day life, and was surprised at how effective a simple word could be to one’s well-being. An annual tradition I had grown to love and anticipate.

My word for 2019 was Embrace. There was so much unknown at the time, so much unrest. Yet at the same time, new ideas and opportunities were beginning to reveal themselves to me. I knew I needed to embrace whatever was coming my way, both positive and challenging.

The onset of January, tainted with darkness and fear, was not a time I liked to relive. I shuddered at the memory of it. Plagued by the worst anxiety I’d ever experienced in my life, I hid and healed my way through those dreary winter days. Thankfully I had no work that was pressing for my time or energy, and so I embraced the slowness, the empty calendar, and filled my days with writing and reading, and other things that were calming and brought joy back into my life.

Being intentional, and thinking through every thought, decision and action with the word ‘embrace’ at the core, shifted my whole mindset. I literally would ask myself, “How can I embrace this moment?” at least ten times a day. Often it would lead to me reading in the car when I had a few minutes to spare, or working on research for my second book. I also suddenly found myself applying for jobs I never realized I wanted, and when companies responded and wanted to meet me, I embraced the opportunity to go to the interviews and see what they were about and how the job resonated with me. In the end, I accepted a job offer and embraced a whole new chapter of my life.

Though my word-of-the-year wasn’t entering my mind as often as it had six months ago, the effects of it were still there. Somehow, after repeating the word over and over again for so long, it had become part of my subconscious, integrating its way into my everyday life. Now I embrace after work naps, long baths when I’ve had a long day, leaving my phone on Do Not Disturb, and so much more.

If you haven’t chosen a word for this year, I would encourage you to choose on for the next six months. Think about where you’re currently at in all areas of your life, and especially focus on the areas or ways that you feel depleted or overwhelmed. Likewise, pinpoint areas that spark joy and make your eyes light up - what do you need to do to pursue that passion, to keep that spark alive? Take notes, and eventually you’ll be able to narrow it down to just one word. Be sure to write your word down and put it somewhere where you can see it often, a gentle reminder of the goal you’re striving for.

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