[Adjective] New Year

J Haley Phillips
3 min readJan 21


As everyone is winding down the well-wishing of “Happy New Year,” I have to admit… it doesn’t exactly feel “happy” to me.

It feels “new” and “different.”
It feels “deliberate.”
It feels “uncomfortable.”
It even feels potentially “adventurous.”

But I can’t say it feels “happy.”

And while I’m not ready to go into detail as to the Why this is the case, I am happy to talk about the How I am moving forward.

  1. Nurturing My Inner Child
    In the midst of change and all the emotions that come with it, my inner little girl is frightened and in need of comfort. New terrain is fraught with uncertainty and unfamiliar challenges, and it is absolutely downright scary for Adult Me… and much more so for Child Me.
    So yes, I’m making time to read old favorite books and watch old favorite movies, and to indulge in popcorn and sugary snacks, and to sing and dance to Disney tunes. I even bought a fuzzy blue stuffed unicorn to snuggle. All the things that Child Me gets excited about, things that make her feel safe and loved. And I am doing so guilt-free.
  2. Getting Organized
    I’m not only rearranging all of my physical things like books, craft items, and furniture, but I’m also rearranging my time. Creating a weekly routine for myself feels like the equivalent of boundaries, foundation, maybe even a sort of safety net.
    With titles like “Sacred Monday” and “Tidy Tuesday” (as well as the occasional Tidy Frid-y, teehee!), I’m almost making a game out of blocking out my time. It also helps my anxiety and scattered energy by assuring me that I’ve made space for everything from working, cleaning, and exercising to reading, creating, and learning.
  3. Giving Myself Grace
    Lots and LOTS of grace. I’ve been getting frustrated with myself for being exhausted, for being absentminded, and for gaining weight… but when I looked back over the past 3 years I realized, “Holy smokes, I’ve been through so much!” The amount of stress and trauma I’ve endured — without taking time to process and work through most of it — has had serious effects on my everyday life and my overall ability to function.
    Once I could see it all laid out in a list (general Covid-19 trauma, death of my mother, autism diagnosis, collective trauma over Roe v Wade, nearly losing a best friend in childbirth and supporting her through the loss of her baby, and more), something shifted in me. There was no way I could continue as I had been. I was allowing no room to grieve or process anything, charging blindly ahead day after day just to make sure the bills were paid.
    So now I’m journaling. I’m taking down time. I’m being extremely deliberate with my Yes and No. I’m prioritizing self-awareness, and addressing my self-care on a moment-to-moment basis, tuning into my mind and body to see what I need. And when I get frustrated, I come back to my list and remind myself, “Honey- take a look. Considering all you’ve been through, you’re doing just fine.”

So if the move into 2023 is feeling less than “happy” for you, too, please don’t feel guilty or ashamed about it.

Use that awareness, that discord, to find adjectives that do fit… and then proceed accordingly. After all, “not happy” doesn’t have to mean “bad.” There is room within us to experience all kinds of emotions and states of being, and none of it is so black and white as that.

In the end, I’m looking at it this way:

It’s possible that this year is simply meant to hold a little less when it comes to quantifiable accomplishments, and a whole lot more when it comes to personal growth and quality of life.


P.S. Feel free to share your adjective(s) and your 2023 vibe in the comments below!



J Haley Phillips

I’m an editor/writer/coach with a focus on inspiring, empowering, and healing content. I love tea, travel, long hippie skirts, and diving deep into the Self.