Stop and Heal © lynette sheppard

Whew. We can take a deep breath now. We made it through the holiday season. 2022 is a new year. A new start.

And if it feels like a reprise of the last couple of years? Omicron, zoom meetings, masks and sanitizer, uncertainty. It’s normal to feel fatigued by it all. I know I do. And I have a prescription for all of us. Be gentle with yourself.

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in many years. I do make intentions for each year, but this year, I have only one. To treat myself kindly. Whatever that may mean, day today.

Instead of approaching my daily walk as necessary exercise or a goal I have to meet, I’m using it as an excuse to amble, look around, and daydream. I still get my miles but this feels more nurturing.

After my initial pandemic flurries of stress-baking and frantic trying of new recipes, I have relaxed into making eggs or waffles for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is easy and nourishing in so many ways.

I’m drifting more during my free time – writing as enjoyment rather than must-do, must produce. Making visual art when the mood strikes, not as an obligation as an iPhone artist. I’ve taken up mindful stitching as a practice, which would be a shock to my seventh grade home ec teacher. She gave me a D on my sewing project. Luckily, mindful stitching is just that – a tactile meditative practice that doesn’t aim for perfection. Or even to be good.

Poet David Whyte tells a story about visiting his long-time friend John O’ Donahue. David had been particularly busy traveling and sharing his poetry and philosophy on stage. John gave him a bit of advice that I just love. “Let yourself alone, David. Just let yourself alone to go have a pint or just sit and be.” I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist. (David Whyte hosts zoom sessions three times a month every other month. These are also part of my nurturing practice. Find out more here: