At the long-awaited midnight hour on December 31st, revelers around the globe finally found the opportunity to wave goodbye to 2020. For many people, the ritual meant that they could move on from the year of the pandemic and start looking forward to the future.
If you find yourself standing at the precipice of possibility, confused about what direction you should take in your life, it is important to remember that you are not alone. It is completely normal to take a moment for yourself and wonder, “What should I do next?”
Your mental health is an aspect that requires care and nurturing and worrying about the unknowns of the future can be a frightening and affecting subject at first. Large changes seldom happen overnight, and despite the conceptual appeal of saying goodbye to 2020, there are many variables to consider when moving forward in terms of practical and personal application.
The desire for purpose in life is a perfectly natural thought, especially when facing the start of a new year. If you feel like you want to take your life in a new direction in order to obtain a sense of purpose, there are many personal factors to bear in mind. Being self-aware and staying positive and open-minded about your expectations is a good place to start, as keeping a healthy state of mind is imperative to your overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you alleviate some of that unwanted stress and anxiety that you might be feeling in regards to navigating through the new year.
Identify, Accept, Act
It may not seem like it at times, but worrying can be a perfectly natural part of life and it may even offer you an upside. Understanding rational worry can be a great way to begin eliminating the chances of a psychologically overwhelming scenario occurring. By making use of a simple framework like the one below that you can apply throughout your daily routine, however large or seemingly trivial the problem may be, you can strive to put your mind at ease.
- Identifying the subjects that make you worry can help you to begin explaining them to yourself, thus enabling you to start creating a plan of action for yourself.
- Accepting what makes you uncomfortable is important in helping you to embrace the way in which you interact with subjects as an individual. This is an important factor in terms both self-awareness and personal development.
- Acting to address and change the parts of your life that make you uncomfortable is part of life’s journey. Once you can find a plan that works for you, freeing your mind from unnecessary worry can allow you to begin to approach previously unnerving situations with a new sense of purpose.
If you find any truth in that ancient phrase, “change incurs from within,” then dedicating some time to identify how you internalize the world may help you to start discovering which direction you want to take in the new year.
One way of achieving an optimistic outlook is to begin to swap complaining for pragmatism and acceptance. Regular complaining can have negative consequences such as an increased level of stress and feelings of hopelessness.
While venting from time to time can be a fun and self-actualizing experience, especially when you can have a laugh with your friends, it is important to not get weighted down by the prospect of frequent negative comments on everyday occurrences. Expanding the mind and attempting to see matters through a variety of perspectives and frames of reference might help with this.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
Establishing a healthy support network can be a superb way of making yourself feel comfortable and cared for when you might need some external input. A great friend can stay by your side through thick and thin, offering you a reliable source of inspiration and advice. Surrounding yourself with people whom you can talk to and listen to can be a step in a positive direction. You can nurture a relationship of this kind by:
- Making time to chat – If you can set aside a regular time to catch-up with your friends you can give yourself something to look forward to, which is a great way to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Actively listening to your friends in a non-judgmental and supportive way can help them to do the same for you, as nurturing a great friendship requires input from all parties involved.
- Recognizing toxic behavior – If you feel as though you cannot connect with some of your friends on an emotional level, it is important to recognize that relationships are constantly transforming and evolving as people develop throughout life. If you discover that some of your acquaintances exhibit signs of toxic behavior, it might be time to move on in order to replace negative influences with positive ones.
- Maintain an open mind – Maintaining an open mind can generally be a good way of expanding your opportunities both personally and professionally. It can help you to remain empathetic and strengthen the bond between you and your loved ones. If you can offer people your time and your attention, you might start to notice a positive change in the way people interact with you on a regular basis.
Staying in contact is perhaps more important now than ever, as the constantly shifting landscape of restriction has left many people feeling isolated from their friends and loved ones. A quick message or a short phone call can make all the difference to someone’s day, even if it is simply just to tell them you are thinking of them.
Allowing yourself to own your emotions and recognize that your feelings are valid may help you to start explaining them in a manner that feels comfortable to you. It is worth remembering that what you feel is authentic and there is no reason you should feel self-doubt amongst friends.
