If I’m really honest, I’m not a massive fan of New Years Resolutions. I don’t really want to commit to only eating a cave man Paleo diet, I believe a glass of wine or a cocktail now and then is good for the soul and I simply do not feel enthused or motivated by pictures of already very slim super models selling fitness plans in every newspaper I pick up. I respect the fact we are all different and for some starting the new year with a big bang and aiming for life-changing goals is important, however for me, this seems to have the opposite effect, leaving me feeling rendered almost immobile and unable to make any changes at all.
So I’ve been thinking about setting myself achievable goals. One of the things we talk about in our group programmes with mums experiencing depression and anxiety, is the idea of taking small steps to re-introduce meaningful activity back into their lives. If you’ve ever experienced depression, you will know that on some days even the most simple of tasks can feel like climbing a mountain. This takes me back to one awful day when I was experiencing postnatal depression and I felt completely unable to function. In desperation I phoned a lovely friend who had offered to always be at the end of the phone for me, just to hear a reassuring voice and also because she ‘got-it’ having experienced debilitating depression herself. She gently reminded me that I wouldn’t always feel like this, that I didn’t need to push myself and how about I try to just do one little thing that I felt I could manage. This little thing turned out to be sorting my washing into colours, putting on a few loads and folding the clean stuff – not exactly earth shattering but strangely therapeutic and gave me a sense that I hadn’t lost all control of my ability to be human. For some of the mums in our groups, it might be taking up a hobby they’ve given up, or listening to a relaxing piece of music or simply finding the strength to take a shower and get dressed. Rachel, our group leader, encourages mums to compile a weekly activities chart so they can reflect on the week and see all the things they have managed to achieve, which gives mums a great deal of hope.
Now this may be a world away from making New Years’ Resolutions but I do wonder if there is more to be gained from setting ourselves goals that we actually have a chance of achieving this year? I’m thinking; taking a walk every day rather than training for a marathon, sorting out one cluttered cupboard rather than a whole room, taking one day a week away from social media rather than embarking on a month long detox in a deepest Wales? My personal one for this year is to stop bothering about what others are doing and focus on my own stuff instead. I feel as if this is something I may actually be able to achieve that may bring other benefits with it along the way - perhaps even a day off social media once a week?