Some people party all December, and dominate the New Year. It’s not that easy for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be that way.Added pressure, be it financial or social, can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Fewer hours of daylight, fewer trips to the gym, and ridiculous food choices can also play a role in leaving some feeling depressed and drained by the time it’s all over.
And with one year ending and a new one beginning, you may feel down about having been unhappy or unsuccessful over the past year.
For me, the holidays would start with an almost manic mood of happiness and excitement, which would peak around Christmas, and come crashing down soon after.
When the presents were opened, the turkey consumed, and the endless dinners, parties, and visits with friends all over, there was nothing left to look forward to except three months of darkness, and the guilt of having gone another year without fulfillment or happiness. My most vicious bouts of depression often took place in late December/early January, and I’m not alone.
But these heightened emotions and transitional period are also very powerful. Paradoxically, my greatest moments of realization, and my greatest leaps forward in life have often also come right after the holidays.
The transition to a new year, setting resolutions, and that feeling of rebirth or change is so powerful for one simple reason- at this time of year we feel it’s okay to change. We’re entitled to try new things, to create a “new” you. Yes, a lot of that feeling is related to marketing/advertising, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage.
Big changes can be difficult partly because we’re afraid to present something different to our friends, co-workers, and ourselves. We have a psychological acceptance of transition surrounding the new year, which can help you feel okay about things that feel frightening or weird at first. For example, trying to sell not drinking anymore to yourself, or your friends, is going to be easier on January 1st than on July 1st.
Enjoy December, but if you’ve got stuff you’re looking to tackle in the next year, try and set the stage for success. Here’s a few simple tips:
-Lower your expectations a bit, and save a couple bucks for January. The more you hype December, often, the worse January will feel. Try to make every month great.
- If you’ve been putting off getting back to the gym waiting for January 1st, or anything else, take some pressure off by getting started early. I start any “new year’s” resolutions on Dec. 27th. I feel like I’m getting a head start and it gives me confidence going forward.
-Be careful about advertising. It fucks with your head, and around Christmas, it gets crazy. Watch less TV, use an adblocker when appropriate, anything to cut down on constantly seeing (fake) people having a (fake) better time than you.
-As mentioned, the holidays are a time of heightened emotions. Try not to bury them too much with food and booze. We all love to indulge, but sometimes the feelings we get this time of year is something inside you trying to be heard. Painful as it can be, try to listen. You might get some valuable insight that can help you in the coming year.
Enjoy the holidays whatever you choose to do. If nothing else, we should try and remember that charity, spending more time with friends and family, and making positive changes are things we can do all year round.