New Year - New Stress
New Year - More Stress
As we welcome in the new year, many of us may feel a sense of renewed hope and ambition for the year to come. However, along with these positive feelings often come a host of new stresses and pressures. Whether it be the pressure to set and achieve new goals, or the stress of returning to our daily routines after the holiday break, it can be all too easy to become overwhelmed.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly half of Americans feel an increase in stress during the month of January (Kam. et al., 2017). This stress can manifest in a variety of ways, from physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, to emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression.
So, how can we combat these January stresses and set ourselves up for a successful year?
One strategy that has been shown to be effective is the practice of setting and achieving small, manageable goals (Lally et al, 2010). Rather than setting grand, unrealistic goals that can feel overwhelming, it is important to focus on taking small, consistent steps towards achieving our desired outcome.
In addition to setting small goals, it is also important to take care of our physical and emotional well-being. This may include incorporating healthy habits such as regular exercise, proper sleep, and healthy eating into our daily routines. Additionally, taking time for self-care activities such as meditation, journaling, or yoga can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
So, what can be done to reduce stress for the New Year?
It is also important to remember to be kind and compassionate with ourselves during this time. The new year can bring a lot of pressure to make big changes and improvements, but it is important to remember that progress takes time and setbacks are normal. As the famous psychologist Jordan Peterson often reminds us, "clean your room, stand up straight with your shoulders back" small steps lead to significant improvement.
Another effective strategy for dealing with the stress and pressure of the new year is to make a plan for how to handle any potential challenges or obstacles that may arise. According to the APA, planning for potential problems can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being (Murrant, 2019). This may include identifying potential triggers for stress and coming up with coping strategies to deal with them, or setting aside time each day to focus on self-care and relaxation.
In addition to making a plan, it is also important to seek support when needed. Surrounding ourselves with a supportive network of friends, family, and professionals can provide a source of encouragement and motivation, as well as a sounding board for our thoughts and feelings.
As Christians, it is also important to remember the power of prayer in times of stress and pressure. Turning to God in prayer can provide a sense of peace and comfort, and can also serve as a reminder of our faith and the hope that we have in Him.
It can be helpful to set aside a specific time each day to pray and meditate on scripture, and to make sure we are staying connected with our faith community, through regular attendance of religious services, and prayer or small group meetings.
In conclusion, the new year can bring increased stress and pressure, but by setting small, manageable goals, taking care of our physical and emotional well-being, being kind to ourselves, making a plan, seeking support and turning to our faith, we can navigate these challenges and set ourselves up for a successful and fulfilling year.
Kam. J., et al. (2017). January Blues: The Impact of the Holiday Season and Winter on Mental Health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 220, 1-9.
Lally, P. et al. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998-1009.
Murrant, G. (2019). The Role of Planning in Reducing Stress and Improving Well-being. Journal of Stress and Health, 35(3), 288-298
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