It is very easy to feel that each year passes by quicker than the last. Before we are ready the carols are playing in every shop and somehow there is just tinsel everywhere.
December has this tendency to just appear and catch us unexpected (even though it happens at the same time every year..) and this can cause extra stress as we feel the pressure of the holiday period. But that is actually counter-productive as shouldn’t we be taking the holiday period to rest, relax and recharge?
As the year comes to a close, I feel as though we need to be conscious of slowing down, of not taking too much on as the risk of end of year burnout is high. One year I remember spending most of Christmas Day asleep as it had been my first opportunity to slow down and my body just gave up. I needed sleep.
As we find ourselves again counting down the days until the year ends, it is always interesting to be a little reflective and see what has happened over the past 12 months that has lead us here. And more importantly, to look forward and not dwell on that past.
This year, like most, has had its highs and lows. Personally, it has also felt a bit like a new chapter of my life. It hasn’t been the best year by any means and I have heard quite a few people express that it has felt like a year of challenges.
Not just personal challenges, but challenges within the world.
Our world has been rocked by some pretty intense global events. We have come face to face again with terrorism and watched major political events unfold in the UK and the US. There has been a media focus on fear and this is bound to have an effect on us at an individual level. I really feel like we are ready for the fresh start that the new year brings.
2016 began for me standing on my roof, watching the fireworks light up the city with my husband and close friends. It was quiet, there were no ridiculous New Year’s Eve expectations to be let down by. It was simple. It gave us the opportunity to reflect and know that with a new year comes new stories and another chance to make the changes in our lives that we had put off for some reason, maybe thinking they were just too hard or not possible.
One of the things that was on my mind while standing on that roof was that I would quit my job and find something that challenged me and gave me the skills to want to move forward in a career and continue learning. I was unhappy in my current position and completely burnt out. There was something stopping me from making that change though. I was scared to leave incase I failed. Old fears crept up and self doubt kicked in.
Turns out that feeling completely burnt out was enough of a push to overcome the fear, and before the end of January I had handed in my resignation. I did it with the biggest smile on my face, and right in that moment I knew that I was never looking back.
Going through a complete career change was challenging in itself but it was exciting at the same time. I rejoiced in working a standard 9-5, having weekends and public holidays all to myself. For the first time in longer than I can remember I felt as though I had time. I started to feel as though I needed to take that opportunity and seize it before it was too late. Quickly my weekends and free time filled up. Again I found myself feeling ‘busy’ and I started to realise that I was going to end up finishing the year once again burnt out.
This realisation came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it forced me to start thinking about focusing on the things that made me happy, and trying to work out what was draining my energy. I began to make a few small changes that allowed me to take steps back and put less pressure on myself. This helped alot.
I think especially towards the end of the year we can feel the rush and the expectations building, and we tend to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Even with this blog, you may have noticed that in the second half of the year I began not posting as regularly every Monday. Sometimes I don’t post, and sometimes it comes later on in the week. I had to take away that pressure as it becomes discouraging when something you love so much becomes just another stress inducing task. By making this simple change I once again love sitting down, writing and sharing my posts and I have eliminated an area that was bringing some negativity into my life.
If you take a step back yourself, I guarantee you will be able to find many simple changes that you can easily make to just start clearing that negative energy from your life. Maybe it is as simple as taking the time to sit and enjoy your morning coffee rather than grabbing it and running to work. Because we just don’t need to be so rushed. Saying no to things and taking time for yourself may feel selfish but that is actually ok. You can’t expect to do anything else well if you are run down and burnt out. Making some small adjustments and taking a break every now and then allows you to recharge and you can then tackle those other tasks, duties, responsibilities, whatever you need to do. Maybe it will even give you the strength to make a bigger change and allow you to step out of an unhappy situation.
So for me, being burnt out got me to make a big change at the start of the year. Now, at feeling the risk of it happening again, I have had to make some adjustments to make sure I am prioritising myself. The result is that I am feeling pretty positive and relaxed in what can feel like a chaotic time of year. Something that I am pretty happy about!
My hopes for the new year are simple. I am not going to write down a list of resolutions, but I am going to say that I hope to be able to get through 2017 happier than this year. That I will be open to more experiences. That as each day passes I may grow to be more accepting, to be kind to others, and to know when I need to step back and take time for myself. I think with this mindset we can all experience a more positive year and embrace that fresh start.
With this, my last post of the year, I also just want to take the opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who read my blog. Those of you who support me loudly through comments, sharing on social media, or signing up to my newsletter, as well as those who are unknown but still don’t miss a post. I look forward to seeing you here in 2017!!