Learning a New Skill
Learning something new can be an incredibly fulfilling task, especially when recognizing the benefits that it can offer to your mental health and career opportunities. If you feel like you are beginning to experience a form of stagnation and you are struggling to work out which path to take, then there are many online learning opportunities at your fingertips. It might be worth your time to consider some of the aspects that go into choosing an online course, in order to find out what works best for you.
Whether you are passionate about a particular subject and you happen to be an expert in the field, or you have found your interest piqued by a previously unknown issue, learning something new can help build your mental prowess and dexterity. Managing to commit to a fresh new learning routine might help with your ability to face challenges and develop your problem-solving ability, both of which can help you garner a positive new outlook for the year ahead.
Due to the predicted growth in demand for healthcare professionals, you might find that you want to train as a nurse to help offer your support and empathy to those you can in these uncertain times. The fantastic online training programs at Marymount University, for example, can supply you with the opportunity to learn a fascinating and important new skill, while perhaps illuminating to you an exciting new direction in healthcare.
Seizing on the chance to learn online may also help you transcend feelings of stagnation in your professional life, as learning can offer new tools to approach familiar situations with a fresh lease of interest and accessibility.
Eating a Balanced Diet
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can benefit your physical and mental health in a multitude of ways, which is of upmost importance when you find yourself searching for a sense of purpose and direction. Making sure you receive the right level of sustenance can help you tackle the trials and tribulations of everyday life whilst feeling fresh and energized.
Some of the main benefits include:
- The ability to sleep easy – Getting a good night’s sleep can help you to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. Also going to bed on an empty stomach might mean that you sleep better than if you’re snacking in the evening. Sleep should be a time for relaxation, even for your digestive system, so sticking to a balanced diet and planning your meal times can allow you to get the rest you need in order to thrive in the waking hours.
- Decreased likelihood of fatigue and apathy – A lack of sufficient nutrition is linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, so finding the right balance for you can help put your mind at rest. Feeling depressed can lead to a lack of productivity and motivation, but it is a natural occurrence in contemporary society. However, there are steps that you can take steps to neutralize it, which might also include keeping an eye on your nutritional intake.
- Helping with weight control – If you are concerned about staying in shape for the new year, making yourself aware of the benefits of certain food groups can be a great way to ensure you can stay in a healthy physical condition.
Striving to eat healthily can be an exciting new endeavor, as it allows you the opportunity to develop your cooking skills in areas you may have previously had little experience in. Even if it is just for a few evenings a week, mixing things up in the kitchen can be a great way of clearing your head and adding some excitement back into the everyday.
Keeping it Interesting
Speaking of mixing things up, trying something new as often as you can might be the spark you need if you feel trapped in a perpetual cycle of listless mundanity. When your everyday routine becomes tired and starts to seem trivial, it can have a negative effect on your health and well-being. Searching for a new hobby to try may work wonders for getting you motivated.
For many, the coronavirus restrictions have meant that staying inside with the same old view has become the norm. In some cases, this might lead to feelings of oppression and inescapable negative association. It can be useful to remember that your space is important in more ways than one, especially when environmental factors mean that you have to spend so much time within its confines.
Designating time to mix up the look of your living space might provide you with some fresh breathing room in which to carry out your daily tasks. It is important to keep your brain stimulated in order to increase your capacity to learn and retain information, and an environment that you find overwhelmingly uninteresting can affect you negatively. If you can, try moving your desk to a place with more natural sunlight or change the positioning of your furniture, as this can go a long way towards creating a healthier environment.
Finding the Bright Side
Despite the many factors that can be implemented into daily life to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently, it seems inevitable that the world can be unpredictable and throw you a curveball every once in a while. If events occur outside of your control and impose a challenge to your routine, there are ways in which you can prepare yourself for the unwelcome and find the bright side when everything seems overwhelming.
Remembering to laugh when the chips are down can provide a great way of dealing with situations that seem impossible to approach. Finding your sense of humor can also help you explain something to yourself in a way that feels comfortable and approachable. Wearing a smile when the going gets tough might help you maintain your course, while inspiring hope in others.
The start of a new year may appear to be a daunting one, but if you start it with a little self-care and a positive outlook, you may find that it becomes the year for you.