By: Tuli Ndilokelwa Coetzee
It’s been a long a December. Christmas has come and gone. One less festive season responsibility has been ticked off your list. But now the New Year is right around the corner. And so it dawns on you, a new year – a new beginning, a fresh start heavy with the weight of expectation. Your anxiety begins to kick in. The pressure builds. Will you be able to make 2019 better than last?
As 2018 is coming to a close, we start creating our resolutions for the New Year and those struggling with mental health issues can become inundated with the pressures of deciding which goals to set for themselves. For the anxious person, your brain keeps reminding you that the chances of transforming yourself in the new year and sticking to those dreadful new year’s resolutions is unlikely and you are bound to fail. So those awkward days between Christmas and New Year can become overwhelmed with fear. What you have to do is to remind yourself to remain in the present because these are merely projections and not your reality.
Many of us who struggle with anxiety know that approaching a new year can be consumed with irrational feelings and thoughts of doubt and dread. The thought of possibly disappointing yourself and others can shadow any sense of optimism and hope. Most of one’s anxiety stems from constantly dwelling on the future. What may be helpful is to be aware of and acknowledge the worst case scenarios, as it is inevitable that things may not go according to plan. Consider this and if any of these were to happen, ask yourself – is this really the end of the world? Whatever it is, it will pass, so let go and let God.
It is of great importance that you take the time to care for yourself and make sure that your happiness and well-being is a priority. Ways to overcome your anxiety is to simply breathe and practice mindfulness. Exercise regularly and find things that relax you. Seek out positive memories and let them remind you that there has been, are and will be good moments in your life.
Above all, it is important to start 2019 with a plan to live with and accept your anxiety. This way you are more able to have a sensible look at the events which may initiate your symptoms. Try not to get too caught up in your thoughts and feelings and stress about “what could’ve been” or “what could be”, so much so that you forget to live in the moment. It is best not to feel compelled to even make New Year’s resolutions, as every day and every moment should be an opportunity to move forward and move up.