3-2-1 New Years! Ok, it’s not here quite that quickly, but many of us are feeling that end of the year race to the finish. Have you ever noticed how we try to pack in more things than we do all year into these last few weeks? While some people thrive on this type of pressure, others are riddled with anxiety and stress. This year let’s use our “3-2-1” rule to help ourselves find balance instead of being stressed, overwhelmed, and nervous. By using this technique, you can better protect your time, energy, and health this season.

What’s the 3-2-1 rule you ask? It’s simple! Each time you come into a blunder you just do this:

3-take three full and slow breaths (truthfully, you can repeat this as many times as needed.)

2- Ask yourself what two things will be better if I do this, buy this, skip this, cook this, give this, etc.

1 – Can it wait one day?

If you are wondering if this works, here are a few end-of-year scenarios to think this through.

Cooking/Baking. People will literally go all year without baking one thing and then decide they need to make every cookie known to man before Santa comes. Or they order takeout and buy frozen meals all year and then decide they will throw the largest holiday meal with all the fixings during the busiest season. Is this you? Before you panic, 3-2-1.

3- Take three deep breaths or MORE!

2- What two things will be better if you cook or bake this? Will you enjoy it? Will your kids love it? Will you have a better day spending it in the kitchen?  If it’s YES, then go for it. If you can’t find two reasons this is a fantastic idea, it’s time to modify.

1- Can it wait one day? If the meal is tomorrow and you haven’t even shopped yet, is this worth it? No. If the cookie exchange is tonight and you don’t even have the cookie dough made, go buy them. If you have at least a day to think and plan, it may be worth it, if not, modify or skip it.

Shopping: People love to give. Some as a gesture of thanks, others as a token of love and some just plain do it to show off. Before you overload your Amazon cart or spend more money than you need to – 3-2-1!

3 – Take a breath in and release, breathe in and exhale, one more time. Good!

2- What will be better if you buy this? Is it going to make life better? Will it be useful? Can you see someone enjoying this? Will you wish you still had the money later?

1 – Can you buy it tomorrow? Will this purchase matter in one day? Many people shop with an impulse or a whim that life will be different with an item. But chances are that one item isn’t going to change us that much. If it can’t wait a day to be bought or shipped – maybe it’s not worth it.

Families! “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays,” or so the song says. There can be a lot of pressure around family gatherings, especially now. When you factor in Covid-19, gathering with family just isn’t what it used to be. While family time is important, so is your physical and mental health therefore: 3-2-1

3 – Take those breaths.

2- What two things will be better by getting together? Will you have fun? Will this investment of your time be meaningful? Will everyone stay healthy? Has everyone taken proper precautions to keep each other safe? Will you leave feeling filled up rather than drained?

1 – Could this wait a day? If you needed a mental health day before seeing them, would it be ok? If the weather was bad and you needed to delay a day would that be ok? If everything is really just riding on one day to gather, will this time be meaningful?

3-2-1 is a great way to be in the moment and ask yourself what really matters, but it’s up to you to take it from there. Sometimes we know that something isn’t going to make anything better, but we do it anyway. Other times we feel empowered to put our own needs first and we skip a thing or two. What matters most, more than any cookie swap, giving the perfect gift and sometimes even more than seeing family, is you. Will you be able to breathe? Will you be ok after you make this choice? Sure, sometimes we go overboard for the holidays and we’re tired. But if you can’t get through your three breaths and you feel drained and emotionally triggered, you have your answers. It’s not for you.

As we close out 2021, give yourself the respect, care and concern you truly need! Don’t focus on what others might think or say – all of that fades. But think about what is meaningful for you and worthy of your time and energy. Is it a cliché to spend all year ignoring your own needs to now spend these last few weeks asking 3-2-1? Sure, but this cliché has so many wonderful benefits and hopefully will stick with you into the New Year! Stay well this season, try to find balance, and keep asking 3-2-1.


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center