*Don't let anxiety rain on your parade!
November has always been like an alarm bell, signifying that we are coming to the end of the year. It’s a month when the Christmas decorations go up, we may see our first flurry of snow, and for many it’s a time to reflect on where we are in our lives.
This may also be when we tend to beat ourselves up the most about all the goals and dreams we had in January that we are yet to fulfill. Although, instead of dwelling on the new home that we didn’t quite manage to secure, or those extra pounds we are still to shift, there is a case for championing the small moments of joy you experienced, and the challenges you thought would break you, but with consistent prayer and faith you overcame.
So, as we say goodbye to 2018 and ready ourselves to welcome in a new year, I’m here to suggest a new way of re-assessing the last 12 months and putting an end to the anxiety that is so often associated with the season.
At the beginning of the year I was fortunate enough to attend The Hoxton Hotel’s annual Fresh+Fit Festival, which is a one day event that gears you up for the New Year ahead, through focusing on fitness, wellbeing, and mental health.
During the festival I sat in on a ‘Celebrate You’ talk hosted by TV presenter AJ Odudu that changed the way I looked at societies Instagram-led obsession for constant comparison. AJ bounded into the room with a bright smile and was a ball of energy that was infectious. Her main aim was to get us to channel that same joy through sharing this simple concept - Only compare yourself to who you were yesterday, last month or even last year, you alone are the benchmark. This simple piece of advice blew my mind; as for too long I had considered the career milestones of Vogue Editors and Fashion Entrepreneurs as a way to measure where I should be. Whereas, in reality if I had taken the time to look at where I was this time last year, I could be proud of the industry panels I have been approached too speak on or the countless young people who I have connected with on LinkedIn and mentored.
It made me realise that I need to focus on the lane that I am running in, and only look back as a measure to see how far I have come.
Be Kinder to Yourself
It’s scientifically proven that we tend to absorb the negative thoughts/ views/comments about ourselves, whilst we struggle to remember the last time someone paid us a compliment. This can lead to being in a constant state of negativity and anxiousness, that at worst can be crippling, and at best prevents us from going for that promotion or taking that holiday solo.
The end of the year can be a triggering time for a number of us, especially when you look back at all the things you had hoped to achieve. We may find ourselves asking ‘Why didn’t I stick to my gym routine’ or ‘Why am I broke again right before Christmas?’ If, this sounds like you, you should rest assured that you are not alone in this and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you’re not where you thought you would be on the 29th of November 2018. One way to tackle this, is to remember this verse and use it daily so you can be your own cheerleader:
'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’
Try to start each day reciting it as an act of self-love. Then, think on how you want to feel – motivated, fulfilled, empowered, and tailor your mindset to align with these energies.
Take an Inventory of Your Greatest Hits
Now, I’m going to ask you to pause here and grab a pen and paper or even switch to the notes on your phone, and without thinking about it too much, answer these 5 questions with the first thing that comes into your head.
1) Who and what are you thankful for?
2) What moment(s) have brought you joy?
3) What project did you completely smash this year?
4) What challenges did you overcome?
5) What did you choose to leave behind in 2018?
When you look back at the things you have written, you should find that
re-framing the way your year is viewed can give you a new perspective. Take Question 2, for example, without thinking about it I listed ‘Holding my friends baby for the first time, and spending time with my favorite aunt and hearing stories about her childhood in Ghana’. This lead me to realise that so much has happened in 2018 and I should stop seeing it as a tick list of goals and accomplishments that need to be fulfilled. Rather, I should think about and document the things that made me feel good, pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow.
You Can Start at the End
So, in order to combat the anxiety that so often creeps up around this time of year, use yourself as the benchmark and be proud of how far you have come in the last 12 months. Try to give yourself a pep-talk every morning to combat any negativity, and know that you can do all things through Christ. And lastly, look to the end of the year as a time to re-fresh, where you can still use the last month to start on or achieve a few of those goals you set yourself, and just think how much prouder you will feel for having ticked them off in a matter of weeks, rather than months. Giving you that much needed boost to head into the New Year.