New Year, No Resolutions
Hello, my lovely Pelican readers & a Happy New Year to you all. Admittedly, I’m sure a lot of us aren’t feeling the word “happy” in that first sentence with the struggle of 2020 and now being back in lockdown in 2021 wondering when it’s all going to get better.
Even more so now than ever before, self-care and being kind to yourself especially, as well as others, is so important. I managed to have a nice Christmas, even though it was a little strange, but as the New Year grew closer, I felt a lot of apprehension, anxiety & uncertainty about 2021 arriving. There are aspects of my life which I’m experiencing big changes in at the moment, which definitely doesn’t help settle me, but it’s safe to say that if you’re feeling down and out right now, you’re not alone.
I have lived with depression and anxiety since my early teenage years & have had many different types of counselling & medication over the years also. I’ve had counselling the last few years privately and that came to a finish unfortunately down to me not feeling comfortable anymore and a breakdown in the relationship in the more recent sessions which is a shame. When you’re allowing yourself to be at your most vulnerable though, it’s so important to ensure you have a counsellor who you can trust & feel 110% comfortable with. Granted, you’ll discuss things that are difficult and tough to work through, but I’d always say trust your gut with knowing if your counsellor is right for you, especially if you’ve questioned it for a time. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to be able to discuss what you need to discuss, then maybe it’s time to question if that person or type of therapy is right for you.
With the apprehension of 2021 growing closer, I decided that my New Year’s resolution ironically was to set no resolutions. I told myself that taking things day by day in an increasingly uncertain set of circumstances both globally and personally was going to be the best way for me to move forward and that to simplify things to help my growing anxiety that 01/01/2021 was in effect just another day.
Every year pretty much until now I have set resolutions. A lot of the time I have given myself pressure to meet them to an unhealthy extent. I knew for certain that by doing so this year it would probably be the thing that tipped me over the edge.
It’s okay if you didn’t set any resolutions. It’s also okay if you did. It’s important to do what’s right by you but whichever way you choose to not feel guilty & instead practice kindness towards yourself and gratitude for the things you achieve in day-to-day life in a pandemic especially, no matter how big or small.
If you want to make a change and you feel it’s not to your detriment, you can make that change any time. You don’t have to wait for a New Year to do so. I’m aware it’s very easy for me to sit here & say this, as there are elements in my life which I would ideally change, but can’t, either because it isn’t possible or I’d make myself very ill by doing so. I guess these are bigger things and lifestyle changes, such as working out two to three times a week, which just isn’t doable consistently for me living with varying fatigue levels because of my chronic illness. However, I know I can encourage myself to take a walk before work on the days I work from home and I know if I feel like a run then I can do so, but one run doesn’t have to mean I pressure myself into any more in a set time period or I brand myself a failure. No way, that is not happening. The first step towards not failing is trying. Trying your best is more than enough.
Choosing self-care is more than cliché candlelit bubble baths, face masks and body scrubs. Admittedly, that is a divine and very nice smelling part of it, but self-care isn’t always so glorious, neither does it always feel good in the first instance…if at all….or for a good while. Things such as choosing to drink more water knowing you’ll go to the toilet more, making yourself eat breakfast to take your tablets, muting notifications and dragging a brush through your hair you haven’t touched for four days are examples of those things.
For me, a big part of my self-care is choosing to stick to my stoma dilation routine at least once a week so that in the long run it isn’t as bad. This is where I have to widen my own stoma at home and yes, it’s often as uncomfortable and painful as it sounds that I’m the Queen of procrastination and putting it off. It’s also choosing to acknowledge when I’m sad and let myself feel those emotions, no matter how bad it may feel, because I’m human, as are you. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to stumble and it’s okay to not always be okay.
As we move through the first month of 2021, remember that brighter days will come, even if it does not seem it. Coming from someone who has had an argument with herself for the last month about whether to reach out to a doctor or not about being put back on anti-depressants, this says a lot. It’s okay to ask for help and you don’t have to do it alone, neither should you do it alone. If you reach out to someone and they aren’t as supportive as you’d hoped, please do not see this as a sign that nobody wants to help, as awful as it can feel.
There will be someone out there who will help and thankfully you often don’t have to look far. It’s also okay to not beat yourself up over the times where you can’t see the light or feel like it will get better. For when these times hit, I’d recommend making a list of things that make you feel good or bring you joy. Also, you could create a “self-care” box, that can be easily reached with little effort when you really need it but have no motivation or energy to know what makes you happy in the moment.
Here’s to hopefully a much brighter 2021 & if you’d like to join me more closely on my journey or reach out to me, you can do so via my Instagram.