January 28th 2018
…Because this series is called “New Year, New YOU” after all…
One of my personal commitments to myself this year was integrating more self-care and mental health related content onto my blog. I wrote a post way back about my anxiety and it really seemed to resonate with a lot of people. Some even commented that they would like to see more content about the subject on my blog. I’m sorry it has taken a while, but I plan to deliver and I figured that January would be a good place to start.
January is a great month where you can enjoy goal setting, cleansing your life, and planning for the future. However, as someone with a mental illness (I hate using that term), January is also a time of performance anxiety and pressure. I find that I get really inside my head at the start of a new year. All of a sudden, I pressure myself to be this new perfect version of myself and I try to do everything at once. Soon, I become a water guzzling, binge exercising, writing machine, who simultaneously tries to get 8 hours of sleep while cramming 18 hours of work into a day.
I am fully aware that I do this to myself and I try each year to brace myself for that blow to my mental state. This cripplingly perfectionist view that people have on a new year really sends my anxiety through the roof and as much as I am the conductor of my own “happy dappy super perfect new year train”, I find that some people really take the whole “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” thing to a whole new level.
The first step to getting through the performance anxiety of a new year is realizing what you want when you wipe away all of the expectations and influences in your life. What do YOU want to see from your year? Do you want to go to the gym 5 days a week because you want to go to the gym 5 days a week or because you feel like if you don’t then you’re missing out on this level of completeness that people claim working out constantly will give you? Think about what you want and don’t let what others want influence you.
Second, don’t compare yourself. I find that like 90% of my anxiety (that isn’t brain chemistry related) comes from me comparing myself to other people. Don’t worry about what other people are doing and focusing on bettering yourself for you. Or maybe you don’t feel like you need to better yourself! That’s 1000% fine!
Third, take time for self-care. We live in this society where everyone believes you need to grind 24/7 to get where you want to be when in reality, grinding 24/7 is putting yourself on the fast track to Crazy Town. You don’t have to be productive all day, every day. And just because your friend is being super productive doesn’t mean you have to force yourself out of bed to do the same. Mental health is more important than “productivity”. Don’t try to be so “productive” that you end up having a meltdown.
Most of all, know yourself and your limits. Mental illness and mental health impacts people in different ways and on different scales. Know yourself and know that you and everyone around you are fighting their own battles. Don’t let a new year be something that fills you with stress and anxiety and dread, let it be a time where we can all discover things about ourselves for ourselves.
I really want to write more mental health content this year and maybe make it into a series. If anyone has a good name suggestions or topics they would like to see me speak about, comment down below!