End of Year Anxiety: 4 Tips on Coping with Your Mental Health
Pop the champagne and gather all your friends and family to say farewell to a year well-spent, while ushering in the new year… This should feel delightful, right? After all, we’re celebrating!
As it turns out, New Years Eve actually spikes anxiety symptoms for a lot of people. The closing of the year invites us to reflect — and that reflection isn’t always positive especially if we are socially isolated.
The end of the year can be a tricky time for everyone, and particularly for people who struggle with anxiety, and depression. Here are some ways that may help cope with anxiety and focus on the positive as we move into the new year.
Focus on the Positive
While some of us will be able to reflect with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, it’s also easy to feel that no matter what you’ve accomplished this year, it’s never enough. Patterns of repetitive negative thinking, keep us doubting ourselves rather than looking forward to the new year. If you find yourself dwelling on regret or self-criticism, it can be a good idea to take a step back and examine your thought patterns. Think of small, attainable steps you can take every day to move towards positive action and away from negative thoughts.
Connect with People
From a practical standpoint, reach out to people, even if that is a phone or video call. Many people are feeling alone and isolated, and most will be happy to receive a hello from a long-lost friend or acquaintance. Having some regular time to be able to talk, even video, with others is important, especially if you are living alone. We are social beings, and from the time we are born, seek human faces to look at. Being deprived of that through quarantine or stay at home measures takes a heavy toll over an extended period of time. Seeking social contact, even if not in person, can help reduce the damaging isolation that triggers worsening depression, anxiety, and other serious health issues.
Nurture Your Health
Eat healthier. It’s ok to enjoy an occasional treat, but the bulk of your diet should be healthier foods. Make sure you are getting adequate protein. Often our stress eating overloads us on salty, sugary fatty foods with little nutritional value. Try to counteract that by planning a healthy diet, even if you fill in with some snacks here and there.
Move Your Body
It’s tempting to fall into the couch or comfy chair in front of a screen for hours. It’s easy and tempting but not healthy. Set an alarm or just practice getting up at least once an hour and move around for at least 10-15 minutes. March in place, walk around, take deep breaths, or just swing your arms. Even taking time to practice deep breathing or relaxation exercises can help.
Be careful of what you feed your brain. Limit your exposure to panic and anger-inducing television and the internet. Watch things that make you smile (comedies) or dramas that offer some escape. Shows that challenge your brain (game shows) can also be helpful.
This New Year’s Eve, allow yourself to reflect without judgement, and simply enjoy where — and who — you are. Let’s focus on small, practical commitments and practice them kindly.