List of 2024 goals? Check. New year’s resolution? Check. Vision board parties? Check. What is supposed to be a marker of newness, a charging phrase to invigorate opportunities, can paradoxically evoke feelings of stress and panic. The start of the year can feel pressuring with the need to set elaborate and ambitious goals and many struggle with a clear vision, or plan of how to actualise the desires they have for the year.
For some returning to work or reengaging with their routine responsibilities and duties can serve as a humble comedown after an uplifting and enjoyable festive period.
Psychologically what we know that a little bit of anxiety can be an impetus for change and action. However, too much of anything including anxiety and stress can be stagnating and impede success.
5 Ways to Proactively Handle Stress During This Phase of The Year:
1- Start Slow and Small: Who said you need to start the new year with grandiose ideas and plans? Start small, after all we know the power of the compound effect, small consistent goals that we achieve contributes to an overall bigger goal or change. Don’t overwhelm yourself with pressure to have it all together, begin with achievable goals, gradually building up your momentum.
2- Rediscover Your Passion: Take a moment to remind yourself of what you love, what brings you joy, what give your life that extra spark. If you struggle with this, take a reflective journey down memory lane – think about childhood interests or hobbies that still resonate with you today.
These questions can help you explore aspects of yourself that may not be immediately obvious. Gaining clarity on your passions helps you assess opportunities that align with your interests and values, leading to personal and professional fulfilment.
3- Stay Organised: This helps reduce ‘cognitive overload’, it provides clarity on your priorities and helps you to focus on what truly matters. Are there things you’re doing that no longer serves you that you need to let go of? Are there tasks that can be delegated? A clear structure reduces overwhelm and gives you a sense of control which can lead to a more relaxed and stress-free state of mind.
Also, you want to keep track of your progress and celebrate milestones along the way. Celebrating your wins introduces balance as this positive reinforcement encourages you of your achievements shifting focus away from stressors.
4- Refresh Your Space: An organized, clean, and inspiring environment helps to declutter the mind, alleviating stress that is especially linked to a sense of stagnation. Break the monotony and routine that your physical space holds by moving things around. Changing things can stimulate new ideas, promote creativity; add colour, artwork, plants, items that hold personal significance or stir positivity to your space.
5- Tech Detox: Unplug from social media, other digital distractions, and tech to reconnect with yourself. The influx of information especially at this time of year can be overwhelming and can derail you from your personal goals. Use the time you’d spend scrolling to step outside for a breath of fresh air, read a book, practice mindfulness. Disconnecting from the constant digital stream is a great opportunity to connect with nature, people in real life and recharge your mind.
Lastly, do not neglect self-care in 2024. Self-care shouldn’t be reserved for the next holidays or break. Prioritise the things that rejuvenate and replenish you (check out our blog post on self-care).
The new year symbolises a new season for your own fresh start, however you want to define that. The stress of the new year can be a catalyst for growth and transformation. It’s a chance to reassess priorities, renew your focus, establish healthier habits, and encourage a shift towards activities and pursuits that align with personal values and passions. 2024 is an opportunity to take charge and own your narrative.
Written by: Dr Bisi Laniyan