The arrival of the New Year brings with it habits and holiday happenings that risk anxiety, loneliness, or outright depression.
While depression or anxiety can plague us many months out of the year, the holidays manage to challenge our normal routines. We might sleep less or more, eat more, or drink more alcohol, or simply have our routine schedules thrown off. Travel, although exciting, can also be a source of stress as well. Even visiting distant relatives, although heartwarming, can present an intensity that is demanding.
Here’s the secret: choose your four letter acronyms carefully! Go YOLO not FOMO.
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – Just like the iconic holiday tune, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” – rarely is there more anxiety surrounding a particular evening that New Year’s Eve. You begin to wonder “is everyone else planning a fabulous night out? Am I the
only one not making any plans or going to any incredible parties?” And then suddenly, here you are. December 31st. Time is up. The fear of missing out can suddenly stretch into a full-on examination of what we’ve actually accomplished all year, and where we have fallen short? As much as we’d like, we cannot stretch out 2015, bargain for more time, or procrastinate any longer.
Our fear of missing out could be perceived or real. There are lots of what-ifs that swirl around in our minds, and perhaps even keep us up at night. What if we only had reached our target weight, or landed that quintessential job, or found our ideal mate? Or, we may have had real losses: a beloved family member, a special partner, or a long time pet. We now reflect on what life was like with them, and what life will be like without them.
Turn it around.
YOLO (You Only Live Once) – To thine own self be true. Everyone is unique, and so too are our desires, needs, and fulfillments. We have but one passage through this lifelong journey…make it your own. Take time to reflect on what works for you, and what might be missing. How is your life balance with work and time off? Maybe you need more alone time. Maybe you need to branch out, and spend more time with friends. Take a long hard look inward, and upgrade. If you don’t, who will? We talk about the desirability of local, sustainable, and responsible. Why can’t that start within?
Here are some simple tips for your next resolution:
What’s really important? Some things are pressing because they seem immediate and are directly in front of us. It takes long-term vision to see past what appears to be urgent, to what is in our best interest in the long run. What goal or intention can we set in 2016 that gets us one step further along in our long-term objectives?
Be concise and specific. A goal of “to be a better person” is tougher to reflect on at the
end of a long year and to truly decipher if you’ve accomplished this or not. What about making this even more specific? For instance, “every time I want to yell, I walk away and cool down for a few minutes first”? That is much more tangible, and likely to have real-time results that can impact your daily life, as well as perhaps your blood pressure.
Some resolutions might stretch our limits. However, simply setting a resolution apparently makes it 10 times more likely that you will attain your goals over people who don’t explicitly make resolutions at all. Doing this makes us grow personally, professionally, and emotionally. Staying mindful well past January 1st of the goals and intentions we have set can be hard work. But go ahead and give yourself some credit. You can do this.
New things take time. Recall that you did not have smooth sailing the first time you attempted to ride a bike. You had to fall, brush yourself off, and get back on there. But don’t give up, or give in to the myth that it should only take you 21 days to form a new habit. The science behind how long it takes the brain to embrace a new behavior is considerably longer than just three weeks. So give yourself a break and don’t harshly judge yourself if you haven’t completely embraced a new behavior in such a short time. Staying on track – or getting back on track – is a process, not an event.
If your goal seems lofty or inappropriate after setting out, don’t be afraid to modify. Life throws curve balls, so we need to adjust our stance, readiness, and aim.
Be real. Make the NEXT right move. Don’t worry about the next 20 moves. You can have a strategy, but just like the game of chess, you cannot predict what counter action will be before you. Hang in there. Persevere.
From all of us at United Patients Group, we wish you happiness, health and all the days to enjoy it – not just now but all year long! Happy New Year!