Wellbeing

Are you crawling to the end of 2022? How to finish the year joy-filled

- December 14, 2022 4 MIN READ
Man slumped exhausted over exercise yoga ball

Christmas decorations are on the shelves in supermarkets and you know it’s a matter of days before the Mariah Carey carols find their way into stores everywhere. If you’re surprised to feel anxious more than joyful at the prospect of the end of the year, you’re not alone, writes Fleur Chambers.

I am a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher and mother to three busy boys. I teach mums that taking the time to nurture themselves isn’t selfish. It is actually a great gift to give their children and families, because we cannot pour from an empty cup.

In September, I received an email from a client stressed about the end of the year: ‘Fleur, I am crawling to the end of the year. I am done,’ she wrote.

Since then, she’s interacted with other clients and friends in her personal life that have echoed the same feelings. I know 98 per cent of women are not getting enough sleep and never feel energised; they’re spending too much time on social media, as illustrated in a study done by Lisa Corduff.

Fixing this is about looking deeper

Collectively and individually, our nervous systems are friends. The threats from COVID have subsided, but we still live on a kind of mental and emotional high-alert, even if we do not feel stressed. We are looking for threats, especially in terms of social safety; we feel pressure to be a good parent or to have a good Christmas.

There is a lot to deal with, and now we have Christmas on the horizon to add to that pressure. Something as simple as one extra kids’ school event can be that final straw to break the camel’s back.

Things that would normally bring joy are becoming effort and hard work, like catching up with family or watching the kids’ soccer game. Pre-Christmas busyness starts earlier each year, and if you feel the best you can do is soldier forward, you need to read this.

Soldiering forward is not an effective strategy.

When you are crawling, head to the ground, focused on the finish line, you miss the beauty in the periphery, the people cheering you on, the rainbow after the rain. How do you shift your gaze away from the finish line towards the beauty in front of you, hidden among the details of everyday life?

5 tips to cope with the end of year crush

Carpenter relaxing with coffee in workshop

1. Acknowledge your feelings

Perseverance is powerful, but taking it too far is counter-productive. If you have to push past feelings of fatigue and overwhelm, you’re only setting yourself up for overwhelm, and potentially, burnout.

When you can pause, acknowledge your feelings, and find the need (physical, mental or emotional) behind those feelings, you can look for ways to meet your needs. You have to be willing to stop your day for long enough to allow those feelings to become prominent enough to feel them, sit with them, and truly acknowledge them.

2. ‘Being’ versus ‘doing’

Have any ridiculous tasks on your to-do list that you dread? Dread is a sign that you’re overwhelmed.

Step away from your to-do list and actively spend less time ‘doing’ and more time just ‘being’. When we are in a ‘doing’ state, we activate fight or flight, even if it is only subtly. We need to be in this mode to get things done, but if you spend too much time in ‘doing’ mode, those muscles get too strong, and just being active becomes difficult. We have to develop the muscles that enable us to just BE without DOING.

To step out of doing mode, engage your senses to create different brain waves, because it is impossible to think and sense simultaneously.

3. Find things to be grateful for

Gratitude, for most of us, isn’t something we experience automatically, it’s something we have to consciously work at until it becomes natural.

A great ritual for making this happen: Get out of bed in the morning, put your feet on the ground, and ask yourself what is one thing you are grateful for – and let that feeling of gratitude land. Imagine that the thing you are grateful for is landing on your body.

It might feel insignificant, but you are reprogramming your brain with this exercise. It will open you up to noticing more moments and taking note of those beautiful things in the periphery you may otherwise have missed.

4. Swap expectation for appreciation

When people say ‘expectation is planning disappointment’, it may sound quite cynical. When you replace your expectations of what you want your life to look like, with an appreciation for what your life already looks like, the way your brain works changes.

You can kick the addiction of complaining and getting into negative conversations with friends.

5. Immerse in your senses

When last did you bite into a ripe, juicy peach and savour the sweetness? Or take that first sip of coffee and feel the warmth as it travels down your body?

Most people bite into something tasty or have a good moment, say ‘mmm … that is nice’, and keep moving on with their day. If you can stay with the moment, it takes five breaths for that sensation to land and impact who you are.


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Now read this:

Modern working mothers are suffering burnout – here’s how to avoid it

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