5 strategies to maintain your sanity

So you fell off the wellness wagon during the festive season??? Who didn't?

First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

January is the time of the year, where all the poor choices we made in december come tumbling down on us like an avalanche of hopelessness, nostalgia and outright regret. No wonder it always seems like the longest month of the year…

You’re most likely broke, physically and emotionally drained, not to mention engulfed by reality left right and center. bet you thought you were the only one huh? Well think again.  In today’s post we’ll be doing a deep dive on why this happens and go through some sure fire strategies on how to get over the slump December put us through.

Now grab a note-book, pen and a cup of herbal tea (p.s: herbal teas are said to be good for boosting memory and concentration).

Why do we make all these poor choices that we later deeply regret?

Well one thing for sure… December is a massive shock-absorber for the entire year.

Think about it, not all of us had a perfect year filled with all things positive! For some of us 2017 was filled with obstacles, challenges, failures, disappointments and unmet goals. What December does is contain and protect us from the New Year Shock, this is when the New Year hits you like a tow truck driving on full speed, throwing you off-balance and affecting each of us in unexpected ways.

The better part of December just so happens to be the Honeymoon Phase of our New Year Shock phenomenon (Inspired by Anthropologist Kalervo Oberg’s Culture Shock). This phase is overwhelmingly positive, where we become infatuated with all things festive from the people, parties, drinks and food… not to mention the desserts and all things sweet.

At this point the choices and decisions we make seem great and the entire experience is rather exciting, but the best part about the month of December is that it brings our awareness to the present moment.

Then the Frustration Phase sets in and F#%ks shit up.

Fatigue, miscommunication, emotional and financial stresses become more prominent. Dealing with annoying relatives who are constantly asking you when you are going to get married/ pregnant/a traditional job or whatever other milestone you are yet to achieve in your life.

Tis the season to be jolly but when you are away from family or are overwhelmed with cues of the ones you’ve lost… you might find yourself to be rather melancholic, with feelings of loneliness and sadness highlighted.

And then there’s the spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need on people who don’t appreciate it, like that wasn’t enough you are left physically and emotionally depleted, and just like that you are set back and thrown off-balance.

And just as you’re getting settled into the holiday mood.. It’s already 2018!!!!

We got all wrapped up in the festivities and chaos that December entails, now you aren’t too sure what your resolutions are or whether you should even have them (considering the majority of us rarely see them through, despite wholeheartedly wanting to) and all the poor choices decide to vividly come back to you.

Don’t worry though, we got you! Here are 5 surefire strategies to help you reclaim your sanity!

1. REFLECT.

You probably started doing this from the beginning of the article. It is one thing to remember how you felt and behaved but another to reflect on your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Reflection requires conscious thought and recollection.Jot down the highlights and lowpoints of your holiday season, then under each make a note of ‘how you felt’, ‘your actions/how you behaved’, and what ‘your thoughts were’ at each. Once you’ve done that write down how you are feelings at this present moment, as you are making your insightful list.This is where awareness and insight are born.

When you mindfully and consciously reflect, you raise your awareness to the good, the bad and the ugly. These are all important, and tell us something we need to know/work on/fix/let go.

However, be careful not to deflect! Don’t let your mind wander or make justifications… simply take it all in, put it on paper, and leave it unrefined.

2. IDENTIFY.

At this stage knowing your “WHY” is very important. When you are trying to identify, circle back to your reflections and add your whys.

Why did you (feel, behave, think) the way you did. Take as much time as you need, to try and figure out the crucial whys.

Next ask yourself how you are feeling now, and why… This part can get quite emotional as you fully engage and explore the uncomfortable truths, if at any point you feel overwhelmed: Slow down, catch your breath… then depending on how you feel continue! To quote our favourite #GirlBoss Marie Forleo : 

3. ACCEPT.

Accept and own what you have uncovered about yourself, your feelings and thoughts.

Accept that you are perfectly imperfect and that’s perfectly normal (whatever normal is to you). Only after acceptance can forgiveness set in. Forgiveness of oneself and others. The practice of acceptance and forgiveness allows for greater mental well-being.

By accepting our mistakes and successes as well as those of others, we get to learn and grow.

4. TAKE INITIATIVE.

Now that you have explored and analysed things, what are you going to do with what you have uncovered? Do you choose action or inaction? (Rooting for action 🙂 )

This is the time to set a strategic and SMART plan geared towards tackling all things detrimental to your mental, spiritual, and physical health & well-being.

You want change? Then you have to take initiative to achieve a desired outcome. You might start getting overwhelmed, but bring to light your inner badass and tackle this problem with the confidence we know you possess!  Remember everything worth having takes time and patience. So start slow, and work your way through it.

5. COMMITMENT.

As simple as it sounds, taking steps towards the right direction is no easy feat. You will encounter obstacles both internally (within yourself) and externally (from people and things around you).

Commitment requires conscious effort and awareness. Awareness of what? Well, of the obstacles of course. Stay focused, stay committed, setbacks and obstacles are reminders that we need to tighten our grip and remain steadfast on the path you consciously chose for yourself this magical year.

Be aware and hold yourself accountable or better yet share the article with a friend you’d like to go on this journey with and become accountability partners to your plans of action.

I hope you find these strategies useful. But before you go I’d like to redirect you to a post that is geared at assisting you on reviewing 2017 (just in case you didn’t manage to do so in hectic December) it is never too late for a conscious reflection.

Please feel free to share with us any other strategies that have worked for you 😀 xx

DISCLAIMER:

  • These are mere guidelines
  • They are generic strategies, for a more tailored approach to your unique concerns reach out to a mental health professional
  • If and when you feel your feelings abnormally (too intense or numb) when your thoughts overwhelm and cause physical or mental disturbance… get in touch with a professional
  • This isn’t a one size fits all approach, it might work for one and not the other. Do not despair, voice your opinion or concerns in the comments and I will personally respond and together we can find what works best for your unique situation.
  • Always remember to be kind and loving towards yourself and others.
Nadia Ahmed

Author: Nadia Ahmed

Nadia Ahmed is a Psychologist and an assistant lecturer. She is a Yoga and Ayurveda enthusiast and a Kanga Yoga practitioner. Nadia is a strong advocate of mental health, and a firm supporter of both traditional as well as alternative therapies to achieve well-being. She is always looking for opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to society. Your typical “superwoman”.