Whilst Christmas is a time for happiness, family, love and gifts, the period afterwards can be extremely challenging as the festive period comes to an end and the reality of everyday life kicks in again.
Gym memberships often increase and decrease significantly in January and February respectively, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) returns from its leave of absence over the festive period to once again leave people struggling with low moods up until around April time. This is known to affect approximately seven per cent of the UK population.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Counsellor, Jason Hanson, based in Nottinghamshire, has written a few tips to ensure 2016 is something to embrace - and not something to fear.
1) Consider the achievements of the previous year - Everybody will have undoubtedly achieved something commendable and it is important to build on these successes for the forthcoming year no matter how small you perceive them to be.
2) Consider the difference you have made – There is no better feel-good factor than an altruistic gesture. Making a difference to others can be very uplifting. It may seem a small gesture on your part, but to somebody else it could have made a significant difference.
3) Set stretching (but achievable) targets – The reason people tend to give up on New Years ‘resolutions’ is because they set themselves goals which are difficult to obtain. Whilst it’s important to stretch yourself, making something impractical to achieve can be deflating and have an adverse effect on you - so keep it real!
4) View the new year as a time to shine – Many of you will have experienced a challenging and difficult year and it’s all too easy to let this affect and demotivate you. Keep in mind this is a fresh start and an opportunity to make a difference and achieve your goals. See it as a challenge and an opportunity rather than a daunting prospect.
5) Exercise and diet – Naturally we all tend to over indulge on things which aren’t so good for us. This can lead to a change in appearance physically, which then affects us emotionally. Amending your diet and taking in a little exercise will help you to get to where you want to be physically. But again keeping it realistic will keep you motivated.
6) Be patient – Deciding to make a change can be instantaneous, but seeing the effects of that change can be more long term. Be patient and know that you are moving towards where you want to be.
7) Always have something to look forward to – Many people feel Christmas is over and this sort of joy won’t be experienced again for another year. Remember though Christmas is just one of such occasions. It’s so important to always have something to look forward to. So whether this is a birthday, Easter, a holiday or even the weekend, keeping these in mind can enhance motivation levels and ultimately your happiness.
8) It’s OK to have a bad day – One of my favourite sayings in therapy is that it’s fine to have a bad day. We all have them and it’s not necessarily a sign of a relapse or the start of a journey into depression. Our moods are never linear and it’s important to accept this.
For more counselling advice, visit Jason’s website at www.jasonhansoncounselling.com.