At the end of every year, it seems as though everyone is all about ringing in the New Year with tons of joy and excitement of what’s to come. All around you, friends and loved ones are bringing up New Years resolutions and plans. Although it can be exhilarating, it can also be incredibly exhausting.
Today, we’re going to explore how the holidays and New Years may bring you stress, exhaustion, and anxiety. If you have a different reaction than those around you, there’s no need to worry – you’re not alone.
New Years Brings New Emotions
To many, the whirlwind of the holiday ends with the culmination of the past year disappearing while another new one is rapidly appearing. It comes and goes far too quickly and – through all the fun, fantastical times of the holidays – another emotion might be brewing underneath the façade of fleeting happiness: anxiety.
Over 80% of US adults feel the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. ¹ Between the shopping, the presents, the family, friends, and the need to make for just a perfect, it can be exhausting and completely draining. And add onto it the fact that there is an overwhelming pressure to try and reexamine oneself and the year they just existed in tacked on hastily at the end, it’s only understandable why we’re stressed around the holidays.
Over 20% of Americans feel that New Years is unnecessary and over 50% feel more stress, worry, and anxiety with every passing year. ² ³
So, whether or not we want to admit it, New Years does play some sort of impact in our lives. It’s the notable depiction of the passage of time, it reminds all of us that we are not invincible long lasting creatures, that we do age, and that time is limited.
However, New Years should be a time of warmth, welcoming the change in time, and coming to terms with the passage of it. We here at Bedlamite want to make New Years a more exciting and all around comforting time for our readers so let’s tackle the largest issue that comes attached to New Years: The Formidable New Years’ Resolution.
The New Years Resolution Agitation
“What’s your Resolution?” “What do you want to try and accomplish by this time next year?” “What are you going to do to make this year count?”
While the intention of these questions may come from a genuine interest, it can cause unwanted burden and stress. Trying to plan ahead is always a great idea, but for some -especially those struggling with mental illnesses – it can be anxiety inducing to plan for a future that you aren’t really sure about yet.
Of course, a lot of people have lofty goals for new years and that’s great – we always encourage you to dream big. However, for those that might feel that New Years Agitation, creating unrealistic or unaccomplishable goals can only hinder someone who is trying to work on themselves or gain a healthier mental state.
Our hope is that you aren’t feeling this undue burden of trying to adjust to a New Year that hasn’t come yet. And if you are, we want to provide some options for trying to combat New Years Agitation and gain a new perspective. Not just for the holiday season, but also your own interaction with the holidays and its wonderful traditions.
Fixing The Fear & Looking Forward
One of the beauties of New Years is the fact that we can look back on a year spent, relive our experiences and learn from them in order to move on to the next year with a fresh outlook. However, what if this just wasn’t your year?
The anxiety of trying to extract something from this past year can become overwhelming. Add to that the concept of trying to plan ahead to accomplish something by the end of this year and we can all start to better comprehend how this holiday season can be so difficult.
Fixing the fear isn’t to find some magical cure to the anxiety you might be feeling, it’s to put that fear into a more rounded perspective and be able to come to peace with the transition of time. In order to to fix this apprehension, it’s vital to understand the fear for what it is: it’s the clashing of the known and the unknown.
Dealing With The Clash
The year that has been spent is a comfortable place that has a beginning, middle, and end. Meanwhile the new year that’s fast approaching is the complete opposite of that equation: nothing is set in stone, nothing is known, and there is nothing familiar with it.
Also with a new years comes the new generation of cyclical patterns that may be daunting to go through all over again: the changes of seasons, another tax season, birthdays, school and work sessions, weddings, funerals – they all come back around again and again.
This cyclical nature to the patterns of our day to day lives can be incredibly intimidating to those that struggle with anxiety and stress disorders, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) or acute stress response (ASR). Although some might find comfort in a routine, in a cyclical pattern of life, there are those that find these patterns to be more daunting than expected and the best way to combat this stress is to plan accordingly.
Combating New Years Agitation: Preparation and Patience
Combating against the New Years agitation has a relatively simplistic sounding solution and that is to plan and prepare according to your specific needs. This doesn’t just mean writing dates and documenting meetings and plans, mentally and emotionally preparing to take on a New Years takes extra work.
