The new year can bring up a slew of mixed emotions for many of us. Some of us might feel hopeful and excited for a fresh start, while others might feel overwhelmed and anxious.
For those of us who suffer from anxiety, the new year can feel like a rollercoaster that will end in disaster. All this “new year, new me” and “resolutions” talk often feels like we’re supposed to just magically become new and improved versions of ourselves, and when our brains are already working non-stop, this just kicks the anxiety into high gear. We start by thinking of all the things we want to change. Drink more water, eat less carbs, make more money. This leads to why have I spent the last 20 years not drinking enough water, eating less carbs, and making more money? Then soon enough we enter the downward spiral to holyshitimafailure-ville but not without first stopping off at wtfamidoingwithmylife? and whyamisopuffy?!
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. As I’ve been working on my mental health over the past few months, the new year has (for the first time) felt a little more hopeful. I want to share some healthy habits I’ve incorporated into my routine in the hope that this might help my fellow anxiety sufferers in the new year.
1. Stop the judgement
This has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to stop doing. We need to stop judging ourselves. If we happen to create goals and don’t meet them, it doesn’t mean we are failures. Every time we criticize ourselves, we slowly chip away at our confidence. This eventually leads to sadness and depression. Instead, let’s acknowledge our successes. Even the most minor success like eating breakfast should be acknowledged. You’ll find that this really helps boost your mood.
Trust me — I never thought I could do it either but with practice and patience, it’s definitely possible. When you’re an anxious person, your mind is constantly working overtime and it’s hard to imagine it ever stopping. But when it does, even for one minute, it feels amazing. A great app help you learn how to meditate is Headspace. It has some adorable animations that walk you through how to listen to your surroundings and breathe.
It seems like such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference. Those of us with anxiety are extremely tense most of the time. Taking 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed to do some light stretches helps ease our muscle tension and gives our bodies a sense of calm.
4. Be ok with saying no
This is another one I still struggle with. It’s a little more difficult because for some of us, the root of our anxiety stems from our need to constantly please. We put so much effort into making sure everyone else is happy but often forget about ourselves. Sometimes what we need is time alone, and that’s ok. It’s ok to put our needs above anything else. We don’t have to go out for drinks with friends or spend time with family if we don’t want to. They won’t hate us if we don’t. They will understand.
5. Be patient
Anxiety isn’t something that ever fully goes away. It has a way of showing up unannounced and ruining your mood. Just remember to be patient with yourself and breathe. Remember that you’ve been through worse and made it through. It will get easier over time. You’re doing your best.
I hope these tips can help make your new year slightly easier and a little more enjoyable.
And let’s try to be nicer to ourselves as we work on our journey to calm <3
If you have any tips on dealing with anxiety in the new year, feel free to share in the comments. 🙂