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Downtime and space for reflection

t’s been a longer than usual break between writing for the TBW blog this Christmas holidays – and it really was a planned and very deliberate extended downtime for me and the team.  I feel like every year I write something along the lines of “it’s been a really big / challenging / hard year”

 and I think I’ve landed at a place where this is now my default expectation! 


This past year (2022) wasn’t so much about COVID (thankfully) but was a lot about ‘getting back to normal’ (whatever that is) and navigating how we all were dealing with that. n addition to all that I undertook a pretty mammoth year of professional and academic development, completing a year’s training in Compassionate Inquiry with Gabor Maté and his team, becoming an accredited EMDR practitioner and writing a 10,000 thesis at Deakin University.  That last one is part of a bigger project which will start next month as I finally get my PhD dream started.  Anyway, let’s just say that a rest was very overdue, and I really appreciated how separated I felt from work over the last three weeks.

The one thing I had on my ‘do-list’ for the holidays that resolutely refused to ignore was my annual reflective practice that I have been doing for I think eight years now.  I am absolutely against the ‘new year, new you’ bollox.  I detest the idea of new year’s resolutions.  I find them shallow and something that only really serves to set people up for failure.  What I am a huge proponent of however, is the time and space to retrospectively review and reflect on what the last 12 months has taught me, how I have grown as a human on this crazy earth, and what habits I have inadvertently picked up that I’d like to put back down (not moving my body enough for example).  I work through a reflective practice; a core values review and a considered intention setting for the upcoming 12 months.

I thought I would share my practice with you here because I have found it such a profoundly beneficial experience that you might like to pick and choose elements of it that work for you.  It’s a practice that I have refined over the last eight years, and it started the summer that I spent many weeks recovering from bilateral hip surgeries where I would normally have been out in the ocean competing in the summer open water swim series.  Back then, I was a competitive swimmer in my spare time and my summer months were spent travelling to various beaches on the east and west of Melbourne to swim my heart out in the Great Victorian Swim Series and I found it super challenging to be out for the season laid-up in recovery mode, so I turned my head to crafting this reflective practice (and spending a fortune online shopping at Kikki-K)!

In the intervening years I have refined the process that has resulted in a practice that goes something like this:

  1. Review of my core values (see previous blogs HERE and HERE)
  2. Selection of my ‘word’ for 2023 (this year, it’s ‘flow’)
  3. Unravel your Year Workbook (click HERE for link)
  4. Annual intention setting for 2023

When we set aside time to reflect on our own experiences, we allow ourselves the space to grow.  If we want to be and feel different, we need to do different, but in my experience, this needs to be something we do in a considered manner – it is rarely successful when we leave it to chance.

If you have decided that 2023 is the year that you start therapy, or if you’d like someone to help you reflect and support you with your intentions, we have a team of therapists at Thea Baker Wellbeing and we have IMMEDIATE availability – please reach out to us at: / 03 9077 8194.

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