For many of us, the arrival of a New Year brings the promise of new beginnings. January represents a fresh start, a clean slate, and the chance to seek out new opportunities. For others, the New Year can usher in a time of stress and uncertainty. Even for people who don’t normally suffer from anxiety, staring down the prospect of twelve months of reaching new heights – personally and professionally – can be daunting. A few common issues people may experience in January include:
These days the build-up to Christmas starts early, with holiday sales beginning the day after Halloween and radio stations blasting festive tunes long before we’ve cut the Thanksgiving turkey. We fret over what gifts to buy for whom and wearing the perfect outfit, but the day passes quickly, and once it’s over we are left with a sense that there’s nothing else to look forward to. Post-holiday blues are a very real phenomenon but can be overcome by taking some practical steps.
Practice gratitude. Before going over a list of new things you want to have or happen in your life, be sure to look around and take inventory of everything you already have. Be thankful for the people, the pets, the home and the blessings that are already a part of your existence.
Take fewer pictures. Studies have shown that people who spend their time taking photographs of memorable moments are less likely to form memories of those moments. Put the smart phone down and practice being in the moment and making memories with your kids.
Set something else to look forward to. Now that the holidays are over, it may feel that the good times have passed, but this is just a matter of perspective. Look for activities to do with the family or in the community and sign up for them. That way you can be assured that the warm, fuzzy feelings the holidays bring will last throughout the year.
Dreading the thought of making a lofty “to-do” list for the year? For many of us, resolutions feel more like punishment for holiday reverie than inspiration for living our best life. This year, why not skip the resolutions and try a less stressful option?
Try goal setting. If making resolutions feels like too much pressure, try setting attainable goals instead. Losing 75 pounds might seem like an impossible feat but aiming to lose 15 is more realistic. As each goal is reached, set a new one, and you will gain a new sense of confidence.
Make a review of last year, and use it to develop a New Year Prospectus. Writing out all the achievements and goals achieved in the last year is empowering, and it also helps to set the course for the year to come.
Go easy on yourself. Life can be hard. Sometimes it’s enough to know that you are giving your best effort. Remember to celebrate the fact that you are working on yourself and moving forward.
struggling with routine
The kids have been out of school for weeks, and the pantry is full of junk food. It’s time to get back into a regular healthy routine, but how do we start?
Make lists. This is one of the simplest ways to stay focused and organized. Grocery lists, chore reminders for the kids and lists of extracurricular activities are helpful.
Set alarms. If you find it difficult to be on time, try setting alarms for the larger tasks or appointments throughout the day.
Connect with an accountability partner. Most of us are much less likely to stand someone up at the gym, even on mornings we’d rather sleep in.
Jenee Day is a mom of 3 and an author. Her book, Fear Itself: How Battling Anxiety Brought Me Inner Peace, is available now on Amazon.com.