The new year brings with it the sense of a fresh start, new goals, opportunities and plans. The transition into this while there is a sense of optimism, can also leave us feeling unsure and apprehensive. In this months blog we explore some of the psychological impact that the new year can bring. And we share our top tips in navigating this change with confidence.

The psychological impact

This will vary from person to person and of course there are so many factors which influence the psychological impact from the individual, to social, economic, physical and cultural factors. Here we explore some of the more common impacts.

  1. A sense of energy and motivation for the fresh start ahead. Which absolutely can be seen as a positive. Watch out for setting those sights too high or those goals too big or unrealistic. As if we don’t see the immediate change we are hoping for, it can lead to demotivation and then neglect of some of these goals. This is one of the biggest reasons why so many people fail to meet their New Year’s resolutions.
  2. The energy and motivation as detailed in 1. above however when channelled in the right way can lead to incredible success!
  3. As much as the new year can bring enthusiasm, for lots of people it can bring the blues. We have just come through the festive season and perhaps a sense of winding down. To now being back at it, whether that be at work, or life in general. The colourful festivities are no more and often replaced with the gloomy January weather. The thought of credit card bills arriving and awaiting for the next pay day can be a daunting time. We may be feeling low and flat as we step into the new year and therefore finding the motivation to get started can be a challenge.
  4. Sometimes we may be experiencing all of the above. A real mix and rollercoaster of emotion as we head into the new year. This can be challenging for us to navigate as humans and we will share our top tips to manage the rollercoaster of emotion below.

It really is worth taking just a few moments out to pause and reflect on what the new year brings for you. Knowing where your head is at can help you to plan and navigate a way forward that is appropriate for you.

Tips to navigate the new year
  1. First maintain focus on your basic needs. With getting back into the throws of work and life sometimes the basics get forgotten. Are you keeping moving? Are you staying hydrated? How is your diet? How well are you sleeping? These basics build the foundations for good mental wellbeing. And when we are of good wellbeing we are in a much stronger position to take control and see things more objectively.
  2. Have you got your priorities right? It can be easy as we propel ourselves into the new year to be trying to keep too many plates spinning. We may have personal goals, relationship goals, fitness goals and career goals. All of this alongside the priorities our workplace may have set us too! That’s before we think about how we support those around us with their goals as well. Prioritising is key. There are a finite number of hours in a day and therefore we may need to scale back on some things despite our enthusiasm. Mentally it will feel much better to excel in one or two areas than to just scrape through them all and it feeling like a constant uphill struggle. We need to take care not to trigger our stress response in doing too much and also have mechanisms in place to identify when we are.
  3. This leads me to my 3rd tip- be aware of your triggers and signs that your mental well-being is declining. Self awareness is so important. If you are in a position to recognise it early you are in a much stronger position to do something about it. A Wellness Action Plan is a great way of keeping yourself in check. The Mind action plan in the link is geared to workplaces however you can adapt the terminology and exactly the same principles apply outside of work too. Staying well will help you to succeed in 2024!
  4. Monitor your progress. Monitor your progress in terms of your mental wellbeing. Reflect on how you are in yourself, and how is this changing. What are your triggers and what keeps you mentally well? But also monitor your progress in terms of your goals for the new year. Measure those little steps forward. Seeing progress can be incredibly motivating. And when we see those wins…
  5. Celebrate that success! You should be proud of what you have achieved. Celebrate those wins no matter how small. Boost yourself esteem and recognise how far you have come.

So while the new year can be exciting, it can feel challenging too. And that is okay! Being aware is the first step to navigating it successfully. Here’s to a happy and successful year ahead.