Another holiday season has come and gone. I wanted to write an article that would inspire others on New Years Eve. A reminder to look back on 2017 but embrace 2018 and all of the opportunities it might bring. I tried. Words fell carelessly onto the page but nothing made sense and I had nothing motivational to say at all.
Sadly, words of wisdom failed to appear on New Years Day either. Frustrated and perplexed, I once again put my computer away. I wanted to write and yes, I had things I needed to say. However I felt uninspired and regardless of what was in my heart, I could not seem to put two words together.
Writers block had appeared but somehow I knew it was more than that. Writing is my passion and yet I felt stuck. I decided to step away with the faith that the words would find my heart when I was ready.
I love the festive holidays and spending time with family and friends. In fact, we welcomed 2018 with a bang. However, a cloak of sadness hung around my shoulders like a wet blanket. I felt exhausted and my mind was foggy at best. Regardless of how hard I tried, I felt overwhelmed and anxious heading into the new year.
Suddenly, my intentions of starting the year off right with excitement, determination and drive had all but disappeared. But why? Isn’t the new year supposed to be a time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh? Shouldn’t the new year be filled with enthusiasm and motivation to make changes and succeed? Are we not blessed to have survived another year?
For some the answer would be a resounding yes. For others, out with the old and in with the new can lead to sadness and stress.
Reflecting, it occurred to me that shutting the doors on 2017 led to feelings of grief and a big fat let-down. 2017 was an amazing year but I was a bit sad. Where had the year gone? How could another year be over? All of that build-up for the holidays and it is already done. Africa, Jordan’s wedding, the cabin and so much more. I wanted to do it all over again. It was no wonder I was feeling a bit depressed.
Sadly, we can’t go back. Time continues to march on and each year seems to pass by faster than the last. The kids are growing up too fast and the days and weeks seem to melt into the past.
So how do we embrace another new year while grieving the race of time and a life that goes too fast?
- Live In Gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for even when things are hard. Focus on all that you are thankful for and if necessary create a gratitude list when you are feeling down.
- Give To Others. University of Zurich researchers discovered that even performing a small act of generosity can lead to feelings of happiness. Giving to others is a gift for them but it can also be a gift to you. In the end, just be kind.
- Be realistic. Set realistic expectations. Life in general and the holidays are incredibly busy and like most big events, there is often a let-down when it is over. Expect that there might be a bit of the post holiday blues, allow time to feel it and then take steps to move beyond it.
- Set achievable goals to work on and focus on. The start of a new year can be an exciting time and especially if there is a goal you want to work towards. However, people often make unrealistic New Years Resolutions and sadly, people quit or fall short of reaching their goals. Pick things that are achievable and realistic.
- Practice self-care. It is easy to feel exhausted following a busy year and the holiday rush. Take time for you and yes, that includes grieving if that is what you need to do. The new year is a great time to re-invest in your health. Go to an exercise class. Breathe. Meditate. Take a hot bath. Sleep. Commit to healthier eating. Read a good book. Get away for the weekend. Go to a good movie. Talk to someone if you are feeling down. Cry if you need to. Laugh when you can.
- Change. There will be times when we bring baggage into the new year. Perhaps you had issues or challenges last year. Instead of carrying that weight into the new year, forgive yourself and find a way to make a change. Change is hard but it is sometimes necessary to live a happier life.
- Focus on the positive. Negativity can lead to depression and highlight what we are grieving. Self-awareness is key to identifying the negative thoughts in our brains. Work hard to practice positive self-talk and focus on all that is positive and good in your life. Start planning a trip. Write that book. Visit a long last friend. Run a marathon. Whatever it is, immerse yourself in it and embrace it.
- Simplify. Life is busy and sometimes chaotic. People tend to be over scheduled and that does not help when we want to slow down time. Learn to say no more often. De-clutter. Give something up that is a drain on your time. Prioritize and spend more energy and time on what matters the most. Say I love you often and make time for those that you love.
Realistically, it is impossible to win the battle with father time. But, it is possible to make small changes that can help you to feel less rushed and more relaxed. There are things you can do to lessen the sadness and grief when another year ends. Life is hectic and time will continue to march on. Another year will come and go and before we know it the holidays will be here once again.
Another new year can be bittersweet but remember, life is filled with experiences both good and bad. Build unforgettable memories each and every year and embrace all of the amazing and beautiful experiences you are blessed to have.
I am going to try and focus on my good health, the people I love and the many blessings in my life. The years will continue to fly by but we can learn to live in the moment and appreciate every moment we are blessed to live. There is so much to be grateful for including the incredible memories from each and every year that has passed.
Grief is real for many in the beginning of a brand new year but it is possible to take steps to move beyond it and to have an amazing and unforgettable year. My wish for each of you is that you find peace, joy and love in 2018.
In Peace and Love,