January 1 isn’t always the time for huge life changes. Take the pressure off this new year, says Kym Eason
I’ve always struggled at new year. Even when boozy parties with friends and counting down with Big Ben were an actual thing, my smiles and Auld Lang Synes were half-hearted at best. And as I went through perimenopause, the accompanying anxiety, poor body image and mood swings did nothing to improve my demeanour.
The pressure to be happy at new year just adds to the overload experienced by many women at this time, and while this Christmas was quieter for all of us, many of us may still have overindulged, stayed up late and neglected our self-care over the past few weeks. If you add Covid to Christmas and hormones, it’s a toxic trigger for the anxiety and depression that are often a characteristic of our menopausal years.
Once Christmas excesses are over, convention dictates we approach the coming year with bright-eyed anticipation and the motivation to launch into a massive programme of self-improvement through a series of “resolutions”.
While I applaud the optimism of the “new year, new me, new job, new diet, new man, new face, new skill” warriors, if anxiety is troubling you through menopause, why not adopt one simple resolution, and that is: “I’m going to love myself for who and what I am, and actively try to make choices that make me happy.”
This can take any form – and might include all of the above. Or it might mean consciously taking the pressure off, actively looking for the small wins, and acknowledging that right now, dealing with your hormonal changes as best you can is the only resolution you can commit to.
Start small – commit to a walk in nature, and a compliment to the woman in the mirror in the morning. Build in a good diet and some mindfulness, coupled with a comforting and calm sleep routine. The beauty of this resolution for self-nurture is that by taking a holistic approach you will discover so many other benefits.
If any of this is striking a chord, you are not alone. And if this is all you can cope with right now, it’s enough to be getting on with. If your idea of a happy new year is a hot chocolate in your PJs and bed by 10.30, that’s fine.