Christmas & New Year
Give yourself time in January…
At a time when we are all feeling weary and exhausted from a challenging 2020 and 2021, January is a good time to reset, meet needs and take care of ourselves. Emotional Needs and Resources trainer Penny Tyndale-Hardy explores how we can come out in spring feeling healthy, rested and well.
New Year, New You – this is the pressure that we often feel as the old year comes to an end. January brings an expectation that we will all charge out and set New Year’s resolutions, declutter, get fit and grab hold of our lives by the scruff of the neck.
Stop. Breathe. It is not necessary to leap into setting over-ambitious goals. For true wellbeing we want our lives to work in balance, at a manageable pace – where we are reflective and tuned into meeting our needs. Swinging wildly from excessive indulgence to excessive activity is not sustainable for wellbeing.
Instead, let January be a time of reflection. We want to meet our needs in balance and the Christmas period can be a bit unbalancing even without a pandemic to swing the scales further. What we need now is to recentre ourselves and come at things with consideration and a clear head.
So how do we start? January is a really great time to reflect and check in with yourselves with an Emotional Needs Survey – what needs are being met well right now and what might you want to look at doing differently? Spending time considering this can give great insight into where the balance is at the moment and where your priorities for wellbeing are.
With the holiday expectations behind us we have more autonomy and control over what we choose to do – but many of us are returning to work which can feel a bit dismal. January is still a dark, cold month and our energy levels will be lower at this time of year. Take control by looking at ways of building in enrichment and nurturing time and getting back into healthy routines that meet your needs.
Reflect on how you are using your attention capacity. As we move away from what can be a very sociable time, we may have been giving and receiving more attention than usual. Think now about how to direct our attention in ways that balance and ground us.
The unusual activities over Christmas can often reveal imbalances in our everyday lives – some of us have thrived on all the extra activity and are feeling its loss – or maybe Christmas has been a lonely time that has made you feel more cut off. If so, are there ways to engage in a community by picking up a new hobby or revisiting old ones? Or perhaps it’s a relief to have a bit of space and time back – in this case, notice the space you now have and find time to build in privacy and reflection into your everyday life.
Now is a really useful time to bring our thoughts back to basics and how we meet our physical needs. Overindulgence is better countered by building balance back into our habits. Taking regular movement – whatever it is – will help us relax more easily and lift our mood. Noticing and prioritising our sleep as we move back into a routine can help us feel more refreshed and able to face each day.
In a time of reflection, it is appropriate to consider the year ahead and think about things you may want to achieve. Meeting our need for achievement helps us feel stretched and challenged and definitely keeps us feeling mentally strong. But setting over-ambitious targets usually ends in disappointment and feeling a lack of achievement. If you want to set goals – and these can be very helpful – make sure they are positive, achievable and consider how they will create balance and purpose in your life.
In short, January is a time to give yourself breathing space, especially after the challenges of 2021 and not being certain of what 2022 will bring. There is a whole year ahead of you and if you stay focused on meeting your needs in balance and giving yourself time and space to achieve your goals you will emerge into the spring feeling energised, positive and ready for anything.
Author: Ellie Winch
Supporting you through the festive period
For some, Christmas may be filled with much excitement, but for others, Christmas can be a stressful time, prompting them to seek help with stress, anxiety, depression and other difficult feelings. Our Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, Ezra Hewing provides you with this advice to help you better cope with the festive period.
Christmas is a time of year when you can get key emotional needs met – spending time with people we care about is great for our needs for emotional connection and attention. However, not everyone feels the same way and may be lacking in needs like privacy, time for yourself and control over the festive period.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, so here are five tips to help you during Christmas.
- We may feel as though we must go out to every Christmas event that people invite us to which can sometimes be overwhelming. So instead have a think about the relationships that are the healthiest and which mean the most to you (don’t ever share that list with anyone by the way) and choose which events you really feel able to go to.
- It can be very busy if you’re hosting guests, getting caught up in the rush of things, cooking, wrapping presents…. the list goes on. Why not book some time in for just you, to meet your need for privacy? Be free from distractions too – people, your mobile phone and dare I say it, Christmas songs. This will help you to calm down and relax during the festive season.
- Surviving the new year sales – advertisers are very skilled at getting us to spend money that we don’t have on things that we don’t need. Before you spend money that will leave you without during January and possibly February too – ask yourself do you really need this? This will help with your need for control once the Christmas period is over.
- It’s easy to find ourselves slumped in front of the screen, stuffed with food, finding it difficult to move and beginning to feel a little lethargic and low in mood. Book a time with yourself every day, and perhaps with other people too, to wrap up warm and go out for a walk, to lift your mood and get moving again. Moving is so important for good mental wellbeing.
- Meaning and purpose is an incredibly important emotional need. One way of getting meaning and purpose is for doing things for other people. Perhaps you could give away things you don’t need after Christmas to charities and those who are less advantaged or maybe you’ll get involved in volunteering. Suffolk Mind has a number of volunteering opportunities you can get involved in, click here for more details.
Author: Ellie Winch