Want January to start well? It starts with December’s choices
There is a lot made of starting the new year well and how difficult it is to pick up our mood in the darker winter months that immediately follow Christmas. There is also a huge amount of effort and energy put into making the month of December as wonderful and festive as possible. Little wonder there is a collective down period afterwards.
There are few things to remember about December
- It is the one time of year when everyone tries to take time off at the same time. In the summer our holidays are staggered. Not in December. This means fewer people to delegate to and to share the load with, meaning many are left thinking they have to achieve in 3 weeks what they would normally achieve in 4 or 5 weeks.
- Many feel immense social pressure to spend more than they can afford which in turn contributes to the January hangover feeling
- Despite the extra work and societal pressure to indulge we also insist on socialising more. This means our weekends, when we would normally recharge our batteries, are taken up with late nights and parties.
- As the weather cools we turn the heating up, close the windows and create better conditions for airborne viruses such as flu and covid to multiply. This year, while we are in better shape than last, our immune systems may still not be fully up to speed after lockdowns gave them a circuit break.
So extra work pressure, social pressure, burning the candle at both ends and our immune system under more stress than any other time of year…no wonder we don’t feel great going into January.
What if we were to practice being a little more aware of our own limits? What if, instead of feeling the social pressure and giving into it, we made different choices? Imagine how the next year may start.
We are not suggesting you need to be a killjoy who stops yourself enjoying life more in the festive period. The chances are, however, we could all be more aware of our choices and change some of the ways we behave and still have a good time.
Try considering these adjustments
- Spend less:
- Agree with family and friends a no present christmas or an absolute spending limit.
- Let go of the need to compete with how much you spoil your family.
- Don’t get pulled into the compensation game. That’s where you overspend to make up for the time you have not spent with your family in the last 11 months. The overspend means you will have to work harder and spend even less time with them next year to pay it all back
- Understand some things don’t get done in December. Don’t put yourself under extreme pressure to achieve everything in December.
- Build in a little self care. You don’t have to take a spa day to relax. Try a 15 minute power nap or a 20 minute guided meditation from one of the many apps out there (try this one it’s awesome – Inner Calm – it does so much more than just guided meditations).
- Live the mantra – “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I love this saying simply because it sets the expectation of moderation without demanding perfection.
Another saying springs to mind to sum up the reason for this article.
“You can’t pour from an empty vessel”
If you want to start next year well, the investment in you, your finances, your energy and ultimately, your emotional health, starts with the choices you make this year, and they don’t have to be painful.