Alongside the hope and optimism the New Year brings, January can also be a time of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety for many. Despite having the luxury of warm weather and long days (unlike our friends in the northern hemisphere), the start of the year can be struggle for various reasons. Returning from a holiday can raise questions about your happiness at work. The promise of a “fresh start” can induce anxiety about your personal direction. Sometimes all it takes is the shock of the new digit on our calendars (yes, it’s really 2018) to trigger fear about how quickly time seems to be passing. These are all valid reactions, but fortunately there are a few things that can help put them at ease. Here are our 6 tips for beating the New Year blues.
1. Look after your health
If you ask us, a holiday isn’t a holiday without a certain amount of overeating, social drinking and remaining firmly planted in one place (preferably in a hammock). But overindulging and avoiding exercise can have a toll on your physical and mental health, both of which can make it harder to ease back into your routine.
In the early weeks of the New Year, making a few small healthy changes can help kick start a year of good habits. Making an effort to eat well, sleep well, and keep up a good exercise routine can improve your physical and mental wellbeing, which should help keep the New Year blues at bay.
2. Make a change
Returning to routine after time off work is always going to be hard. If there’s a job that’s more appealing than laying on the beach or spending time with loved ones, we’d like to apply! But this feeling should fade as you return to your routine. If it doesn’t, it might be a sign that it’s time for change.
If returning to work after time off has made you realise that you are unhappy in your routine, now is the time to take action. Take the time and care to isolate what it is that is making you unhappy and tackle it head on. If you’re looking for a change of routine, challenging new experiences and a new purpose, perhaps consider applying to volunteer overseas.
3. Plan your next break
It might be a weekend away, it might be your next overseas adventure, but planning your next break (even if it is just a dream trip) can bridge the gap between now and then. While it’s important to live in the moment, having something to look forward to can help get you through the difficult days.
If you’re not sure where to go next, why not sign up for an Encounter trip to Timor-Leste or Samoa in 2018? We’ll be taking small groups for two-week tours in March, May, and September. Find out more and register your place on our website.
4. Make goals
It’s a bit of a cliché, but making realistic, measurable goals for the year ahead is a great way to get excited about starting the New Year, and can inspire long-term positive changes along the way.
Just like professional goals, creating personal goals helps us consciously work towards achieving the things we want, rather than just “getting through the year” and wondering where the time went. Goals keep us in the present while working towards the future.
Choose goals that are simple and achievable, and understand your intention. If your goal is to travel more, for example, understand why you want to. This will make it easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling to achieve.
When going through a challenging or thought-provoking period, journaling can become an outlet for your frustrations, and can help you deal with emotional challenges. It’s also a great way to look back and see how you’ve grown or changed over the year. Life is a learning process, and journaling can keep you conscious and connected.
6. Go easy on yourself
Life is a balance, full of ups and downs. If you’re feeling uneasy about entering the New Year, try to remember that the feeling will pass to make way for the positive experiences to come. Practice self-care, and do what you need to do to start the New Year in a good place.