Coping with the New Year

Happy New Year everybody

January can feel like a strange month, on one hand we are starting a fresh and potentially planning some goals for ourselves to get excited about? On the other hand you might be feeling burnt out and with the days still feeling dark and cold its possible to be feeling a little blue. So how do we avoid any new year blues?

Here’s some top tips:

  • Acknowledge that it might be beginning to look like a long time until the spring. If you are honest with yourself about where the challenges might be it is half the battle.  If you get cross, frustrated and upset with yourself for finding things tough then those feelings are likely to become more intense when you do come up against challenges and obstacles.
  • ‘Acknowledging’ is not the same as ‘accepting’. Accepting makes it sound like you are happy with the situation which you may well not be. Acknowledging is recognising that there are tough challenges and you will do your best to manage and cope as best you can.
  • Where is your support? Remember that different people offer different types of support – some people are very practical and might do stuff around the house; some people are fantastic at listening.  Some people will be great for sharing an experience or an idea or keeping spirits up.  It’s OK if there isn’t someone obvious who fulfils all those tasks and roles. Very few people do.  The key is to understand that and get the right support from the right person.
  • Is there a time of day that is a particular challenge for you? It might be late at night – this is quite common. Try and find something specific to do at this time that will distract you. Usually distraction works best when it is something mentally or physically active, not just watching the TV or idly flicking channels or web surfing.
  • Perhaps now is indeed the time for a resolution. Rather than thinking of something you are ‘not’ going to do, try to think of something you are going to do!  It might help if you do something every day that builds up into a whole.  A few pieces of a huge puzzle every day, a photo a day that might show how a garden or an outdoor space changes or perhaps trying a new recipe each week.
  • Make your resolutions practical and realistic. It is easier and more encouraging to have a smaller target that you realistically do every day, rather than a bigger one you will miss more often than not. Or you could average something over a week – for example I will average a certain number of steps a day over a week.  That way you can take account of really cold weather, or lack of daylight and make the most of a better weather day when you have time.
  • Keep a diary – it can be comforting and helpful to express your thoughts on paper especially if there isn’t anywhere else. Or even drawing can help!
  • Try some stress management techniques. Have a look at some mindfulness techniques or download one of the NHS recommended Apps (Headspace, Pzizz).
  • Make sure you have some rewards for yourself too – where possible try to make sure the reward helps to strengthen your ability to keep up your resolution e.g. some planned self care time to relax, a trip to the library to pick up a new recipe book or time with a friend to go for a walk.

Remember, be kind to yourself.  Think small and practical every day or every week, and it will build up.

We would love for you to share ideas and support each other, Is there something you have pledged to do this New Year? If you find this time of year difficult, where will you turn for support? Is there a particular time of day that is a challenge for you? And what solutions might there be?

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