The New Year is an exciting time of the year. The air is buzzing with anticipation of what’s to come and hope for the possibilities that the year may bring. It’s a time for reflecting on the previous year and considering plans and goals for the upcoming one.
At the same time, every new year comes with a second conflicting emotion: coupled with the excitement for opportunities ahead is the fear of the unknown changes lying in wait. While the start of January is filled with celebration and festivity it’s also filled with the knowledge that things will inevitably change. Not everyone embraces that knowledge with open arms.
This promise of change, whether it’s positive or negative, is an overwhelming prospect for people with anxiety disorders. Uncertainty feeds feelings of nervous anticipation and the New Year is filled with unknowns. Even the most efficient planners can’t always prepare for the unpredictable nature of the future.
Anxiety is a natural response to unpredictable or unexpected events or situations. It helps you function effectively to a certain extent, from making sure you arrive on time to keeping you from driving too fast on the highway. But anxiety exceeds its proper job when it’s triggered by events that don’t pose a real threat and hold you back from living a normal life.
If you’ve lived with an anxiety disorder for some time, you know that limiting uncertainty is a key component of managing your condition. The more predictable things are, the better your chances of relieving nerves and limiting the chance of a panic attack. Knowing that the New Year brings inevitable change along with it, what can you do to handle your anxiety and start the year strong?
Embrace the Inevitability of Change
Most people have a difficult time with change. Humans are creatures of habit and feel most comfortable when they have a general idea of what happens next. Massive changes are challenging for everyone to embrace. When you have an anxiety disorder, though, the challenge increases tenfold.
Embracing the inevitability of change is easier said than done. It won’t happen all at once. It’s likely something you’ve worked on before if you’ve ever received treatment for your anxiety disorder. However, committing to the process of embracing change when it comes will help you manage your expectations in the new year.
Simply acknowledging that change is bound to happen won’t do the trick, though. You must work on the skills you need to manage your symptoms as they come. The better you can adapt to changes when they arise, the easier it will be when change inevitably happens.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Giving yourself grace and the space to make mistakes will help you manage your anxiety disorder in the New Year. You might feel embarrassed of some of the missteps you made in the last year but they’re a normal part of life. Still, your anxiety disorder will latch onto these events and do its best to leave you feeling ashamed.
It’s okay to give yourself a break for these things. No one gets it right all of the time. Expecting perfection from yourself is part of what feeds your anxiety disorder and makes your symptoms worse. Learning to give yourself the room to mess up sometimes and being kind to yourself when it happens will make your anxiety disorder more manageable.
Stick To Your Routine
Creating a routine and removing as many unpredictable aspects of your day as possible provides some relief from anxiety. You probably have established a routine that keeps your days and weeks running smoothly. Don’t let the New Year derail your schedule if you’ve already found something that works for you.
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your existing routine. “New Year New You” doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out the window and start fresh. This will only make you more nervous if you have an anxiety disorder. Instead, stay committed to the routine that you already know makes your life easier.
Shift Your Resolutions Into Goals
New Year’s resolutions tend to be the main topic of conversation during the first few weeks of every January. Whether it’s finally getting into the gym, trying a new hobby, making new friends, launching a new business, or simply trying to be kinder in daily life, everyone seems to have at least a few things they’re determined to change. These resolutions fill them with determination, drive, and hope for the upcoming year.
But when you have an anxiety disorder, New Year’s resolutions likely leave you feeling more stressed out and anxious than encouraged and excited. Resolutions imply an all-or-nothing approach to making changes. In fact, some studies suggest that an estimated 80 percent of people give up on their resolutions by the second week of February.
If you’re still interested in making some changes this year, try switching from resolutions to goals. Goals allow more room for error and growth. They relieve some of the stress that the black-and-white thinking created by resolutions. Outlining a few goals for the new year gives you something to work toward and look forward to accomplishing.
Accept Help If You Need It
Sometimes it might feel like you need to handle your problems on your own. It may feel embarrassing to reach out to someone or admit you need help if things are difficult so far this year. You shouldn’t have to struggle in silence or deal with your difficulties alone. There’s nothing wrong with letting someone know that you’re having a hard time right now.
Accepting help when you need it is a vital part of managing your anxiety in the new year. Refusing to reach out only makes your symptoms of anxiety worse. There’s nothing beneficial about trying to work through things on your own. All you do is make yourself feel more nervous, stressed, and anxiety ridden.
Instead, let your loved ones know that you need help. Maybe you just need an ear to listen or a friend to meet you for coffee. If your anxiety symptoms are worse than usual, perhaps seeking some professional help may be a beneficial thing to do. Seeking treatment for your anxiety disorder could be the best way for you to start the new year stronger.
Anxiety Treatment at Pasadena Villa
Pasadena Villa is a psychiatric treatment network dedicated to providing compassionate care to adults living with persistent mental illness. We understand that managing life with an anxiety disorder presents unique challenges. You shouldn’t have to handle these difficulties alone; we’re here to help.
We base our treatment programs around traditional therapeutic approaches as well as our Social Integration Model. This internally developed strategy teaches vital life skills necessary for fulfilling personal and social functioning. Pasadena Villa provides care in a variety of resort-style facilities to provide a comfortable environment where you can focus strictly on your recovery.
To learn more about the treatment programs available at Pasadena Villa, reach out to our admissions team today. We’re here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and determine which program best suits your lifestyle and needs. If you’re looking for support and guidance to overcome your anxiety disorder in the New Year, Pasadena Villa is here.