Extra work may include but is not limited to:
1.) Re-evaluating Needs & Setting Realistic Goals
A lot of people find that the New Years is a time to try new things, to take a risk that you have been putting off or to do something you haven’t done before. Although that’s a brave and exciting adventure to go on, its also okay to have simpler, more realistic goals or plans for your new years.
Creating goals that are practical, understandable, and achievable is going to last longer than taking an impulse decision or action that might seem more exciting in the long term. Creating impactful changes in your everyday life is just as brave as jumping out of a plane – it’s just on a smaller, more personal scale.
Reevaluating your mental, emotional, and/or physical needs can go hand-in-hand with setting your future goals in that knowing your needs can inform what you would like to achieve by the end of the new year. For example, if you feel that you don’t have a strong support team, it might be necessary to either be more open with those that are close with you or seek out more trusted and caring individuals in which you can lean on to aid in times that are good and bad.
2.) Being Open With Loved Ones
If you are truly trying to improve yourself and perhaps improve your well-being, it’s imperative to try and establish a support team to help you stick to your goal and help you in times of struggle and doubt.
When finding support, it’s important to have people that are you can be open with about issues that are bothering you, finding those who will listen and answer questions with impartiality. It’s key that if you are suffering from a mental disorder that you seek qualified mental health services to adequately treat any underlying issue and have a support team that can help you at home to keep you on the path to recovery.
Unfortunately, it’s common to find obstacles during this process. It’s important to keep your needs in check, understand your boundaries, and what traps you might fall into when relying and leaning on someone else for support – especially if it’s someone close to you. It might be necessary to only trust a handful of people with sensitive information regarding your mental and physical health.
If you are trying to remove negative or harmful influences in your life in order to obtain and achieve a healthier lifestyle, it might be necessary to cut ties with members of your circle of friends and loved ones that might be engage or promoting that negative influence or behavior. While this is a difficult decision it might also be your most crucial and lifesaving sacrifice of losing friends in order to ensure your resolution becomes your desired reality.
3.) Healthier Coping Mechanisms: A Search for Soothing of the Soul
Annually, there are millions of Americans that pledge themselves to try and quit drinking, smoking, or to lose weight. While those are all great resolutions, that’s just what they are: resolutions. When you attach a plan to accomplish that resolution, then the resolution morphs into a goal. The difficulty here is many people set goals for themselves that aren’t achievable.
In order to change a behavior, you must first find the root of why that behavior has been developed in the first place. And when it comes to the more common New Years resolutions, the angle that the goal-making that the person is trying to achieve needs to shift from a thing that needs to be stopped to a situation that needs to be handled differently.
For example, most of those that use and abuse substances use it as a coping mechanism. A way in which to deal with either stress or trauma and after a period of time that particular coping mechanism becomes a way to self-medicate or comfort someone struggling during hard times. ⁴
In another example, the majority of overweight Americans are not overweight by some sort of predetermined genetic condition and, therefore, could be gaining weight through using food as a crutch for comfort. ⁵
Of course, these are just examples. New Years resolutions are extremely personal and chances are, your case is much deeper than a blog article could define. If you do set a goal for yourself within the next year, we hope you’ll look into the root of your problem and, through that, discover a solution.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t an easy path to take and trying to change the inner recordings that we have grown accustomed to can be a trail of errors. With that said, patience is paramount.
Final Word – A Change Is A Gonna Come: How Do You Handle It?
New Years is a time for change, it’s inevitable. Like Bob Dylan once crooned, a change is a-gonna come and here it comes back round once again. And, as we have discovered here, change is a formidable thing and if you’re not prepared with the proper tools to tackle it head on, you might be left in the dust.
Finding the strength to try and improve yourself is a brave action but its also an achievable resolution if you have the proper planning, a supportive team, and the fortitude to see it through, you can move mountains.
Still have questions concerning New Years fears and agitation?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge on the topic – whether personal or professional – we’d also like to hear from you.
⁴ National Institute of Health: Chronic Stress, Drug Use and Abuse
⁵ National Institute of Health: Epidemiology of Obesity: A Big Problem