New Year's anxiety is a common experience for many people. The start of a new year often comes with pressure to set and achieve new goals, change old habits, and improve oneself, which can feel overwhelming and stressful. Additionally, the ongoing lay-offs and economic volatility adds an extra layer of uncertainty and stress.
We've put together a list of simple but yet effective ways that can help you maintain a positive outlook and stay motivated;
Be kind to yourself: Be mindful of your self-talk and try to avoid being too harsh on yourself. Recognise that it's normal to have setbacks and it's ok to not be 'perfect' all the time. "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness, care, and understanding to ourselves that we would give to others." - Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneering researcher found that being kind and understanding towards ourselves when we make mistakes, fail or experiencing suffering, and recognising that suffering and personal inadequacies is a universal human experience. Rather than being self-critical or ignoring our pain, self-compassion involves taking a balanced and honest approach to our negative emotions so that we can take care of ourselves when we need it the most.
Practice gratitude: Taking the time to appreciate the good things in your life, no matter how small they may be, can help boost your mood and motivation. You can practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal or sharing positive thoughts with loved ones. According to Melody Beattie "Gratitude turns what we have into enough." By acknowledging and appreciating the things we have, it can help us to focus on the present moment and reduce feelings of dissatisfaction.
Set realistic and achievable goals: Dr. Edwin Locke, a prominent psychologist who is considered a pioneer in the field of goal-setting theory, found that setting realistic and achievable goals can help you feel a sense of purpose and direction. When setting goals, make sure to focus on things you can control, and break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Studies found that people who followed this method, were much more likely to achieve their goals.
Prioritise self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining both physical and mental well-being. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly and take time to relax and unwind. "Self-care is an act of love for yourself. It's about taking the time to give yourself the love and attention you deserve." This quote by Brené Brown, a well-known researcher highlights the notion that self-care is a form of self-love and self-compassion. It emphasises the importance of taking the time to focus on oneself and make sure one's own needs are met, rather than constantly putting the needs of others first. Self-care is a vital component of maintaining a balanced and happy life. By practicing self-care, we can create a better inner well-being.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can be a helpful tool for reducing anxiety and stress. You can practice mindfulness by paying attention to your breath, focusing on the present moment and allowing thoughts and feelings to pass by without getting caught up in them. "The little things? The little moments? They aren't little." This quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneering figure in the field of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), emphasises the idea that mindfulness, or paying attention to the present moment, is important in recognising the value and significance of the small, often overlooked aspects of daily life. By being mindful, we can be more present in our lives, more engaged and attentive to what is happening around us, and more able to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary.
Social Media detox: Taking a social media detox, or a break from social media platforms, can be beneficial for both physical and mental well-being. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation, improve sleep quality and productivity and can help you to reconnect with people and activities. Additionally, it can help you with taking back control of your time and attention, reduce stimulation and distractions that social media can provide and give your mind a break. "The need to constantly 'check in' and see what others are doing is driven by our fear of missing out (FOMO) and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety." This quote by Sherry Turkle, a well-known psychologist, author, highlights the negative effects of social media can have on one's mental well-being. She suggests that excessive use of social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety and that taking a social media detox can help you to reduce these feelings and improve your overall well-being.
Reach out to others: Strong social support is a powerful tool for staying positive and motivated. Don't hesitate to reach out to friends and family, or even consider talking to a therapist or life coach. This can help you process and cope with your feelings in a healthy way."Having a strong social support is like having a safety net underneath us. It is the feeling of being surrounded by people who care about us and will help us when we need it." This quote by Karen Reivich, a well-known psychologist emphasises that having a strong social support network can have a positive impact on mental and physical health, by reducing stress, promoting coping and resilience and overall improving the quality of life.
Remember that you have the power to shape your own experience of the new year. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and anxious, try to approach it with a sense of curiosity and excitement. And, If you ever feel overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take a step back and focus on self-care.
Below is a list of apps we recommend to help you achieve a positive and stress-free 2023.
Headspace is everyday mindfulness and meditation, so you can make mindfulness a daily habit and be kind to your mind. Learn how to relax, manage stress, find your focus, and release tension in both the mind and body
Live Happy this app is based on positive psychology. It prompts you to engage in a range of activities, which research has shown can boost your mood. It includes goal-setting, living in the present, thinking about your best possible self and many more features
Betterhelp app is an affordable way to access professional therapy with a licensed therapist (of your choice) in the privacy and comfort of your own home
Dream.ON is an app which monitors your sleep cycle via your level of movement through the night. It provides music to influence your sleep and you can set it to be woken during the optimum part of your sleep cycle
Brain.fm provides music designed for the brain (generated by AI) to improve focus, meditation, relaxation, naps & sleep within 15 minutes
Canva is an easy to use graphic design and video editing tool. This is a great app for creating a vision board to set goals and intentions for the year ahead
Trullo is a web-based, list-making application which is a powerful tool for keeping on top of career and life tasks. It will help you organise your tasks, set reminders, manage deadlines, and much more
Couch to 5K healthy changes start with little changes. Whether you want to lose weight, get more active or improve your mood, this app will help you
Steps did you know you should (on average) walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day? This can be a challenging goal when working a desk-based job. This app uses the built-in sensor to count your steps, which can help you keep track and motivate you to get outside and get 'your steps in'