I won’t lie, this last couple of winters have been rough for everyone, including myself, and including Yogamasti. Anxiety’s higher, days are shorter and everyone feels like they’re missing out on normal life. But you can find positivity and support even in hard times by practicing ways to boost your mood and optimism. You cant beat new year blues without taking actual steps (or making plans to make steps) to make this year a beautiful one. So I’m going to break down 3 most common problems and offer solutions.
New Year Blues Are Twice As Common Right Now
Research has shown an almost tripling level of mental health concerns reported to the US Census Bureau as apposed to pre-covid (11% to 42%). In the UK last Christmas mentalhealth.co.uk reported that 54% of adults were experiencing anxiety and depression within the last two weeks. Many people who had never struggled with mental health were experiencing symptoms for the first time. A whopping 63% of women reported feeling anxious or depressed in the last two weeks. If you’re feeling down – you’re not alone. So let’s take a look at some ways to make things a little brighter.
1. Problem – Feeling Like You Haven’t Achieved Enough This Year
Productivity isn’t personal progress or a measure of your own value. I know as humans it’s difficult not to think that we are all on the same path, and that our lives have these designated ‘milestones’ that we should be hitting. But life isn’t one wide path where we are all either ahead or behind each other. It’s all about how you measure success. You can complete all the projects in the world, plan your life from head to toe, and still have bad relationships and bad mental health. Is that, then, success? Of course not.
Solution 1: Don’t expect to have achieved everything. We all put such high expectations on ourselves that we’d never hold others to. But winter is a time for conserving, accounting, and resting. Just as nature moves in cycles, the year before us is done now. This is a season of recovery, not punishment. We have all experienced unprecedented times and periods of isolation we couldn’t have imagined before now. In times like these it’s an achievement just to survive in a basic way – so congratulate yourself. Thank your body for carrying you to the new year, and thank your spirit for doing everything it can to endure the storm. Extend the same compassion you’d give to friends and family to yourself.
Solution 2: Everything is an achievement. Celebrate all the little things. Did the Christmas decorations look pretty? Well done! Did you have a new year clear out to give to charity? Well done! Celebrate every healthy choice you make, every kind thing you do and every little step you take. Work is a small part of true success – happiness!
2. Problem – It’s Dark, It’s Cold And The Days Are Gone Before They’re Even Here!
Everyone knows the feeling of waking up and it’s dark, getting home and it’s dark… and just a general feeling of having less time to enjoy life outside. Positivity can be hard to find. Many people get the winter blues every year, not just in Covid times. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short) affects up to 3 in 100 people. And it’s 4 times more likely to effect women.
Solution 1: If you’re really suffering from a lack of sunlight, you could consider getting a sun lamp for your room. This provides light just like that of the sun to boost your mood.
Solution 2: Winter has a bad rep. It has a unique beauty and is an essential stage in the cycle of life. Wrap yourself up as warm as you can and get out into nature. Make sure to notice the differences in the winter landscape and all the beauty to be found in this stage of mother nature’s life. A great way to do this practically is to take pictures on your phone of different things about winter you find beautiful.
Solution 3: Embrace cosiness. The new year does dawn cold, yes, but take advantage of the season to get snuggly! String some fairy lights, grab a fluffy blanket and some cocoa. Appreciate the feeling of warmth and safety while the weather rages outside.
3. Problem: Fear That This Year Nothing Will Change. That There Is No ‘New Year, New You’
Many people’s biggest fear (whether they realise it or not) is that they don’t have the capacity to change. That all the things they don’t like about themselves are fixed points. The phrase ‘new year, new you’ is thrown around in marketing like a beach ball this time of year. Everything around seems designed to tell you that the ‘you’ of last year isn’t good enough. Isn’t fit enough. Isn’t healthy enough. Isn’t productive enough. You are always good enough. At your worst you are good enough.
Solution: Don’t make plans, write down desires. What would you like to be different this year and how are you going to achieve it? Don’t put pressure on yourself. Don’t say things like ‘by July I need to have done this, this and this. Don’t make wild lists of all the things you must do to be a better person. You can’t ‘fail’ at making your life better. It’s not an exam! Every little step is progress and every mistake is just a path you know you can block off now. Make a list of the experiences you want to have and the areas of your most important resource (yourself) you want to change, without the chance of having tasks to ‘fail’ at.
What’s Your Best Way To Beat New Year Blues? Let Us Know Your Tips!
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