New Year Anxiety… is this normal?!
It’s 2021. A new year and a new start for many people. For me personally, I’ve always struggled with my thoughts and feelings around new year and I often succumb to the January blues. This year, even more so.
2020 was a big year for me in terms of personal growth. I’ve said this before, but it was actually one of the best years I’ve had in a long time. My physical and mental health has never been better and thanks to restrictions put in place by the pandemic, I was able to really invest time in myself which was needed. The years before, I managed ok but to be honest, every day was a battle. Getting up, getting dressed, commuting to work (usually in the dark) getting home from work (usually in the dark) cooking, sleeping – that was my life! My energy would go on the basic parts of everyday. I didn’t exercise and whilst I ate as well as I could, after a packed train journey home and then being sat in traffic I often just wanted to stuff my face with junk food and sloth for the rest of the evening. I know I’m not alone in this. During those years, my HS was at it’s worst. I’m not a doctor but what I can say from my experience is that as soon as my physical and mental health improved, so did my HS. Is that a coincidence? (Or perhaps it’s just that I’m in the comfort of my loungewear instead of wearing tights or jeans daily - which we all know doesn’t really help HS.) I’ve actually had a few flares the past couple of weeks, during a time where my anxiety levels have been high, but again I can’t say with certainty that’s a contributing factor. Regardless of the reasons behind it, I think all of this plays a huge part as to why 2021 makes me anxious.
I’m anxious because I loved 2020.
I’m anxious about saying that I loved 2020, when so many people suffered. When so much bad happened, I was experiencing the opposite.
Does this make me a terrible person?
I’m anxious about life returning to ‘normal’ (whatever that is) and losing this new lifestyle that has helped me tremendously.
Yet, I also understand that so many people need life to return to normal which then makes me feel guilty for not wanting the same. My thoughts and feelings right now are pretty much the opposite to those around me, which when you have anxiety, just results in a lot of overthinking, obsessing over stupid little things, creative blocks (which is why this months message is coming a little later than usual) and heightened feelings of pretty much everything.
I spent New Year's day in tears and didn’t leave the house. I allowed myself that day to do that because I needed it. There is no shame in having days where you feel like you can’t get out of bed. If the only thing you achieve on these days is making it to the kitchen to put the kettle on – good for you! That’s more than I’ve been able to do in the past.
I could sit pondering about the unknowns of 2021. I could sit here thinking about all the things in my life that aren’t quite ‘together’ but I know that would do me no good. I refuse to let the uncertainty of 2021 destroy all the hard work I’ve put into my mental health over the past 9 months. It’s not easy but I know I can do it. Over the years, I’ve learned how to use the increased energy levels I get from anxiety and push them towards achieving a goal or getting stuck into a project – for me, this really helps! Turning negative energy into something positive. So that’s what I’ll do.
No unrealistic life goals.
No pressure or guilt.
Just small personal successes every day, every week, every month. Small successes to focus my mind and keep the smile on my face.
Whatever 2021 may be, I certainly hope it’s a year of better mental health for everyone.
Until next time…