The coming of a new year is typically a very exciting time. People put the past behind them, make resolutions and find that a sense of newness can bring about change, a newfound hope for the future, and the motivation to succeed.
The New Year can also bring about many overwhelming and anxiety-provoking feelings.
To be honest, this New Year was mostly the latter for me. Last semester was a pretty stressful one and my mindset has just been to make it to Christmas break, and now that Christmas break is almost over I have had to mentally prepare myself for the newness of yet another semester (my last one!) and a new internship, which brings excitement but also a lot of anxiety. Because this New Year holds a lot of change for me, and maybe also many of you as well, it just seems that sometimes the newness of it all can feel like too much at times. The reality of college graduation and having to face adulthood head on is a lot to take.
Lately, my heart feels completely overwhelmed, and fear has been weighing heavily on me. Having the “winter blues” (AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder) is something that hits hard for me every single winter. I try my best to do the things I can to make it better but some days depression and feelings of hopelessness take over. The past few days have been like that and I have felt pretty discouraged.
Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to feel happy and have everything together all the time, to have my life organized and feel like I have things under control. So when I get to the New Year and really don’t feel that any of those things are true, it causes me to get down on myself and I start to feel overwhelmed as I have no idea where to even begin. But the thing I realized this morning is that it doesn’t really matter where you start, as long as you just start. I woke up this morning with a sense of joy and inspiration that I have not felt in a while, and it kind of made me realize that all I needed to do was just take a step forward no matter what, to be intentional and just do something.
I think the most important thing when you feel lost is, first of all, to just be kind to yourself and accept wherever you are at. I don’t think you can get very far without self-love and self-acceptance. The thing is, maybe your life is a mess right now, maybe you feel like you have no control or you have no idea where to go, and the first step is to just accept exactly where you are at right now, as difficult as that may be. That is the key to moving forward.
And the next step is to just start. Just take a step forward, because it really is about small steps taken one day at a time that can lead to true progress.
So start here. Begin here.
You may not have all the answers, there may be many unknowns up ahead and you may be terrified but all you have to do is take a step forward.
A few days ago I read Emily P. Freeman’s blog post, “A Blessing for the New Year” and she said something that I really liked:
“You don’t have to conquer a whole year at once.
Start small. Celebrate progress.
Turn down the future’s invitation to pull you into anxiety.”
Like Emily said, it’s not about taking on the new year as whole, but walking into it with small steps, taking it day by day, and making progress as we go.