A Happy New Year?

Oooh! AaahhhThe festive / New Year period is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. Either the lights and the presents and the carols and the warmth of mulled wine and singing Auld Lang Syne lift your spirits. Or the stress and the money spent and the social situations and family get-togethers drag you down.

If you’re in the latter group there’s a few simple things you can do to make it more bearable.

Firstly: breathe!

Calmer? Good.

Secondly: Have a safe base. Somewhere you can retreat to when it all gets a bit much. Even if it’s just going to sit in the car for five minutes.

Too many hyperactive children (or adults!) or family tensions? Try going for a little walk – the fresh air and exercise will make you feel better, and you’ll get some precious time alone. It’s also the season for many ‘smellies’ given as presents – how about a long soak in the bath?

Thirdly: Remember it’ll be over just as quick as it started.

If it’s the opposite situation for you – if you feel alone at this time of year, then if you are able, get out and get busy. There’s a lot of local charities who provide meals for those who can’t afford food, and they would be grateful of another pair of hands whilst providing you with company.

We’ll be online over the Yuletide period too, so pop into the forum and say hello. Or follow us on Twitter and Tumblr.

For me, the big stresser is New Year’s Eve. I don’t like large social gatherings. I find them too noisy and ‘busy’ and prefer the company of one or two.

You may think drinking will relax you, and help you deal with it better, but alcohol is actually a depressant and can leave you feeling worse than before you started. That’s before the hangover kicks in the next day. This isn’t supposed to be a ‘drink in moderation’ lecture, but you will genuinely feel better for doing so. Alcohol can play havoc with your emotions, and if you’re feeling low already, can drag you down further.

Don’t worry what others may or may not think of you for not drinking, or only having one or two. Show people you’re having a good time; you’re not stopping them! (Or you could try my old uni trick of drinking cola and telling people, when asked, it has a vodka or similar in it.)

For many New Year’s Eve or Day is about taking stock of their life and perhaps planning ahead. The main thing to remember, is it is just a day. One day it will be Monday, the next Tuesday. Just like any other week, only this week you have to remember to start writing 2013 at the end of the date.

What I mean, is it’s not some huge momentous occasion if you don’t want it to be. Resolutions? Pah! Dwelling on the year gone by and what you have / haven’t done? No need!  Reflecting on your life and putting changes into place doesn’t have to be confined to one day a year. If you’re not in the right place emotionally, it may not be a good move. Wait until you are feeling more positive. Every day is important; every day is an opportunity to strive towards what you want and who you want to be.

If you are going to make resolutions this year, make them as open and positive as possible. Instead of ‘I’m going to join a gym’ or ‘I’ll spend less money’, how about just promising yourself to spend more time doing the things you enjoy, or giving yourself space to relax? It doesn’t have to be something you rigorously stick to (that’d defeat the object) it’s acknowledging you’re aware of the need for ‘me’ time. I find if I look after me first, the rest kinda falls into place.

Whatever your feelings about the next couple of weeks, remember we’ll  be online. Come join us in the forum to share both you positive and negative experiences. The website, of course, will be available whenever you need it, and we’re around on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook too.

Most importantly, look after you.

Rachel

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