Sunday, 29 December 2013

Mindfulness is the secret to a Happy New Year

I hate these awkward few days between Christmas and New Year. The excitement and build up to Christmas is over. Suddenly, the Christmas tree looks a bit sad with a few broken lights, no more chocolates hanging from it and no presents underneath it, the fairy at the top looks slightly uncomfortable having sat on the top few needles / branch / twigs for about two weeks - she's longing for her annual 49-50 week break in the chest where the decorations are kept throughout the rest of the year.

I start to feel anxious about the next few weeks / months and the mammoth task I have in front of me of finishing my degree. My 2014 diary already looks too full and chaotic and my list of things to do is already too long and I don't know where to start - the most important things on that list are "Write dissertation", "Pass exams", "Graduate" and "Find a job".

There is pressure from all sides to be "doing something" on New Years Eve - last year we escaped on holiday to Egypt and it was great to be away from everything. When I was younger, the novelty of staying up until midnight or soon after was so exciting. Now, there is rarely a night that I don't go to sleep before midnight (time check: 00:29) so NYE now just feels like any other night of the year and that novelty of staying up has most definitely worn off. I don't tend to make New Years resolutions but this year one of mine is to go to bed earlier. I can hear my inner critical voice say "You ought to / you should be / you must (be partying like the rest of the world on NYE) and if I don't I'm a failure..." - screw the critical voice and what everyone else wants me to do. CBT and Mindfulness has taught me to turn down the volume of the critical voice, to not give a monkeys about what everyone else is doing (I hate following a crowd) and if this is how I want to spend my evening then so be it:



On the upside, there was a brilliant article published in today's Weekend supplement of the Telegraph newspaper, describing how Mindfulness is the secret to a Happy New Year. 14 life saving tips. Thanks Rubes. 

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