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Entering the New Year with Balance: Navigating the Blues without Overwhelming Goal Setting

As the holiday season fades away and we step into a new year and the month of January, many of us find ourselves grappling with the "January blues." The transition from the festive cheer to the routine of everyday life can be challenging, and the pressure to set ambitious goals for the new year can add to the stress. However, while it's a symbolic time and by the calendar we are conditioned to enter the year by setting goals and reflecting on the prior year. Quite often this stirs up a lot of heavy feelings for many reasons but most commonly being that we haven't ticked off all the goals that we initially wanted to achieve.

It's crucial to approach this month with a balanced mindset and to avoid overwhelming ourselves with unrealistic expectations. In this blog post, we'll explore effective ways to deal with the January blues while maintaining a healthy perspective on goal setting.

Reminder: You don't know how the year will begin, plan out in the middle or end so be gentle on yourself.

Reflect on achievements:

Before diving into a sea of new goals, take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. Celebrate your personal milestones, big and small, and acknowledge the progress you've made from this time last year to now, what do you notice? This self reflection can provide a sense of fulfilment and boost your confidence as you enter a new year.

Set realistic intentions:

Rather than getting caught up in the pressure of what is on social media, scrolling endlessly seeing everyone else's goals, travel plans, getting engaged, married, having children, buying their first car or home. Acknowledge that everyone's best version or snippet or their life is shared online, did they share their journey to having their first child or the struggles they faced before getting married?

It's easy to get caught up in the rat race of social media and before you know it you are sat feeling empty, not good enough, as though you aren't at the stage of life that you hoped you would be at and you feel overwhelmed by the amount you have to do.

Let's not put that kind of pressure on yourself, let's look at what you want to achieve not feel you have to accomplish goals because they have become trends or it looks cool for someone else. Dig deep, what do you really want to achieve? It's important to focus on setting realistic intentions by breaking down your goals into smaller, manageable steps that can be achieved gradually. This approach not only makes your objectives more attainable but also prevents the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of tasks to complete before achieving your goal.

Live Mindfully and Embrace the Present Moment:

January blues often stem from a sense of nostalgia for the holiday season or anxiety about the future. You are looking back or looking ahead and struggling to be present. Remember there is a reason why when driving you have to look out of the windscreen more than the rear view mirrors. Combat these feelings by practicing mindfulness and embracing the present moment. Engage in activities that bring you joy and foster a positive outlook day to day. It might be going for a mindful walk taking in all the sights around you, without usage of your phone or it might be forming a meditation practice.

Establish a routine:

Returning to a routine after the holidays can be challenging, but it can also provide a sense of stability. Establish a daily routine that incorporates activities you enjoy, promotes self-care, and aligns with your goals. A well-structured routine can help you navigate the January blues and create a sense of purpose. It might be helpful for you to create a 'Dopamine menu', this can help you have a cheat sheet to accessing your self-care without having to think too much about what you need.

Connect with Others:

Entering January doesn't have to be spent alone or indoors. It's important to socialise and connect with friends, family, or colleagues to combat feelings of isolation that may accompany the January blues. It can be a good time to reflect on your relationships, maybe you have outgrown friends, lost friends and are in need of some new connections. It can be refreshing to join new communities to meet new friends, try new activities / hobbies, explore new places. Human connections can provide a powerful source of motivation and encouragement.

Prioritise Self-Care:

Amidst the hustle of daily life, forming a routine and goal setting, don't forget the importance of self-care. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. Invest in yourself and dedicate time to activities that nourish your mind and body, whether it's reading a book, practicing yoga, trying pilates, doing dry January or simply catching up on rest. Prioritising self-care is essential for maintaining a healthy balance and preventing burnout.

As January unfolds, it's essential to approach the month with a sense of balance and a realistic attitude towards goal setting. By reflecting on past achievements, setting manageable intentions, embracing the present moment, establishing a routine, connecting with others, and prioritising self-care, you can navigate the January blues and create a foundation for a fulfilling year ahead in 2024.

Remember, it's okay to take things one step at a time and enjoy the journey rather than becoming overwhelmed by the destination.

If 2024 is the year that you want to work on your relationship with yourself to improve and develop healthier relationships with others then don't hesitate to start therapy. Taking the first step towards therapy can be daunting, but remember, it's also an act of self-care and courage. The Flawed Journey provides a FREE 30 Minute Consultation which can be the first step of the journey towards healing, understanding, and self-discovery.

If you need 24/7 mental health support right now, please check out 24/7 support helplines here and call a support service near you. If you think your life or someone else’s is at immediate risk, call your local emergency services.


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