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New Year Blues

Coping Strategies for the New Year Blues

Feb 17, 2023

The new year blues can be a challenging time for many individuals. The post-holiday season can bring about feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. This blog post will explore the causes of the new year blues and provide practical coping strategies to help manage these emotions. By implementing self-care practices, setting achievable goals, prioritizing self-compassion, and seeking support, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges of the new year blues. While these emotions are normal, it’s important to recognise and manage them to prevent them from becoming overwhelming.

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The new year blues are a type of depression that can occur after the holiday season. It’s characterised by a feeling of sadness, loneliness, and emptiness that can last for several weeks. While it’s normal to feel a sense of loss after the holiday season, the new year blues can be more severe and long-lasting. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 1 in 5 Americans experience the new year blues. The survey found that financial stress, unrealistic expectations, and pressure to set resolutions were the main causes of the new year blues.

Causes of the New Year Blues

One of the main causes of the new year blues is unrealistic expectations. Many individuals set unrealistic goals and resolutions for the new year, which can lead to disappointment and feelings of failure. The holiday season can be an expensive time of year, which can lead to financial stress in the new year. This stress can be exacerbated by the pressure to buy gifts, travel, and host parties during the holiday season. The pressure to set resolutions can also contribute to the new year blues. Many individuals feel like they need to set resolutions, even if they don’t have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. This pressure can lead to feelings of anxiety and a sense of failure if they don’t achieve their goals. The return to work or school after the holiday season can also be a cause of the new year blues. After a period of rest and relaxation, the sudden return to a routine and responsibilities can be challenging and overwhelming.

Coping Strategies for the New Year Blues

Practice Self-Care

Practicing self-care is an important strategy for managing the new year blues. Self-care involves taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can help reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase your overall sense of well-being.

Here are some tips for practicing self-care:

  • Make time for yourself: It’s important to make time for yourself each day, even if it’s just a few minutes. This could involve taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, or going for a walk. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something that makes you feel good.
  • Prioritise sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help improve your mood and energy levels. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise is a powerful tool for managing stress and improving mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, such as brisk walking or cycling.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Incorporate these techniques into your daily routine to help manage the new year blues.

Remember, self-care is not selfish – it’s essential for your well-being. By making time for yourself, prioritising sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques, you can improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your overall sense of well-being.

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Set Achievable Goals

Setting achievable goals is another helpful strategy for managing the new year blues. When we’re feeling down or overwhelmed, it can be easy to feel like we’re not making progress in our lives. By setting achievable goals, we can gain a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can help boost our mood and increase our motivation. Here are some tips for setting achievable goals:

  • Be realistic: When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Avoid setting goals that are too ambitious or unrealistic, as this can lead to frustration and disappointment. Instead, focus on goals that are challenging but achievable.
  • Break goals down into smaller steps: Breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps can help you stay motivated and make progress towards your goals. Consider setting daily or weekly goals that help you work towards your larger goals.
  • Make goals specific and measurable: It’s important to make your goals specific and measurable, so that you can track your progress and celebrate your accomplishments. Instead of setting a goal to “get in shape,” for example, set a goal to go to the gym three times a week or run for 30 minutes each day.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments: Celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small, can help you stay motivated and positive. Take time to acknowledge your progress and give yourself credit for the work you’ve done.

By setting achievable goals, you can gain a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can help you to cope with the challenges of the new year. Remember to be realistic, break down larger goals into smaller steps, make goals specific and measurable, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

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Prioritise Self-Compassion

Prioritising self-compassion is an important coping strategy for managing the new year blues. It involves being kind to oneself and taking a non-judgmental approach to one’s feelings and experiences. Here are some ways to prioritise self-compassion:

Practice self-kindness: When you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Try to talk to yourself in the same way you would talk to a friend in a similar situation. Avoid being self-critical or judgmental and focus on self-acceptance and self-love.

Acknowledge your feelings: It’s important to acknowledge and validate your feelings, even if they’re difficult or uncomfortable. Recognise that it’s okay to not feel okay and that your emotions are a natural response to the challenges of the new year.

Take a non-judgmental approach: Try to take a non-judgmental approach to your thoughts and emotions. Instead of labelling them as “good” or “bad,” simply observe them without judgment. This can help you to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and reduce the impact of negative self-talk.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice that involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can be a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety, and can help you to develop a greater sense of self-compassion. Try incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, into your daily routine.

By prioritising self-compassion, you can learn to be kinder to yourself and develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance. This can help you to cope with the challenges of the new year and improve your overall well-being.

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Seek Support

Seeking support is an important part of coping with the new year blues. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to not be okay and to seek help when needed. If feelings of depression, stress, or anxiety become overwhelming, it’s important to reach out for support.

Talking to a friend or family member can be a good first step in seeking support. Simply having someone to talk to and share your feelings with can be a great source of comfort and support.

However, if you’re finding it difficult to cope on your own or if your symptoms are severe, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, such as therapists or counsellors, can help you to identify and manage the underlying causes of your symptoms. They can also provide you with coping strategies and tools to help you manage your emotions.

Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage to reach out for support, but doing so can help you to feel better and improve your overall well-being. If you’re not sure where to turn for help, talk to your doctor or mental health professional for guidance on finding appropriate resources in your area.

The new year blues can be a challenging time for many individuals. However, by practicing self-care, setting achievable goals, prioritising self-compassion, and seeking support, individuals can successfully manage their emotions and navigate the challenges of the new year. Remember to be kind to oneself and take things one day at a time.

Richard Kellow

Richard Kellow

Richard is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and Virtual Gastric Band Practitioner based in Rotorua in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty. With his personal experience and training from the UK, US, and New Zealand, Richard is a living testament to the power of hypnosis.

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