24 ways to stay grounded and present in this new year – allowing for more connections!

2023 was the first year in over two decades that I haven’t sent holiday cards to colleagues from the office. It’s been a busy one; the office has transitioned to a new electronic health records system, I had COVID, and I’ve been without an assistant for months — so this was my act of self-care. I had to readjust my tasks and expectations, because there was so much going on — and as you know, time keeps moving either way.

Alas here we are, in 2024.

How can we be present and kind to ourselves? How can we be compassionate to ourselves and others? How can we continue to grow and evolve?

If there’s one thing you take away from today’s post, it’s this:


We are born wired for connection and attachment. And even when that attachment has been harmed in childhood due to trauma, connection still heals. Healthy relationships heal.

If you are a trauma survivor who has endured attachment and other wounds in your childhood (and resulting CPTSD in your adulthood), I hope that 2024 is a year where you connect, heal, and experience the joys in life. Like Barbara Streisand says, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!”

Here are my wishes for you — 24 ways (and one extra!) to stay grounded and present in this new year:

  1. Accept that being a victim of trauma was not your fault.
  2. Bring compassion into everything you do.
  3. Look for the helpers to take care of you — and then you may become a helper.
  4. Accept compliments, notice letting them in.
  5. Tune into, listen to, and nurture your authentic self.
  6. When you feel triggered or find yourself moving into a familiar coping role, say something about what you need or how you feel.
  7. Consider what self-care looks like for you. And get yourself some fuzzy slippers. 🙂
  8. Set boundaries. Set boundaries. Set boundaries. It’s worth saying 1000 times!
  9. Feel ALL of your feelings, including the hard ones. Allow yourself time to experience two (or more) emotions at one time. It’s healing to be able to hold that complexity. 
  10. Ask for collaborative care from your healthcare providers. You deserve it!
  11. Understand where judgment and criticism come from (internal and external) so you can work towards healing.
  12. Eliminate “should” from your life.
  13. Notice your needs with compassion.
  14. Work to notice and expand your window of tolerance.
  15. Stop flashbacks in their tracks.
  16. Practice these 6 ways to calm your nervous system.
  17. Keep hope alive — and when you can’t hold hope for yourself, find a trauma-informed therapist who will help you hold it until you can. (And who can also teach you a strategy for coping with the hard parts of life.)
  18. Adopt a trauma-informed view of life.
  19. Practice making decisions, even when everything feels risky.
  20. Look for things to appreciate. Even if they are small. 
  21. KNOW that you deserve love and harmony.
  22. Recognize: Is there safety in your current relationships?
  23. Embrace this truth: You are strong enough to be vulnerable.
  24. Respect the time it takes to heal trauma on your journey, and know you are making progress every day.
  25. Stop watching the news. Read your news and manage your news intake.

My number one hope for you in 2024 is connection — because of the ripple effect it creates. Connections allow us to build self-compassion, communication, and vulnerability. It wards off depression, anxiety, addiction, disordered behaviors, and loneliness. It builds a safe space where coping and survival mechanisms like dissociation are less necessary. It is amazing what connection can give you, and how healing it is.

If you need a book to start the year with, consider Together:  The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, by Vivek Murthy, MD.

I wish you a happy new year filled with health, love, happiness, and connection!

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