The pressure of a new year
For some reason I have always found New Year difficult. To some it represents a fresh start, renewed motivation and resolutions, but to me it just presents a lot of stressful expectations, painful reflection and anxiety. January 1st is just another day, but with it comes the expectation that we will improve, do more, achieve higher and generally be better. I become very aware of my lows of the previous year, and feel a great weight to be successful.
I think New Year can be a testing time for many people, but when you suffer from a mental illness it can be a reminder of how motivating yourself and being positive is a struggle. It can be a reminder of the future, when your mental illness makes the future seem scary. With a mental illness it can be even easier at New Year to be hard on yourself and place more pressure on yourself.
Some of the ways I try to reduce New Year’s stress and pressure:
- Try not to compare myself to others – “comparison is the thief of joy”, we all have such different journeys, different strengths weaknesses and struggles, if we get lost in comparisons we lose our own authenticity.
- Minimise social media use – seeing everyone’s highlight reel when I’m struggling can make me feel very low and unsuccessful. Instead of scrolling, I read a book, go for a walk or spend time doing something that will benefit me somehow.
- Create my own small achievable goals – even if it’s just a goal to get out of bed and have a shower, it feels good to achieve something I set out to do, especially at my own pace.
- Make a list of all the positive things from the previous year – sometimes we get so caught up in negativity we can forget that there is always something to be positive about. If I’m really struggling to be positive, I list things that I am grateful for, things even as simple as the roof over my head or the chair I have to sit on.
Image by @breakingtaboo