The start of a New Year is synonymous with the creation of new habits, drastic self-improvement and the famous New Year’s resolutions. Many people see the 1st of January as a fresh start and the opportunity to make significant changes to their lifestyle and wellbeing.
While making healthy lifestyle changes is a positive thing, the pressure of the ‘New Year, New Me’ narrative can be overwhelming for some people. Some people may set unrealistic goals and expectations for themselves, resulting in disappointment and feelings of failure when they are not able to achieve them right away.
January simply might not be a good time for making any changes, due to work commitments, family responsibilities or other factors. There are multiple reasons which may cause a person to feel pressure and stress associated with the New Year and the expectations that follow.
Below are some ideas to help manage this stress and avoid feeling overwhelmed, disappointed or burned out as you head into the new year.
Set Realistic Goals or Resolutions
You don’t need to make a lengthy, ambitious list of resolutions to achieve your goals. Starting small with minor improvements and just one or two resolutions means you are much more likely to succeed. Instead of aiming to run a marathon or lose a huge amount of weight, why not commit to one country walk each week? Or 30 mins of activity two or three times a week?
Once you have achieved your smaller goal, you can set your sights on increasing your activity and achieving bigger goals when you feel ready. There is no rush - every small step towards a healthier lifestyle counts!
Focus on Routine
If you are feeling stressed as the New Year begins, routine can be a great way to help reduce these negative feelings and improve your wellbeing. Getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours) is key, as well as eating a balanced diet across 3 meals a day.
Something as small as going to bed early and getting up early each morning can help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. This will help you to feel a lot more capable of managing the New Year stress.
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Puro 5-HTP contains an amino acid found in protein rich foods which acts a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical within the brain that is associated with improved mood and feelings of well being. Incorporating this supplement can help boost mood during those stressful January days where you may feel overwhelmed.
Avoid Fad Diets
Many people assume that new habits mean drastic results and unrealistic goals when in reality, this is very difficult to sustain long-term. Fad diets may promise to help you lose a significant amount of body fat in a short period of time but we would ask everyone to be wary of extreme diets that could compromise your overall health.
Food is intended to fuel your body and severely restricting your food intake can have unwanted mood and health implications. It can lead to binging, low energy, a poor relationship with food and in extreme cases, disordered eating. Why not swap fad diets for a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg? You can eat healthier foods and still eat enough to prove the energy you need for an active lifestyle.
If you are seeking further help regarding weight loss or your relationship with food, we suggest you speak to a health professional.
We have a whole blog post dedicated to the benefits of meditation and it is an extremely useful tool for combatting that New Year stress. One of the biggest benefits of practicing meditation is that it can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Meditation is effective for calming a busy mind, which would be a likely symptom for someone experiencing worry around the pressure of a New Year. It has even been found to be as effective in reducing anxiety as prescription medications! And even better, it is super-accessible and a portable tool which you can use in any situation.
Be Kind to Yourself
As you approach New Year, you may be feeling pressure from the outside world to make drastic changes and achieve unrealistic goals. That is why it is so important to not place any additional pressure on yourself - now is the time to be kind to yourself.
It is perfectly okay if you don’t want to set any new goals or resolutions, you have 364 more days in the year to make a change if you’re not feeling up to it on January 1st. You may already be happy with your current lifestyle choices and not wish to change anything.
You may also have additional stress at this time of year and do not feel in the right frame of mind to take on anymore challenges. If this is the case, focus on being patient with yourself, taking care of your basic needs and prioritising your well being in a way that works for you without becoming overwhelmed.
These are just some ways in which you can manage the stress of an impending New Year. Whether you have some resolutions in mind or you’d rather sit this one out, New Year doesn’t have to be the time for huge change if you don’t want it to be. Don’t compare yourself to others - try and look after your own well being with these small steps instead.