The beginning of the New Year can be exciting time of goal setting and looking out to new horizons for many while a difficult time of recovery from the holidays for others. Whether you fit in that group or somewhere in between there are some risks to each New Year. For those who are planning for new and exciting things, its important to focus on selecting goals that are realistic so you don’t have the letdown that often comes in the beginning of the year when people do not achieve them. For people who are recovering from the holidays, its important to tap into resources because as the nights continue to be dark and things continue to be cold, people are at greater risk for depression.
Some of the things that people can focus on to help have the best possible beginning to 2023 include:
1. Smart and Reasonable Goals – S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound goals. Goals that do not have an end day are naturally hard to accomplish. Remember to set end dates and milestones. Even if you are flexible with those dates, knowing what things should look like at the end is important. Make sure your goals are not to broad and they are specific enough to achieve and that they are attainable and can be measured. This can give you a better sense of what you need to do to reach your goal and whether it is realistic and whether you have gotten to the finish line.
2. Night Still Falls Fast. Keep in mind that it may be a New Year but winter is not over and people still are at risk for seasonal depression. The prevalence of seasonal depression is not well studied but some estimates place it at near 10 percent of the population. Experts argue important to put extra attention to your mental health and reach out for help to family, friends or professionals if you begin to feel down, fatigued or as if you are getting less pleasure from things you normally enjoy. These can be early warning signs and can give you an opportunity to counter your moods before they get much worse
3. Return to Healthy Routines. The holidays are a time where people’s routines get knocked off by days off from work, celebrations with family or other factors. Consider 2022 and any healthy routines you had, such as exercise, therapy or coaching, and make sure you focus on returning to the ones that were most effective in the last year.
4. Be on Guard for Substance Abuse. Regardless of whether the holidays were joyous or stressful, there is a strong risk of substance abuse developing over the season. A lot of drinking and eating takes places over the holidays and with easy access to alcohol and other substances, it is hard to maintain sobriety and easy to develop and addictive habit. Consider whether you feel an uptick in your use of substances occurring after the holidays and consider dialing it down or getting help. Certainty, if you are have relapsed, reached out for treatment.
5. Address Stress and Even Trauma. The holidays may be wonderful for some but they can be stressful for others, ranging from the stress that comes from gift buying and hosting to down-right traumatic moments, particularly for those in unhealthy families. It’s healthy to accept that the holidays are not always wonderful for you and recognize they may not be for others. Make sure you reach out for help to address any lingering challenges with your mental or emotional health after the holidays
6. Brace for Uncertainty in 2023. While 2023 presents a lot of opportunities, the uncertain macro-economic times are likely to present some challenges. Companies increasingly laid off employees in the technology sector in late 2022 and that is likely to expand to banking, law, accounting and retail in the first few months of this year. It might be a good time to do some career-related contingency planning
7. COVID is not Over. Keep in mind we have experienced spikes in COVID cases over the holidays in the past two years, and are likely to see others. In addition, flu and RSV are running wild, along with other infectious diseases. Be on guard for upticks and take precautions to keep yourself safe. Even if you have had COVID or have been vaccinated and boosted, contracting COVID can be derailing to work, goals and other aspects of the quality of life
8. Express Gratitude. One of the most rewarding and powerful things a person can do is express gratitude. Take a moment to write a note, an e-mail or a letter to someone you feel gratitude for – it can help you take things into perspective, help you feel like you have passed on the good for what they have done for you and be powerful for the person who is receiving your gratitude
Finally, keep in mind that we all have an emotional and mental health, and we all need help with our lives at times. In the event you need assistance with your career, life or mental health, feel free to reach out to us using the contact form at the bottom of this page or by calling 703-574-6271 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.